Luigi Cherubini (September 14, 1760 ? March 15, 1842) was an Italian composer. Although his music is not well known today, it was greatly admired by many of his contemporaries. Beethoven considered him to be the greatest dramatic composer of his time.
Cherubini was born Maria Luigi Carlo Zenobio Salvatore Cherubini in Florence. His instruction in music began at the age of six with his father, himself a musician. By the age of thirteen, he had composed several religious works. From 1778 to 1780, he studied music in Bologna and Milan.
In 1788, Cherubini settled in Paris. In the years following, he met with only partial success as an opera composer. His first major success was Lodoïska (1791) which was admired for its realistic heroism. This was followed by Médée (1797), which is Cherubini's best known work, and Les deux journées (1800). These and other operas were premièred at the Théâtre Feydeau. His idealism, his independent disposition, and above all the austere, lofty character of his music, prevented him from becoming popular among his contemporaries. However, his fortunes improved slightly in 1795 when he was appointed inspector at the Paris Conservatoire.