The Darius Milhaud Society Collection


The Darius Milhaud Society Collection


Darius Milhaud (1892-1974) was a French composer and teacher. He was a member of Les Six (also known as The Group of Six) and one of the most prolific composers of the 20th century. A modernist composer, his compositions are influenced by jazz and make use of polytonality.

The rise of Nazi Germany and invasion of France forced the Milhauds to emigrate to the United States in 1940. Because of his Jewish background, Milhaud could not return to his native country until after the war concluded. He secured a teaching post at Mills College in Oakland, California, where he composed and collaborated with other composers during the war years.

From 1947 to 1971, he taught alternate years at Mills and the Paris Conservatoire, until poor health compelled him to retire. He died in Geneva at the age of 81, and he was buried in the Saint-Pierre Cemetery in Aix-en-Provence.

During his tenure at Mills College, Darius Milhaud became acquainted with one of his students, Katharine Warne. Warne studied composition with Milhaud during her undergraduate career at Mills College and completed compositions, sketches, and homework during her time as a student with him. Upon graduating from Mills College in 1945, Katharine Warne maintained contact with Darius and Madeleine Milhaud (Darius' wife), often attending Milhaud's birthday celebrations at Mills College.

Katharine Warne created the Darius Milhaud Society in 1984, 10 years after Milhaud's death, with the purpose of preserving and promoting his works and legacy. As founder and president of the society, Warne maintained a personal and professional relationship with Madeleine Milhaud, who performed in concerts and provided information about Darius for the society.

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The Darius Milhaud Society Collection