Maurice Ravel was a French composer, pianist, and conductor. His musical talents and perfection of style and shape were noted through his works including Boléro and Pavane pour une infante défunte. Ravel was born in 1875 in the Basque Region of France and learned the piano at age six. By 14, he held his first public piano recital. Joseph, Ravel's father, was an engineer, but his 'Whirlwind of Destruction' circus system was legendary. Joseph introduced his sons to factories to introduce them to the new technologies and music to teach them. Maurice Ravel was profoundly affected by his knowledge of Rimsky-Korsakov's music. His father also introduced him to composers Erik Satie and Claude Debussy, whom both loved common unorthodox personalities and unusual music.
By the time Ravel turned 20, Ravel was a bespectacled dandy who was cautious with his looks and attitude. He lived a balanced lifestyle, including having decent food, great wine, and a good sense of humor. Ravel studied composition with a famous French artist, Gabriel Fauré. Ravel firmly criticized much of Western classical music. He characterized much of Beethoven's music as "exasperating" and Berlioz's usage of harmony as "clumsy". In 1899, Ravel performed his first orchestral piece but was confronted with a divisive response, which consisted of boos and jeers. Ravel was a talented orchestrator who meticulously researched every musical instrument to explore its ability. Ravel's orchestration of Pictures at an Exhibition gave him financial success.
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