Born into an important family of merchants, bankers and patrons of the arts, Fernand Halphen learned violin under the tutelage of Joseph Marsick and composition from Gabriel Fauré.
In 1888, he entered the Conservatory and studied with Jules Massenet alongside Florent Schmitt, Henri Büsser, Max d’Olonne, Georges Enesco and Reynaldo Hahn. He was awarded the second prix de Rome in 1896.
In his short lifetime, Halphen composed nearly 100 melodies, over 30 pieces for piano, duets (particularly for violin and piano), a composition for string trio and one for piano trio, orchestral suites, a symphony in C minor dedicated to Fauré (1898) and Le Cor Fleuri, a lyric opera in one act unveiled at the Opéra-Comique theater on 10 May 1904.2 He also wrote two psalms and a synagogal hymn as well as two instrumental pieces which draw on traditional Hebrew cantilation (Andante religioso and Prière). In WWI, he served as Director of Music for an infantry regiment before succumbing in 1917 to a disease contracted while on the front.
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