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Ouch! The Mortal Misstep Of The Sun King's Composer

Falling off the podium or into the orchestra pit weren’t the occupational hazards befalling French Baroque composer Jean-Baptiste Lully - but his was no less risky. Temple University Professor Steven Zohn, an expert in Baroque music, recounts the conducting move that led to Lully’s death.

Zohn says Lully, who first came to the attention of King Louis XIV as a dancer, profited from his relationship with the monarch - and his power over the musical facets of the royal court became wider and wider. 

He’s best-known for his operas, and enjoyed a monopoly on stage productions. His death in 1687 at the age of 54 opened the door for the next generation of aspiring French composers to create operas, with Lully’s approach to the new genre as a starting point.  

Lully's Chaconne from PHAETON


From the 2000 film Le Roi Danse - warning, slightly gory!


Professor Steven Zohn of Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance talks more about Lully’s life and death, the current resurgence of his operas and other music, and his monopoly on early French opera.