Charles Francois Gounod, a French composer, born in Paris, June 17, 1818. He studied counterpoint at the Paris conservatory under Halevy, receiving also instructions in composition from Lesueur and Paer. In 1837 he received the second prize of the institute, and in 1839 he obtained the first premium for his cantata Fentand. In consequence of this success he became privileged to pursue his training at Rome at the government expense, and there devoted himself to ecclesiastical music. In 1843 he visited Vienna, where he procured the performance, in the church of St. Paul, of a mass for voices only, in the style of Palestrina. Returning to Paris, he was appointed musical director at the church of the Missions Etrangeres. Here he adopted the monastic garb, and remained in obscurity till 1851. On April 16, 1851, he produced unsuccessfully his first opera, entitled Sappho. In 1852 some choruses, written for M. Ponsard's classical tragedy Ulysse, were performed at the Theatre Francais. In October, 1854, La nonne san-glante, a grand opera, was performed unsuccessfully, as was in 1858 an attempt at comic opera, consisting of a musical setting of Moliere's Medeciti malgre lui.
On March 19, 1859, was produced at the Th6atre Lyrique the work on which Gounod's reputation chiefly rests, Faust. This was succeeded by Philemon et Baucis, a three-act opera; La reine de Saba, a grand opera; Mirella, an Italian version of the French Mireille; and Romeo e Giulietta. In addition to these works, he has composed masses, psalms, and motets, for single and double chorus. Among the most praiseworthy of his compositions of this class are his "St. Cecilia Mass " and a setting of the psalm " By the Waters of Babylon." Of late years he has lived principally in London.