Georges Bizet was a French composer of the Romantic era. He composed many piano and orchestral works throughout this career, however he is best known for his operas, most notably Carmen, which has gained a reputation as one of the most popular and often performed operas of any era. He also spent a large portion of his life as an arranger and accompanist, valued for his superior orchestration technique and his skills as a pianist. Unfortunately, Bizet lived quite a harsh life, filled with frustration and anxiety regarding his career as a composer. This constant state self-doubt often caused him to be unproductive during particular periods of his life by continuously abandoning his projects and compositions. Despite this, he had achieved notable successes and attracted the attention of many other composers of his era such as Liszt and Berlioz. Today, his works are recognised and performed all over the world.
Georges Bizet was born Alexandre-César-Léopold Bizet in Paris on 25 October 1838. His father, Adolphe-Armand Bizet, was a singing teacher and his mother, Aimée Delsarte was an accomplished pianist. From a very young age, Bizet exhibited impressive musical talents. He was educated in music theory and it is likely that his mother taught him the piano. On 9 October 1848, just before his tenth birthday, he enrolled at the Paris Conservatoire where he spent the next nine years of his life developing his skills as a composer and pianist.
At the Conservatoire, Bizet was taught by several influential teachers including the composer, Fromental Halévy. Bizet was highly inspired by the many prestigious elements of Halévy's musical career and became very close with him and his family, later marrying his daughter, Geneviève. Bizet was also greatly inspired by Charles Gounod, a critical figure who influenced Bizet's musical style, which can be perceived in the work which he produced in his formative years. Each had an intimate enthusiasm for the other's work for many years after Bizet left the Conservatoire.