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NARGEOT, Pierre-Julien (1799-1891)

Nargeot studied music at the Paris Conservatoire, where he was taught violin by Rodolphe Kreutzer and composition by Auguste Barbereau, Jean-François Lesueur and Antoine Reicha. In 1826, he attracted notice by winning a Premier Grand Prix for counterpoint and fugue. Two years later, he entered the Prix de Rome competition with his cantata Herminie, whichearned him a second Second Grand Prix, behind Berlioz, who won the first Second Grand Prix. Although he did not obtain any instrumental awards during his time at the Conservatoire, he began his career as a violinist very early. While still a student, he joined the orchestras of the Opéra-Comique and the Théâtre-Italien. From 1826, he was violist, then violinist in the orchestra of the Paris Opéra, as well as a member of the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire. His activities as a composer were mainly linked to the Théâtre des Variétés, where he was conductor from 1839-1853. He wrote many successful arias and couplets for the vaudevilles performed there. Some of these pieces, like the drinking song Drin drin drin, secured his popularity. He also composed a large number of operettas performed in Paris theatres until after 1870.

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