Charles Koechlin was one of the most prolific composers of his time. During his sixty years of activity, he built a rich and diversified work, at the hinge of chamber, symphonic, vocal genres or composing movie soundtracks.
While he was a student at the École polytechnique, Charles Koechlin was passionate about music and was in charge of arranging the pieces of the repertoire interpreted by the small orchestra of students. Due to a long illness, he interrupted his studies and devoted himself entirely to music: at the Paris Conversation, he joined the classes of Antoine Taudou, Jules Massenet, André Gedalge or Gabriel Fauré. Equiped with a beautiful baritone voice, he sang in choirs and through vocal pieces, had the opportunity to start his career as a composer. As he confessed it himself, he stood on a path created by Franck, Charbier, Fauré, Debussy towards polytonality and atonality. He was admired for his talents as an orchestrator by his master Gabriel Fauré; he would eventually trust him with the orchestration for the stage music of Pelléas et Mélisande. Debussy shared this admiration and asked Koechlin through his editor Jacques Durand to finish his ballet Khamma.
He taught and hosted conferences and left many theoretical essays. Among his pupils, we have to name Francis Poulenc, Maxime Jacob, Roger Désormière, Germaine Tailleferre, Henri Sauguet or Cole Porter.
Despite the print Charles Koechlin left on the French School, he is much unjustly forgotten of the history due to his much independent and non-sociable nature
Six landmark dates in the life of Charles Koechlin
1887: was admitted to the École polytechnique
1904: the Concerts Colonne gave his cycle En mer, la nuit based on Heinrich Heine
1909: with Maurice Ravel and Florent Schmitt, he founded the Société musicale indépendante to promote contemporary music.
1928: gave a series of conferences at the Berkeley University in California
1933: published a collection of photographs calls Ports, in collaboration with Jean de Morène and Daniel Biot
1937: wrote the Eaux vives for the World's Fair
1941: published the Traité de l'orchestration in 4 volumes
Six pieces by Charles Koechlin
· Le Livre de la jungle based on Kipling (1899-1939)
· Cinq Chorals pour orchestre (1912-1920).
· Quintette pour piano et cordes (1917-1921)
· Seven Stars' Symphony (1933)
· Poèmes d’automne
· L'Offrande musicale sur le nom de Bach (1942)