Date of Award
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
Ernest Guiraud (1837-1892) was born in New Orleans, where he received his early musical training from his parents, both graduates of the Paris Conservatoire. His father, Jean-Baptiste Guiraud, had won the Prix de Rome in 1827. Ernest's first opera, David, was staged at the Theatre d'Orleans in April 1853. Later that year Ernest entered the Paris Conservatoire; he studied piano with Marmontel, harmony with Barbereau, and composition with Halevy. He won the Prix de Rome in 1859. During the three years (1860-1862) Guiraud spent in Italy as a Prix de Rome laureate, he composed a mass, an opera-buffa (Gli avventurieri), and an opera-comique (Slyvie) that would be produced in Paris in 1864. Guiraud's En prison was staged at the Theatre-Lyrique in 1869, Le kobold at the Opera-Comique in 1870. His first orchestral suite premiered in January 1872; the fourth movement "Carnaval" firmly established his reputation as one of the best of France's new generation of composers. Madame Turlupin was presented at the Opera-Comique in November 1872, his ballet Gretna-Green at the Opera in May 1873, Piccolino (his most successful opera) at the Opera-Comique in 1876, and Galante aventure at the Opera-Comique in March 1882. Durand published Guiraud's second orchestral suite in 1886, his tone poem Chasse fantastique in 1887, and Traite pratique d'instrumentation (which served as a textbook for several generations of music students in France) in 1890. Fredegonde, unfinished at the time of Guiraud's death, was completed by Saint-Saens and Dukas and presented at the Opera in 1895. Guiraud began teaching at the Paris Conservatoire in 1876; he was named Chevalier of the Legion d'honneur in 1878, and was elected to the Academie des Beaux-Arts of the Institut de France in 1891. Although Guiraud was widely recognized and highly regarded during his lifetime for his own works, his name is best remembered today for his contributions to Bizet's Carmen and Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffmann, and as Claude Debussy's professor of composition at the Paris Conservatoire. This monograph surveys Guiraud's biography and catalogues his works.
Weilbaecher, Daniel O., "Ernest Guiraud: A Biography and Catalogue of Works." (1990). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 4959.