Darius Milhaud (4 September 1892 – 22 June
1974) was a French composer and teacher. He was a member of 'Les Six'
and one of the most prolific composers of the twentieth century. His
compositions are influenced by jazz and make use of polytonality.
studied at the Paris Conservatory where he met his fellow group members
Arthur Honegger and Germaine Tailleferre. Milhaud (like his
contemporaries Paul Hindemith, Gian Francesco Malipiero, Bohuslav
Martinů and Heitor Villa-Lobos) was an extremely rapid creator, for whom
the art of writing music seemed almost as natural as breathing. His
most popular works include Le bœuf sur le toit (ballet), La création du monde (a ballet for small orchestra with solo saxophone, influenced by jazz), Scaramouche (for Saxophone and Piano, also for two pianos), and Saudades do Brasil (dance suite).
autobiography is entitled 'Notes sans musique' (Notes Without Music),
later revised as 'Ma vie heureuse' (My Happy Life). The Milhaud family
left France in 1939 and emigrated to America in 1940 where he secured a
teaching post at Mills College in Oakland, California. From 1947 to 1971
he taught alternate years at Mills and the Paris Conservatoire, until
poor health compelled him to retire. He died in Geneva aged 81.