Manuel Rosenthal

Born in Paris on 18 June 1904, French composer, conductor and radio producer Manuel Rosenthal studied violin at the Paris Conservatoire from the age of twelve. He was expected to do well, but family problems forced him to leave, and he wrote songs and played violin in cafés until, in 1926, he was invited to meet Ravel, and soon became his student and friend.

Ravel was also influential at the start of Rosenthal's conducting career, and by 1934, Rosenthal was assistant conductor (to Inghelbrecht) at the newly-founded Orchestre National. By 1936 he was working as a radio producer with his own orchestra, and, after the war, his prospects improved, and he was able to programme modern music and he began to conduct around the world.

Rosenthal was markedly more successful as conductor (especially of Debussy and Ravel) than composer. In the latter capacity, despite orchestrating several of Ravel's works and writing his own chamber music, choral works, operas, orchestral music and songs, he remains known mainly for light music, such his ballet Gaîté parisiene (based on music by Offenbach).

Manuel Rosenthal died in Paris on 5 June 2003, aged ninety-eight, just a few days before his ninety-ninth birthday.