Born on March 7, 1875 to a Swiss father & a Basque mother, Ravel grew up in Paris, where he studied at the Conservatoire from , 1889-95, returning in 1897 for further study with Fauré and Gédalge. In 1893 he met Chabrier and Satie, both of whom were influential. A decade later he was an established composer, at least of songs and piano pieces, working with luminous precision in a style that could imitate Lisztian bravura (Jeux d'eau) or Renaissance calm (Pavane pour une infante défunte); there was also the String Quartet, somewhat in the modal style of Debussy's but more ornately instrumented. However, he five times failed to win the Prix de Rome (1900-05) and left the Conservatoire to continue his life as a freelance musician.
He was at his most productive during the next decade, producing various pieces for piano & the orchestra. His music can be both delicate & robust, with various textures & layers, expert manipulation of tones & the orchestral engine to create music rich with emotion & atmosphere. Among his various compositions are:
In 1932, Ravel sustained a blow to the head in a taxi accident. The injury was considered minor, but soon thereafter he began to complain ofaphasia-like symptoms similar to Pick's disease.In late 1937, Ravel consented to experimental brain surgery. One hemisphere of his brain was re-inflated with serous fluid. He awoke from the surgery, called for his brother Edouard, lapsed into a coma and died shortly afterwards. He is buried in Levallois-Perret, a suburb of northwest Paris.
A magnificent composer, his works truly show the beauty of romantic music & brings out emotions, subtle & passionate from his listeners.