Abstract and Keywords
Founded to populate the new French Republic with bandsmen and theater artists, theorized as a branch of public education, the Paris Conservatoire developed into and through the nineteenth century with sagacity and prescience. Effective leadership, committed teacher-performers and capable students, an excellent physical location in a historic quarter, and a direct link between music composition and its performance all strengthened the institution. By the late nineteenth century the name alone enabled the Conservatoire to prosper even as it became entrenched in its ways and prone to elitist behaviors and considerable unfairness. The appointment in 1905 of a director from the outside, Gabriel Fauré, led the institution to address these problems and withstand the upheavals that occurred in the new century. For the Conservatoire had carved out for itself a secure place in the national patrimony, a heritage widely recognized as contributing to the fundamental strength of the nation.
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