Arts & Culture | Paris Conservatoire | Early Romantic | Classical
The Paris Conservatoire revolutionized music education in France. For most of the eighteenth century such education in Paris was rooted in church choir schools, but as these gradually closed as the century progressed the Ecole Royal de Chant was founded (1783), largely thanks to Gossec. This institution became the Institut National de Musique in 1793. By 1794 there were 80 pupils. On 3 August 1795 the Paris Conservatoire was founded out of this institution; the following year there were 351 pupils and 115 professors. At this time the five inspectors were Cherubini, Gossec, Grétry, Le Sueur and Méhul. The Paris Conservatoire was the first truly modern institution of its type, organized on a national basis and supported entirely from public funds.
The Conservatoire trained a prestigious generation of instrumentalists. One of its functions was to provide music for public ceremonies, and as a result the teaching staff went from being mainly singers and those connected with the opera to being instrumentalists, principally wind players: there were 19 ‘professors’ of the clarinet and 12 of the bassoon. The Conservatoire’s record at producing world-class singers was therefore less successful. A formal curriculum and examination statutes were put in place, although when Cherubini took over from François-Louis Perne as director in 1822, he introduced a more structured hierarchy of study, from counterpoint, harmony and fugue to composition, and laid the foundation of music education for years to come.
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