In spite of being a student of Camille Saint-Saens at the Ècole Niedermeyer, winning acceptance with the somewhat rigid musical establishment of late 19th century-Paris proved quite a struggle for Gabriel Fauré.
For years he had to earn a living by playing the organ in various churches, even away from Paris, before he was finally appointed choirmaster at La Madeleine.
From then on, however, things went smoother: 1897 saw him following Jules Massenet at the Conservatoire de Paris, where he built up a composition class that counted among its alumni such prominent names like Maurice Ravel, George Enescu, Roger-Ducasse, Charles Koechlin, Florent Schmitt, Nadia Boulanger, etc. This led to Georges Auric, the spokesman of the famous Groupe des Six, calling Gabriel Fauré 'the master of us all'. In 1905 the meanwhile famous composer became director of the prestigious institution.
The predominant characteristics of his style are undoubtedly a certain, natural reserve as well as an undeniable elegance, attributes that led to his oeuvre being described as that quintessentially 'Gallic' that it was impossible for anyone else but the French to understand it. A wrong assumption, obviously: in later years - almost paradoxically - his music gained a youthful strength and unconcerned serenity, gaining Fauré fame reaching much beyond the borders of his home-country. As a partisan of a mentality known as 'sincérité' demanding that composers should be revealing their feelings and emotions as honestly as possible in their works, Gabriel Fauré exerted considerable influence on Enescu's views on music.