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Victor Dourlen

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Victor Charles Paul Dourlen (3 November 1780 – 8 January 1864) was a French composer and music teacher at the Conservatoire de Paris during the first half of the nineteenth century. He is primarily known as a theorist on account of his treatises on harmony, based on the methods of Charles Simon Catel, which were widely used as reference works, especially his Traité d'harmonie (c. 1838), the Traité d'accompagnement pratique (c. 1840), and his Méthode élémentaire pour le pianoforte (c. 1820).
Victor Dourlen was born in Dunkerque. He entered the Paris Conservatory in 1799 at the age of 19, becoming a pupil of Charles-Simon Catel (harmony), François-Joseph Gossec (counterpoint), and Benoit Mozin (piano). He became a teacher of elementary singing at the institution in 1800.
In 1805, he won the Prix de Rome for musical composition with his cantata Cupidon pleurant Psyché. Prevented by war to go to Rome immediately, he first had his opera Philoclès performed at the Opéra-Comique in October 1806, but with four performances only, it was not successful. He then went to Rome in 1807, where on 14 July his Te Deum for the Battle of Friedland was performed, followed in 1808 by the Dies irae, another large-scale cantata.
On his return to Paris, he produced several comic operas, all public failures, including Linnée (1808), La Dupe de son Art (1809), and Cagliostro (1810). In 1816, he was appointed full professor of harmony and counterpoint, a position he held until 1842. Among his pupils were Charles-Valentin Alkan, François Bazin, Louis Désiré Besozzi, Alexandre Goria, Henri Herz, Félix Le Couppey, Antoine François Marmontel, Joseph O'Kelly, and Ambroise Thomas. His only operatic success was Le Frère Philippe (1818) after a libretto by Auguste Duport, which was performed 91 times. His last opera, Le Petit souper (1822) became a public fiasco for the all too liberal depiction of the French king François I and was consequently banned by the French censors. From then on, he did not write any further opera but concentrated on teaching and writing theoretical treatises.
In 1838, Dourlen was made a chevalier of the Legion d'honneur. He died in Paris.