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Louise Farrenc (1804-1875)

Louise Farrenc was born into an artistic family (her brother was sculptor Auguste Dumont). She began studying piano at the Paris Conservatorie when she was 15 years old, though her marriage in 1821 interrupted her studies briefly. In 1842 she was appointed Professor of Piano at the Paris Conservatoire, a post she held until 1873. While many of her early works were piano etudes for her students, she later branched out into various forms of chamber music, as well as orchestral music. She wrote three symphonies (all unpublished), but each was performed in Paris multiple times. Her daughter, Victorine, was also a rising star (winning the Conservatoire’s premier prix),  though was frequently ill and died quite young. After her daughter’s death, Louise Farrenc became an avid supporter of her daughter’s music, performing it frequently in concert. While editing her late daughter’s music, she became interested in 17th- and 18th-century piano repertoires, which she continued to research until her death in 1875.

For more information see:

Bea Friedland. Louise Farrenc, 1804-1875: Composer, Performer, Scholar. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1980.

Catherine Legras. Louise Farrenc, Compositrice du XiXe Siècle: Musique au Féminin. Paris: Collection Univers Musical, 2003.