Composer & Musician

Childhood (1862-1872)

Achille-Claude Debussy was born in St. Germain-en-Laye on August 22, 1862 to Manuel-Achille Debussy and Victorine Manoury, both of whom ran a family china-shop. The oldest of five children, Debussy became the musical prodigy of his family.As business slowed at the china-shop, the family eventually picked up and moved to Clichy in Northern Paris. There, they lived with Debussy's grandmother, Edmee Maunory.

In 1870, the family once again relocated to Cannes where they stayed with Debussy's aunt. There, he received his first music lessons with the violinist, Jean Cerutti.

Just a year later, Manuel-Achille Debussy joined the National Guard. When his troop was imprisoned by the enemy force he met Charles de Sivry, a composer. After hearing of how poor the Debussys were Sivry recommended Debussy to his mother, Antoinette Maute, a piano teacher. While his brothers and sisters attended school, Debussy remained home where he was taught by his mother and where he received his piano lessons from Maute.

Shortly after this, Debussy's father was sentenced to four years in prison by the War Council so that Debussy was raised by his mother.




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