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Olivier Messiaen

Born Avignon, France, in 1908, Olivier Messiaen was a composer and organist, and one of the most influential teachers of the 20 th Century. From his birth, Messiaen was surrounded by the arts. When he was eleven years old, he entered the Paris Conservatory, studying organ with Marcel Dupré and composition with Paul Dukas. While there, he took first prize in both areas, as well as in improvisation. After graduation in 1930, he was appointed principal organist of La Trinité in Paris, a position he retained for many years Messiaen entered the French army in 1939 and was a prisoner of war for two years.