Halphen, Fernand (1872-1917)

Biography written by Georges and Henriette Halphen, Fernand Halphen’s children

Born in 1872, Fernand Halphen was killed on duty fighting for France in 1917. He was captain of the 13th territorial regiment of infantry and music chief.

He entered the National Music School of Paris at the age of 19, and was the pupil of Guiraud, Massenet, Fauré, Gédalge. In 1896, he received the 2nd Rome Grand Prize for music composition. He was the creator of many important works, melodies, symphonies, sonatas, pieces for violin, cello, piano, horn…
His opera “Le Cor Fleuri” was performed in 1904 at the Parisian Theater Opéra Comique for 10 performances; the second act of this work has been immortalized by a painting from the symbolist Lévy Dhurmer, and given to the “Department Museum of Oise” in Beauvais where it is exhibited..
Fernand Halphen also composed religious music, and two of his psalms belong to some synagogues repertoire.
Among his students, one must mention Mademoiselle Zambelli, the ballet dancer from the Paris Opera, and Mistinguett.

In his will written at the battlefront, he donated to the National Music School of Paris an important amount of money for the creation of the “Fernand Halphen Foundation”, which had at its aim to help students with music composition, allow them to hear orchestral works and improve their living conditions until they left the National Music School, given as a reward, each year, to the musician who got Rome Grand Prize, and finally to create grants.
Fernand Halphen was loved by everyone, as a generous, intelligent and cultured person.

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