Charles Camille Saint-Saens was a composer, pianist and organist. He wrote 5 symphonies, 5 piano concertos, the Carnival of the Animals, and the opera Samson and Delilah.
in Paris, France in 1835, he was an
infant prodigy who started learning the piano aged 3. When only 10, he performed
Mozart and Beethoven Piano Concertos. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire, and
became organist at the Church of the Madeleine. His piano concertos are
brilliant, tuneful, romantic works, quite different from the impressionist style
adopted by Debussy, whom Saint-Saens
loathed. His Carnival of the Animals was written as a joke
for his friends, but parts of it have endured, especially The Swan,
which is a top favourite piece for all cellists. In later years he spent much
time in North Africa, and his piano concertos were influenced by the exotica of
those regions. He died in Algiers in 1921.