French composer and pianist Cécile Chaminade (1857–1944) was born in Paris, and raised in a musical family. She received her first piano lessons from her mother. Her father allow Chaminade to study privately with teachers from the Conservatoire: piano with Le Couppey, violin with Marie Gabriel Augustin Savard and Martin Pierre Marsick, and music composition with Benjamin Godard.
Chaminade experimented in composition as a young child, composing pieces for her cats, dogs and dolls. In 1869, she performed some of her music for Georges Bizet, who was impressed with her talents. In 1878, Chaminade gave a salon performance under the auspices of her professor, Le Couppey, consisting entirely of her compositions. This performance marked the beginning of her emergence as a composer and became the archetype for the concerts she gave for the rest of her career in which she only performed her own works. Her Concertino, Op. 107, is an important work in the flute repertoire.
She toured France several times in her early years. In 1892, she debuted in England, where her work was popular. Isidor Philipp, head of the piano department at the Conservatoire de Paris, championed her works. She repeatedly returned to England in the 1890s, premiering her compositions with such singers as Blanche Marchesi; and Pol Plançon; this activity decreased after 1899 due to poor reviews.
In 1908, she performed concerts in twelve cities in the United States. Her compositions were tremendous favorites with the American public, and such pieces as the Scarf Dance or the Ballet No. 1 were to be found in the music libraries of many lovers of piano music of the time. She composed a Konzertstück for piano and orchestra, the ballet music to Callirhoé and other orchestral works. Her songs, such as The Silver Ring and Ritournelle, were also great favorites. In 1913, she was elected a Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, a first for a female composer. In London in November 1901, she made gramophone recordings of seven of her compositions for the Gramophone and Typewriter Company; these are among the most sought-after piano recordings by collectors, though they have been reissued on compact disk. Before and after World War I, Chaminade recorded many piano rolls, but as she grew older, she composed less and less, dying in Monte Carlo on 13 April 194.
Chaminade was relegated to obscurity for the second half of the 20th century, her piano pieces and songs mostly forgotten, with the exception being the Flute Concertino in D major, Op. 107, composed for the 1902 Paris Conservatoire Concours; it is her most popular piece today.