It was on this date, December 11, 1803, that French Romantic composer Louis Hector Berlioz was born in La Côte St. André, Isère. His father, a well-to-do physician, aimed his son toward a medical career, but his son missed the mark when he taught himself harmony and learned the flute and guitar. Berlioz never studied piano, but entered the Paris Conservatoire anyway. He won the Prix de Rome on the fourth try, with its accompanying pension, in 1830.
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Originally published December 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.