The music oeuvre of MAURICE RAVEL (Joseph-Maurice Ravel) belongs to the most significant exemplars of twentieth-century music, while in French music he is considered the greatest composer since Claude Debussy. Ravel’s father was Swiss and his mother was of Basque origins. Ravel was born in the French town of Ciboure, located close to the border with Spain, where his father, a car engineer by profession and passionate lover of music, was employed. It was there that little Morris began his music studies, joining in 1889 the piano class of the Paris Conservatoire. He went on to study piano with renowned pianist Charles de Bériot. His interest in improvisation brought him into contact with the original personage of Erik Satie, a composer and pianist, as well as with pianist Ricardo Viñes. In the last year he joined the class of composer Gabriel Fauré. At the suggestion of Fauré, Ravel created some of his most famous symphonic pieces on Spanish themes – Habanera, Pavane pour une infante défunte (‘Pavane for a Deceased Infanta’), and Menuet antique. In the years following the graduation of the Paris Conservatoire (1900 – 1914), the composer was engaged in creative activity. Ravel has some compositional features in common with the music of Claude Debussy, which is characterized as “impressionistic”, such as the unfolding of melodic lines, the changes of tonality within the harmonic language, the rich multi-coloured timbral palette. But the discernible innovative spirit of his works failed to receive the recognition of academic circles. In the spring of 1905, in the aftermath of the scandal which ensued after his elimination from the final round of the Prize de Rome competition, Ravel finally dissociated himself from the Conservatoire, continuing to live a tranquil and placid life, never occupying a position of authority. At the request of Russian impresario and curator of the Russian Seasons series in Paris, Sergei Diaghilev, Ravel wrote the music for the ballet Daphnis and Chloe, staged by the legendary Russian choreographer and ballet performer, Michel Fokine in 1912. Served as volunteer in the First World War where he was wounded and as a result suffered from chronic insomnia until his death. In the years after the war, he wrote his outstanding piano suite Le Tombeau de Couperin (1917), which he orchestrated two years later, the Tzigane rhapsodic fantasy for violin and orchestra, and many other works that were received with success. He toured as a pianist and conductor, performing his own works in Italy, the Netherlands and England. At the commission of Serge Koussevitzky, he orchestrated Modest Mussorgsky’s piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition, which has come to enjoy immense popularity. Masterful orchestration, remarkable for its markedly imaginative invention, can be detected in Ravel’s most popular piece – Bolero, a work indebted for its fascinating rhythmic pulse to the music of Spain, and for its conception – to famous Russian ballerina Ida Rubinstein. During his four-month visit to America and Canada in 1928, Maurice Ravel achieved prominence overseas. He made the acquaintance of George Gershwin and became fascinated with jazz. In 1929, in high recognition of his work, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Oxford. In 1932, Ravel traveled to Russia with renowned pianist Marguerite Long. About the same time, he started working on his ballet Jeanne d’Arc, but a car accident forced him to interrupt his work. Probably due to a traumatic cerebral injury, there ensued a difficult period for the composer’s health: he developed a severe neurological disease. His last completed works are three songs for baritone and orchestra intended for the film Don Quixote and written for the legendary Russian singer Feodor Chaliapin. He died on 28 December 1937 in the aftermath of unsuccessful surgery.