Gabriel-Marie: La Cinquantaine (The Golden Wedding)
Like any world-famous musical institution, the Conservatoire de Paris has always attracted students from all corners of the globe. Among them was the highly talented Spaniard Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga (1806–1826), who composed his 2-act opera Los esclavos felices (The Happy Slaves) at age 11. It was premiered in Bilbao in 1820 to great acclaim, and Arriaga was sent to Paris to refine his compositional voice. He studied counterpoint with Fetis and violin with Pierre Baillot and his works artfully straddle the gap between Mozart and the emerging early Romanticism of Beethoven, Schubert and Rossini. Arriaga died of a pulmonary infection at age 19, yet nevertheless left behind 3 string quartets published in Paris in 1824, 3 Etudes for solo piano, stage music for Agar dans le desert, and a Symphony in D.
Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga: String Quartet No. 3 in E-flat Major
A classmate and lifelong friend of Claude Debussy, Isidore Philipp (1863–1958) won First Prize in piano performance at the Conservatoire de Paris in 1883. After graduation he quickly embarked on a career as a professional concert pianist. However, he found his lasting satisfaction in teaching and educating young musical talents and returned to the Conservatoire as of the youngest professors appointed at that institution. As a composer, Philipp is probably best known for a number of devilishly difficult technical exercises and various arrangements and transcriptions. But he also published articles on music in various music magazines, wrote a number of short educational books and compiled an anthology of French music from the 17th to the 19th century.
Isidore Philipp: Puck, Op. 23
A distinguished graduate of the Conservatoire de Paris, Paul Bonneau (1918-1995) composed music for 51 major French films and numerous shorter features. He received first prize in harmony, first prize in counterpoint, and first prize in composition. His musical career took shape over the airwaves as he was appointed symphonic conductor at RDF Radio. During his almost 30 year tenure, he composed a number of light orchestral suites, various operettas and ballets, and fashioned a large number of orchestral arrangements and vocal accompaniments for variety shows. However, he also dabbled in serious composition, famously dedicating this Orchestral Rhapsody A French in New York to the memory of George Gershwin.
Paul Bonneau: Piece concertante dans l’esprit jazz