Emile Waldteufel (December 9, 1837?February 12, 1915) was a French composer of popular music as well as waltzes and polkas.
Emile Waldteufel was born in Strasbourg, France. The name "Waldteufel" sounds German, and Alsace was a former German territory that had been part of France since 1793. It was not generally known that his ancestry was also Jewish.
Waldteufel was born into a family of musicians. His father, Louis, had a well-reputed orchestra, and his brother Léon was a well-liked musician. When Léon got a place at the Conservatoire de Paris as a violin student, the entire family moved there. It was in Paris that Emile would spend the rest of his life.
He studied the piano at the Conservatoire de Paris from 1853 to 1857. Among his fellow pupils was Jules Massenet, the famous opera composer. During this time, his father's orchestra became one of the most famous in Paris, and he was frequently invited to play at important events. At the age of 28, Emile became the court pianist of Empress Eugénie. After the Franco-Prussian War, the orchestra played at the President's balls in the Elysée Palace. At this time only a few members of the French high society knew of Emile, and he was already 40 before he became better known.
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