Joseph-Maurice Ravel

Born March 7, 1875

Died December 28, 1937

Born in France

Joseph-Maurice Ravel was a French composer best known for his piece Bolero (1928), which he considered a trivial piece of music. He was expelled from the Conservatoire de Paris because he could not meet their competitive requirements, and would continue to have trouble with critics. Ravel joined a group of other musicians called the Apaches. His masterpiece Pavane for a Dead Princess (1902) was performed with the group. Ravel became friends with Claude Debussy and they often compared works. But fans of each composer began feuding, so they decided it was best to stop seeing each other. Ravel went on to compose until 1932. His arrangement of Mussgorsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition brought him great profit. In 1928, he made a four month tour to America, where he met and became friends with George Gershwinn. Critics in America were much more receptive of Ravel’s work and boosted him to international acclaim. He died in France in 1937 after an experimental brain surgery.