Darius Milhaud was born September 4th, 1892 and grew up in the town of Aix-en-Provence, near Marseilles, France. From an early age, he was exposed to songs that his father’s almond-sorting employees would sing while they worked. His parents were both musically gifted: his father was a pianist and his mother was a well-known contralto. Milhaud took to music like a duck to water and began taking harmony lessons in 1905. As he developed as a composer, Milhaud began to incorporate elements of jazz, atonality, polytonality, and new percussion techniques into his music. Among his more notable students were jazz pianist Dave Brubeck and songwriter Burt Bacharach.
Milhaud wrote his Suite Francaise in 1944 as World War II raged on in Europe. Milhaud sought to represent five different provinces, one in each movement of the work:
3. Ile de France
The work was later arranged by Milhaud for orchestra in 1945. The UW-Whitewater Concert Band, under direction of Dr. Tuinstra, performed Milhaud’s work as a part of their concert saluting veterans in the spring of 2014.