Known for his classical poems Charles-Camille Saint-Saens was born on October 9, 1835 in Paris France. His opera Samson et Dalila is very well known in opera circles and Saens is notable for pioneering French music. He was an organist and a highly gifted pianist. He wrote poetry, criticisms, and essays and of course plays. His symphonies, in which he uses Franz Liszt's style, is often performed in major concerts. He wrote popular scores through different genres and his most widely performed work, The Carnival of the Animals still uses forgotten dance forms.
Saens began playing the piano at the age of 2 1/2 and composed his first work at three. By seven he studied with Pierre Maledin and by ten he was giving concerts playing Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto. He learned language and mathematics with ease. He had interests in geology and astronomy.
In 1848 Saens studied organ and composition and by his early 20s was compositing more symphonies. From 1853 to 1986 he was a church organist and taught at the Ecole Niedermeyer. He composed and wrote the 1853 Symphony in F, a Mass in 1955 and more concerts in 1868.
He married Marie Truffot in 1875. She was only nineteen. They had two children who died from a fourth story window. Saens ended the marriage in 1891. During his time he produced Danse macabre (1985) and Samson et Dalila (1978). Saens remained close to his mother who opposed his marriage. When she passed away in 1888 Saens went into a deep depression and contemplated suicide. He traveled to Algeria and Egypt and was inspired to write Africa in 1891 and Piano Concerto No. 5 or the Egyptian. Saens was not regarded as a great musician in France but those in England and the United States recognized his genius. He never remarried and was very attached to his dogs. He died in Algeria on December 16, 1921.