French composer Jacques Ibert was born in Paris August 15, 1890. His father was a financier, his mother an accomplished pianist, She began his musical training when he was four years old, and despite his father's objection, continued to encourage his ambition to become a musician. Ibert spent a brief time in the family business before enrolling in the Paris Conservatory at age 20, where he studied with Pessard, Gefalge, and Faure, among others.
His studies were interrupted by World War I. He was drafted into the French Navy. Upon returning from his wartime duties he resumed his conservatory training, and in 1919 won the Prix de Rome for his cantata "Le Poete et la Fee" His navy service in the Mediterranean gave rise to his arguably most famous composition, the 1924 symphonic suite "Ports of Call" (Escales). He continued to compose for virtually every genre, including seven operas, six symphonic works and five ballets, three choral works, plus scores of incidental pieces, songs, concertos, and scores for films. He seemed especially partial to woodwinds, composing a number of works for wind ensembles, including a concerto for oboe, concerto for cello and winds, and chamber works for wind ensembles. His Flute Concerto is a standard in the flute repertory. Ibert's music displays a personality of its own, which deliberately does not follow any contemporary school or musical style. It is, however, very "french" in its humor, whimsy, and lightness.
In 1936 Ibert assumed the position as Director of the French Academy at the Villa Medici in Rome, where the Prix de Rome originates. He left this post to return to France during the World War II years, returning in 1946 to continue serving as its Director until 1960. During this time he also served for a year, (1955-1956), as the Director of the Paris Opera and the Opera Comique, and in 1956 was elected chairman of the Paris Academy of Fine Arts.
Ibert was married to Rosette Veber ( the daughter of impressionist painter Jean Veber), with whom he had two children. He died in Paris, on February 5, 1962, two years after retiring from his post at the French Academy in Rome.