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Francis Poulenc

Born in Paris, France, in 1899, Francis Poulenc was a composer noted for music that is witty, crystal clear, and tuneful. His mother, a talented amateur pianist, was his first piano teacher and his involvement with music was to remain that of an amateur for some years. At age 18, Poulenc had his first major success as a composer with Rapsodie Nègre for baritone and chamber ensemble. He had had no composition lessons at this point and, despite some study later, he remained largely self-taught. While in the French National Service in 1918, Poulenc composed a number of miniature pieces.