Clément Philibert Léo Delibes (1836–1891) was a French Romantic composer, best known for his ballets and operas. Born into a musical family, Delibes enrolled at France’s foremost music academy, the Conservatoire de Paris, when he was twelve, studying under several professors including Adolphe Adam. After composing light comic opérettes in the 1850s and 1860s, while also serving as a church organist, Delibes achieved public recognition for his music for the ballet La Source in 1866. His later ballets Coppélia and Sylvia were key works in the development of modern ballet, giving the music much greater importance than previously. He composed a small number of mélodies, some of which are still performed frequently.
Delibes had several attempts at writing more serious operas, and achieved a considerable critical and commercial success in 1883 with Lakmé. In his later years he joined the faculty of the Conservatoire, teaching composition. He died at his home in Paris at the age of 54. Coppélia and Sylvia remain core works in the international ballet repertoire, and Lakmé is revived from time to time in opera houses.