Sarrette, Bernard

1765-1858

 

Founder of the Paris Conservatory; born at Bordeaux, France. In 1789, while he was  captain in the National Guard of Paris, he brought together forty-five musicians to form the nucleus of the Parisian band of the National Guard. In 1790 the band having been increased to seventy members, the city of Paris assumed its expenses. A suspension of the payment of salaries and expenses occurred in 1792 by order of the Commune, but Sarrette held the band together and with the help of the city established a free school of music in which all the members were employed as teachers. From this school came the musicians employed in the fourteen armies of the Republic. It was soon converted into a national institute of music and in 1795 was definitely organized as a Conservatory. Sarrette then became captain of the 103d regiment, but in 1796, was recalled to the directorship of the institution which he had founded Through his efforts it was raised to the front rank. Sarrette used advanced and carefully prepared methods of teaching, established a school of declamation, in connection with the institution, a concert hall and the concerts of the Conservatory, and a library. After the Restoration in 1814 he lost his position and when he had a chance to be reinstated refused the post because it was held by his friend, Cherubini. Pierre Constant wrote a biography of the founder of the Conservatory, which was published in Paris in 1895. Sarrette died in Paris at an advanced age.