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Eugene Chassaignac

Eugène Chassaignac was a composer and music critic in nineteenth century New Orleans.

Eugene Chassaignac

Courtesy of Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University

Collection des Melodies de Eugène Chassaignac. Chassaignac, Eugène (composer)

Born in Nantes, France, in 1820 to Pierre Chassaignac and Fanny Louise Picard, Eugène Chassaignac was a composer and music critic. Chassaignac studied with composer Ludovic Halévy in Paris before immigrating to New Orleans and establishing himself as a writer on theater and music for the French-language newspapers Le Moniteur du Sud, La Chronique, Le Meschacébé, and Le Louisianais. He moved to Pointe Coupée Parish in 1850 and married Elvire Porche. The same year, the Théatre de St. Martinville performed his comic opera, La Nuit aux echelles. After a stint teaching at the Collège de la Mobile, in 1857 he returned to New Orleans, where he opened a music store, Elie et Quadrilles, with First and Pond of New York. The composer of numerous songs, he used texts by Placide Canonge and Auguste de Chatillon as well as his own. His music was largely published in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Paris and is represented in the holdings of Duke University and the Library of Congress. After his death in New Orleans on January 25, 1878, his wife moved to Morgan City, Louisiana, where a fire in her residence destroyed the vast majority of his manuscripts.

Chassignac’s works include the following:

  • “Beautiful Star of My Destiny,” New Orleans, LA: A.E. Blackmar, 1874
  • “Confederate Land, New Orleans,” Sourdes & Chassaignac; Blackmar & Bro., 1861
  • Dis-moi, a revery,” Philadelphia, PA, A Fiot, 1850
  • La Fee aux yeux doux,” words by L.P. Canonge, Eugene Chassaignac, 1862
  • “The First Dream of Love and Lost Illusions,” Boston, MA, Ditson, 1871
  • “Home Again,” Boston, MA, Ditson, 1872
  • “Mathilde,” Boston, MA, Ditson, 1872