16th February 1830
7th May 1903
Saint-Brieuc, Côtes-d'Armor, in the Brittany region of France
Émile Durand was a French musical theorist, teacher and composer. He was better known for his theoretical writings than for his compositions.
Durand favored writing popular songs (chansons) and art songs (mélodies), although he also produced a few lighter works for stage early in his career, including the opéra comique L'Elixir de Cormelius in 1868, and the operetta L'Astronome de Pont-Neuf in 1869.
He remained attached to the region of his birth throughout his life. As a member of cultural and social groups such as "The Bretons de Paris," also called "La Pomme", he participated in their Celtic dinners, cultural and musical celebrations. The influence of his musical colleagues Louis-Albert Bourgault-Ducoudray, Guy Ropartz, and Louis Tiercelin, members of the Breton Renaissance Movement, is particularly evident in his Chants d'Armorique composed in 1889.
At the request of the publisher Leduc, Durand spent the last twenty years of his life writing his major theoretical works for which he is best remembered: Traité d'harmonie théorique et pratique (1881), Traité d'accompagnement pratique au piano(1884) and Traité de composition musicale (1899)