Milhaud, Darius

Milhaud, Darius däryüsˈ mēyōˈ [key], 1892–1974, French composer. Milhaud studied at the Paris Conservatory. In Brazil (1917–19) as an aide to Paul Claudel, poet and French minister to Brazil, he became acquainted with Brazilian folk music. Upon his return to France, he became one of the group known as Les Six. Milhaud became professor of composition at Mills College, Oakland, Calif., in 1940. He is especially celebrated as a composer for the stage; his operas include Le Pauvre Matelot (1927; libretto by Jean Cocteau) and Christophe Colombe (1930; libretto by Claudel). Milhaud's outstanding ballets are La Création du Monde (1923) and Le Boeuf sur le toit; or, The Nothing Doing Bar (1920). A prolific composer, Milhaud also wrote symphonies, concertos, orchestral music, chamber music, and songs. He was among the first to exploit polytonality and developed new rhythmic structures influenced by Brazilian and jazz elements.

See his autobiography, Notes without Music (tr. 1953, repr. 1970).

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