François Devienne was born in Joinville on January 31st 1759 and quickly demonstrated serious aptitudes, as he had sung from his early age in a children’s choir and wrote his first piece (a mass) at the age of 10. From 1779, he played the flute and the bassoon in various formations, such as the Concert spirituel, where many of his concertos or concert symphonies were performed, two genres in which he excelled and his brilliant writing enhanced the soloist. Devienne also wrote chamber music pieces associating strings and winds (flute and bassoon), and many opéras-comiques among which the most famous, Les Visitandines (1792). An excellent teacher, he taught the flute at the Paris Conservatoire and wrote a famous Méthode de flûte théorique et pratique (1793).
His refined and elegant style, influenced by Mozart, is characterized by a melodic sense and a clear and simple harmony. An excellent instrumentist as well as a talented composer, Francois Devienne mainly contributed to the development of the French concert music in the Europe of Enlightenment. He died in Charenton in May 1803 at the peak of his fame, right after three of his operas had just been performed at the Théâtre Feydeau.
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