October 10, 1666 - June 27, 1729
Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre was the daughter of Claude Jacquet, an organist and harpsichordist who taught all his children – boys and girls – to play. Elizabeth played and sang so well that French King Louis XIV allowed her to perform in public at a time when women weren’t allowed to do that. She started performing in court when she was 5, and only left to get married to another keyboard player, organist Marin de La Guerre.
Like most harpsichordists of her day, Elizabeth was well known for her improvisations. She was the first woman in France to write an opera, and also wrote sonatas and cantatas, which were new forms at the time.
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