Bornon the 2August 1862DebussyinSaint-Germain-en-Laye,France,French composer Claude-AchillesDebussy diedon the 25thMarch 1918 in his Paris home at the age of 56 years after attaininginternational acclamation and prominence in impressionist musicalongside other greats such as Maurice Ravel. Debussy succumbed torectal cancer after being diagnosed nine years earlier and undergoingvarious treatments including one of the earliest colostomyoperations.
Thecomposer lived in the French Symbolism period of literary style thatinfluenced his active cultural participation. Debussy was one of themost prominent writers and composers of the 19thand 20thcentury, having popularized the use of atonality. His use ofchromaticism also influenced a lot of composers for years after hisdeath.
Hisfriendship with singer Marie-BlancheVasnier was of great influence to Debussy’s work. Marie and herhusband, Henri, offered a lot of professional and emotional supportduring Debussy’s career. They met when Debussy was working as anaccompanist for a living. Henri introduced him to the early Frenchwriting, most of which form the themes of his early songs. RichardWagner’s mastery of composition, sensuousness and articulateharmonies also played a big part in influencing Debussy’s work.
Préludeà l`après-midi d`un faune (1894),L`enfantprodigueand Nocturnes(1897–1899)still remain some of the orchestral works. With a highly influentialand luxurious style, Debussy won the 1884 Prix de Rome, which earnedhim a scholarship to the Académie des Beaux-Arts. In 1903, Debussywas crowned Chevalier ofthe Legionof Honor inhis home country, France.Debussy’s composition was influential to almost every composer ofthe 20thcentury from Igor Stravinsky to Ned Rorem to Toru Takemitsu. Jazzlegends such s Miles Davis and George Shearing also got inspirationfrom his work. His evocative, luxurious and colorful style has beenused widely in motion pictures due to its ability to be turned intoan emotional language. What strikes most is that despite the factthat his primary style was impressionist music, Debussy never likedhis style to be called that.