Cécile Chaminade (born Aug. 8, 1857, Paris, France—died April 18, 1944, Monte-Carlo), French composer and pianist was known chiefly for her piano music, which she performed on numerous concert tours, particularly in England.
Chaminade’s earliest music studies were with her mother, a pianist and singer. Because her father forbade her enrollment in a conservatory, Chaminade studied composition privately with Benjamin Godard, among others. She gave her first public recital at the age of eighteen, appearing frequently as a pianist in France and Belgium, often playing her own music. She made her London debut in 1892 and performed for Queen Victoria during an English tour. At her American debut in 1908 she played the solo part of her Concertstück (1896) with the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 1913 she became the first female composer to be granted admission to the Order of the Legion of Honor from the French government.
Although her piano salon music and songs won widespread popularity, her more serious works, which include an opera, a ballet, and orchestral suites, were less successful, especially among critics. Yet almost all of her 400 compositions were published during her lifetime, and they sold well. About half of those are short piano pieces, some of which were once quite popular. Her compositions include 125 songs, as well as a few larger pieces like the ballet Callirhoë (1888), the comic opera La Sevillane, and the dramatic symphony Les Amazones, Op. 26, for chorus and orchestra (1888). She also composed two orchestral suites and a handful of chamber works, including two trios.
Her music is elegant, tuneful, and often witty, and it is probable that critical evaluations of her music through much of the 20th century were based more on gender stereotypes than on the qualities of the work. (edited from Brittanica and Allmusic)