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Clérambault (pronounce “CLAY-ram-bow”) came from a musical family. He learned to play the violin and harpsichord when he was young, and also learned the organ, composition and singing. He became the organist at the church of the Grands-Augustins and then at Saint-Sulpice. He worked for Madame de Maintenon who arranged concerts for King Louis XIV. He also had a job at the royal house of Saint-Cyr, which was a school for young girls from the poor nobility. He directed the music there, played the organ and trained the choir.
Clérambault was the first important French composer of cantatas. They were often about Greek and Roman myths. He also composed for the organ, harpsichord and violin. He was thought of as France’s greatest organist. Two of his sons took over jobs held by their father after his death.