Saint-Saens' gifts are manifold. He is a celebrated tone-poet, a famous organist and conductor, a remarkable and brilliant pianist, a playwright of ability, something of an astronomer, a maker of verses, an archaeologist and is fond of mathematics. He is, besides, a first-class musical critic and litterateur, having contributed numerous articles of interest and value to various Parisian publications. He has published a work on harmony and melody, a collection of biographical sketches, entitled Portraits and Souvenirs; comedies; and a book of verses. When he wishes to indulge his taste for astronomy he goes to the Canary Islands, where a few years ago he built an observatory. He has traveled extensively, and is fond of going on long trips, without telling anyone of his destination and sometimes not knowing when he starts where he will go. Saint-Saens visited the United States for the first time in December, 1906, when he was heard in New York as visiting director of the Symphony Orchestra; also appearing as a pianist in Cincinnati, Boston and many other cities. He has received many honors at the hands of his own countrymen and from other countries. In 1881 he was made a member of the Institute of France. A Saint-Saens Festival was held in November, 1903, at Geneva, when Henry VIII. , Samson et Delilah, and various concert works of the composer were given.
In appearance the composer is dark, with sharp features, a particularly long, aquiline nose and keen, intelligent eyes. He is of less than average height, thin and intensely nervous m temperament. He is said to be kindly disposed toward younger musicians, is of pleasing personality, fond of society, and a man who shines in conversation, and is thoroughly at ease with the leaders in art, literature and politics.