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Schmitt, Olivier – Gouvy: the man and his works




At school Théodore Gouvy was a brilliant pupil, with a particular interest in the classics. After passing his baccalauréat in 1836, he went to Paris to study law, but his heart was not in the subject. Furthermore – another reason for abandoning his studies – he had difficulty in obtaining the French nationality he needed in order to be able to sit the examinations. In the meantime he saved up to attend operas and concerts, and he read many scores. He took piano lessons with Édouard Billard (a student of the renowned Henri Herz), frequented the salons and met the musical personalities present in the capital. Before long he decided to take up music as a career. Until 1841 he took lessons in harmony and counterpoint with Antoine Elwart, a professor at the Paris Conservatoire, who had won the Grand Prix de Rome in 1834. At the same time he also studied piano with Pierre-Joseph Zimmermann, whose pupils included Charles-Valentin Alkan, César Franck and Clara Schumann.

From the CD-Book Théodore Gouvy. Cantate, œuvres symphoniques et musique de chambre (Palazzetto Bru Zane, collection Portrait, 2013). Translation: Mary Pardoe.

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  • GOUVY, Théodore (1819-1898)