1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lesueur, Jean François

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LESUEUR, JEAN FRANÇOIS (1760 or 1763–1837), French musical composer, was born on the 15th of January 1760 (or 1763) at Drucat-Plessiel, near Abbeville. He was a choir boy in the cathedral of Amiens, and then became musical director at various churches. In 1786 he obtained by open competition the musical directorship of the cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, where he gave successful performances of sacred music with a full orchestra. This place he resigned in 1787; and, after a retirement of five years in a friend’s country house, he produced La Caverne and two other operas at the Théâtre Feydeau in Paris. At the foundation of the Paris Conservatoire (1795) Lesueur was appointed one of its inspectors of studies, but was dismissed in 1802, owing to his disagreements with Méhul. Lesueur succeeded G. Paisiello as Maestro di cappella to Napoleon, and produced (1804) his Ossian at the Opéra. He also composed for the emperor’s coronation a mass and a Te Deum. Louis XVIII., who had retained Lesueur in his court, appointed him (1818) professor of composition at the Conservatoire; and at this institution he had, among many other pupils, Hector Berlioz, Ambroise Thomas, Louis Désiré, Besozzi and Charles Gounod. He died on the 6th of October 1837. Lesueur composed eight operas and several masses, and other sacred music. All his works are written in a style of rigorous simplicity.

See Raoul Rochette, Les Ouvrages de M. Lesueur (Paris, 1839).