Gustave Charpentier was a French composer, best known for his opera Louise. Charpentier was the son of a baker, and with the assistance of a rich benefactor he studied violin at the conservatoire in Lille before entering the Paris Conservatoire in 1881. There he took lessons in composition under Jules Massenet (from 1885) and had a reputation of wanting to shock his professors. In 1887 he won the Prix de Rome for his cantata Didon. During the time in Rome that the prize gave him, he wrote the orchestral suite Impressions d'Italie and began work on the libretto and music for what would become his best-known work, the opera Louise.