Florent Schmitt: Biographies, Dissertations and Other Information Resources on the Composer

Florent Schmitt French Composer

Florent Schmitt, photographed in the early 1920s. (Photo: Lipnitzki/Roger-Viollet)

For many decades, anyone who might have been interested in exploring the artistry of French composer Florent Schmitt was confronted by a scarcity of resources.

It started with recordings; until the early 1970s, the number of commercial recordings of Schmitt’s music totaled fewer than 25 — and some of those dated back to the 78-rpm era.

Circumstances would begin to change in the decades to follow.  Thanks to steady progress, we are now blessed to have three-fourths of Florent Schmitt’s extensive catalogue of compositions available for us to hear, whether in physical media or in download/streaming form.

Florent Schmitt recordings

A sampling of Florent Schmitt recordings released on CD.

As for access to Schmitt’s music scores, thanks to the composer’s long and fruitful relationship with Durand, his main publisher, his music has remained in the catalogue more or less continuously throughout the six decades following his death. Thus, musicians interested in exploring Schmitt’s works have found this to be a relatively easy mission.

A French postage stamp commemorating Florent Schmitt, issued at the composer’s birthplace in Lorraine in 1992.

Not so with biographies or other books devoted to the composer. Considering his universally acknowledged importance during what was arguably France’s “Golden Age” of classical music (the period from 1890 to 1950), the paucity of written material on Florent Schmitt is as surprising as it is disappointing.

Moreover, most books about Schmitt have been published in French only, making scholarly research on the part of non-native speakers even more of a challenge.

Impressionnistes francais Debussy Schmitt Ravel

Three great composers from France’s “Golden Age” of classical music (Bleu Nuit biography series).

[The lack of information about Florent Schmitt that existed in the English language was one of the key motivations behind the launch of the Florent Schmitt Website + Blog in 2012, and the positive reception the site has received in the years since is undoubtedly due — at least in part — to providing informational resources about the composer in English.]

Despite these challenges, a number of significant books devoted in whole or in part to the artistry Florent Schmitt have been published. Most date back many decades and are long out-of-print.  But in the era of the Internet and “e-commerce everywhere,” I’ve found that many of them are easy to track down and purchase from online antiquarian booksellers.  Moreover, some of the volumes have been digitally scanned and are available to download (free or at a nominal charge).

For those who are interested in delving further into the composer’s life and artistry, I recommend exploring the resources below (listed in chronological order by their original date of publication):

Octave Sere Musiciens francais d'Aujourd'hui 1912Musiciens français d’Aujourd’hui

Author: Octave Séré (Jean Poueigh)

Mercure de France, Paris


In French


Musique francaise moderne Andre CoeuroyLa Musique française moderne: Quinze musiciens français

Author: André Coeuroy

Librairie Delagrave, Paris


In French


Cinguante ans de musique francaise de 1874 a 1925 Librairie de FranceCinquante ans de musique française de 1874 à 1925

Vol. 1 Authors: Louis Laloy; Henry Malherbe, Jacques Brindejont-Offenbach; Émile Vuillermoz

Vol. 2 Authors: Raymond Charpentier; George Chepfer; André Coeuroy; René Dumesnil; Pierre Hermant; Charles Koechlin; Henry Prunières

Editions musicales de la Librairie de France, Paris


In French


LPierre-Octave Ferroud Autour de Florent Schmitt 1927‘Autour de Florent Schmitt

Author: Pierre-Octave Ferroud

Durand & Cie., Paris


In French


Alfred Cortot La Musique Francaise de Piano Vol. 2 1932La Musique française de piano, Vol. 2

Author: Alfred Cortot

Les Éditeurs Rieder, Paris


In French


L'Initiation a la musique Editions Tambourine 1935L’Initiation a la musique

Authors: Georges Chepfer; Maurice Emmanuel; Reynaldo Hahn; Paul Landormy; Hugues Panassié; Dominique Sordet; Émile Vuillermoz; Maurice Yvain

Éditions du Tambourinaire, Paris


In French


Florent Schmitt

Authors: Louis Aubert; Henry Barraud; Hélène Pignari-Salles

L’Art Musical, Paris


In French


Dix-sept ans de musique a Paris CoppolaDix-sept ans de musique à Paris — 1922-1939

Author: Piero Coppola

Librairie F.Rouge et cie., S.A., Lausanne


In French


La musique en France entre les deux guerres Rene Dumesnil 1946La Musique en France entre les deux guerres — 1919-1939

Author: René Dumesnil

Éditions du Milieu du Monde, Genève – Paris – Montréal


In French


Musiciens de mon temps Gustave Samazueilh1947Musiciens de mon temps: Chroniques et souvenirs

Author: Gustave Samazeuilh

Editions Marcel Daubin, Paris


In French


La Musique francaise apres Debussy Paul LandormyLa Musique française après Debussy

Author: Paul Landormy

Éditions Gallimard, Paris


In French


Gavoty Les Francais sont-ils musiciens ?Les Français sont-ils musiciens ?

Author: Bernard Gavoty

Éditions des Conquistador, Paris


In French


Yves Hucher Florent Schmitt biography 1953Florent Schmitt: L’Homme et l’artiste … son epoque et son oeuvre

Author: Yves Hucher

Éditions le Bon Plaiser, Paris


In French


Mes Amis Musiciens Helene Jourdan-Morhange 1955Mes Amis musiciens

Author: Hélène Jourdan-Morhange

Les Éditeurs Français Réunis, Paris


In French



Pour ou contre la musique moderne Gavoty Lesur 1957Pour ou contre la Musique moderne ?

Authors: Bernard Gavoty; Daniel Lesur

Flammarion, Paris


In French


Florent Schmitt Madeleine Marceron 1959Florent Schmitt

Author: Madeleine Marceron

Éditions Vantadour, Paris


In French


Bernard Gavoty La Musique adoucit les moeurs 1959La Musique adoucit les mœurs ? (L’Art du temps)

Author: Bernard Gavoty (“Clarendon”)

Éditions Gallimard, Paris


In French


Emmanuel Bondeville Florent Schmitt Academie des Beaux Arts

Notice sur la vie et les travaux de Florent Schmitt

Author: M. Emmanuel Bondeville

Académie des Beaux-Arts, Institute de France, Paris


In French


Yves Hucher L'oeuvre de Florent SchmittL’Oeuvre de Florent Schmitt

Author: Yves Hucher

Durand & Cie., Paris


In French with partial English translation by Raymond Berthier


Florent Schmitt Precurseur et contestataire Emmanuel Bondeville 1970Florent Schmitt: Précurseur et contestataire

Author: M. Emmanuel Bondeville

Académie des Beaux-Arts, Institute de France, Paris


In French


Les Musiciens et les Hauts-de-Seine Duteil

Les musiciens et les Hauts-de-Seine

Author: Bertrand Pouradier Duteil

Sogemo, Boulogne-Billancourt, France


In French


Villa-Lobos Colledted Studies by L.M. PeppercornVilla-Lobos: Collected Studies by L. M. Peppercorn

Author: Lisa M. Peppercorn

Scolar Press, Aldershot, Hants, UK; Ashgate Publishing Company, Brookfield, VT


In English, French, Italian, Portuguese


Rowley RediscoveredRowley Rediscovered: The Life and Music of Alex Rowley

Author: Beryl Kington

Thames Publishing, London


In English


L'avant-garde musicale a Paris de 1871 a 1939 Michel DuchesneauL’avant-garde musicale à Paris de 1871 à 1939

Author: Michel Duchesneau

Pierre Mardaga, Sprimont, Belgium


In French


Delius: Music, Art & Literature (edited by Lionel Carley)Frederick Delius: Music, Art and Literature

Authors: Lionel Carley [Ed.]; David Eccott

Ashgate Publishing, Farnham, UK


In English


Pierre Dervaux Gerard StreletskiPierre Dervaux, ou le paradoxe du chef d’orchestre

Author: Gérard Streletski

L’Archipel, Montréal


In French


The Composer as Intellectual Jane FulcherThe Composer as Intellectual:  Music and Ideology in France, 1914-1940

Author: Jane F. Fulcher

Oxford University Press, Oxford UK – New York, NY


In English

Maurice Durufle The Man and His Music FrazierMaurice Duruflé: The Man and His Music

Author: James E. Frazier

University of Rochester Press, Rochester, NY


In English


Musique et Choregraphie en France a Leo Delibes a Florent Schmitt Branger 2010Musique et chorégraphie en France de Léo Delibes à Florent Schmitt

Authors: Jean-Christophe Branger; Alban Ramaut [Eds.]

Publications de l’Université de Saint-Etienne, France


In French


Florent Schmit biography Catherine Lorent 2012

Florent Schmitt

Author: Catherine Lorent

Bleu Nuit Éditeur, Paris


In French


A Fragile Consensus Music and Ultra-Modernism in France 1913-1939 Barbara Kelly 2013A Fragile Consensus: Music and Ultra-Modernism in France, 1913-1939

Author: Barbara L. Kelly

Boydell Press, Woodbridge, Suffolk UK – Rochester, NY


In English


Perspectives on the Performance of French Piano Music Wright McCarrey 2014Perspectives on the Performance of French Piano Music

Authors: Lesley A. Wright; Scott McCarrey

Routledge, London


In English


Felix Aprahamian Diaries 2015

Felix Aprahamian: Diaries and Selected Writings on Music

Authors: Lewis Foreman; Susan Foremen [Eds.]

Boydell Press, Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK


In English


A French Touch Nicolas SouthonA French Touch: Rediscovering a Uniquely French Symphonic Repertoire

Author: Nicolas Southon

Éditions Durand-Salabert-Eschig (Universal Music Publishing Classical), Paris


In English and French


Music Criticism in France 1918-1939 Kelly Moore BoydellMusic Criticism in France, 1918-1939: Authority, Advocacy, Legacy

Authors: Barbara L. Kelly; Christopher Moore [Eds.]

Boydell Press, Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK


In English


From Berlioz to Boulez NicholsFrom Berlioz to Boulez 

Author: Roger Nichols

Kahn & Averill, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, UK


In English


In addition to the volumes listed above, we are seeing an increasing number of PhD and Masters dissertations and research papers being published that focus on particular compositions of Florent Schmitt or other aspects of his artistry. Below is a partial listing of such documents listed alphabetically by author, along with links to view or download them:

Bennet, Christophe: French Musical Broadcasting from 1925 to 1939 (2015)

Bogert, Nathan Bancroft: Le Saxophone: La Voix de la musique moderne (2008)

Cole, Megan Varvir: Composing Symbolism’s Musicality of Language in fin-de-siècle France (2016)

Collins, Christopher Guy: Manuel de Falla and his European Contemporaries: Encounters, Relationships and Influences (2002)

Copping, Roxanne C.: Composers and the Ballets Russes — Convention, Innovation and Evolution as Seen Through the Lesser-Known Works  (2016)

Deane, Jesse G.: A Comparative Study of Selected Saxophone Quartet Repertoire from the Mule, Rascher and Apollo Saxophone Quartets Between 1928 and 1995  (2011)

Fléchet, Anaïs: Un Brésilien à Paris  (2004)

Forward, David William: The Keyboard Repertory as a Reflector of Art Nouveau in Music (1993)

Gustar, Andrew James: The Closest Thing to Crazy: The Shocking Scarcity of Septuple Time in Western Music (2012)

Hamer, Laura Ann: Musiciennes: Women Musicians in France during the Interwar Years, 1919-1939  (2009)

Harrison, Jane Ellen: Fashionable Innovation: Debussysme in Early Twentieth Century France  (2011)

Hayes, Susan Nanette: Chamber Music in France Featuring Flute and Soprano (1850-1950) and a Study of the Interactions Among the Leading Flutists, Sopranos, Composers, Artists and Literary Figures of the Time (2006)

Janda, Diane: Dionysiaques, Op. 62: An Original Composition for Band by Florent Schmitt (1993)

Keck, Thomas B.: A Critical Edition Full Score of Florent Schmitt’s Hymne funèbre for Contemporary Wind Band, Four-Part Mixed Ensemble and Tenor Solo  (2011)

Keith, C. David: The Sacred Choral Music of Gian Francesco Malipiero and Florent Schmitt  (1992)

Laine, Eric:  Storytelling in a Post-Tonal World:  Narrative Trajectory via Motivic Development in ‘La citerne des mille colonnes’ from Florent Schmitt’s Trois Chants, Op. 98 (2020)

Leal, Cesar A.: Re-Thinking Paris at the fin-de-siècle: A New Vision of Parisian Musical Culture from the Perspective of Gabriel Astruc (1854-1938) (2014)

Maes, Lloyd Rodney: The Choral Style of Florent Schmitt  (1983)

McCarrey, Scott: Florent Schmitt and Maurice Ravel: Measured Time from the Turn of the Century  (2014)

Paré-Morin, Tristan: Sounding Nostalgia in Post-World War I Paris  (2019)

Rao, Arun: Pierrots fâchés avec la lune: Debussy, Fauré and Ravel during World War I  (2013)

Rife, Jerry Edwin: A Study of the Early Twentieth Century Compositional Style of Florent Schmitt Based on an Examination of Psaume XLVII and La Tragédie de Salomé (1986)

Rogers, Jillian Corinne: Grieving Through Music in Interwar France: Maurice Ravel and His Circle, 1914-1934  (2014)

de Savage, Heather: The American Reception of Gabriel Fauré, from Francophile Boston (1892-1945) to the Broader Postwar Mainstream  (2015)

Seto, Mark: Symphonic Culture in Paris, 1880-1900: The Bande à Franck and Beyond (2012)

Shannon, Eric Christopher: Florent Schmitt and the Lied et scherzo  (2015)

Sharp, Chris: A Study of Orchestration Techniques for the Wind Ensemble/Wind Band as Demonstrated in Seminal Works  (2011)

Smith, Virginia Gayle: Impressionism in French Piano Music  (1948)

Szulakowska-Kulawik, Jolanta: Interferences of the Waves of Exoticism in French Music: Exotic Post-Impressionism in Selected Works by Charles Koechlin and Florent Schmitt  (2016)

Tyrväinen, Helena: ‘Excellent pupil, much future’: The Paris Conservatoire Teachers’ Remarks on their Pupils, End of the 19th Century  (2017)

Wiggins, Timothy D.: Analytical Research of Wind Band Core Repertoire (1985)

Note:  Additions or corrections to the information resources listed above are welcomed.