Georges Bizet, who is best known for his opera, Carmen, has remained somewhat of a mystery as far as his musical education, social life, and personal life. He is not like so many other composers and musicians of the Romantic Period who led a highly publicized life like Hector Berlioz, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, or Johannes Brahms. He spent his short life devoted to music and he did not quite make it into the limelight like these other Romantic composers. The most believable explanation for his obscurity would be the lack of scandal in his life. He had a happy childhood, was well awarded with musical scholarships, and a happy marriage.
Georges Bizet grew up in a musical house. His father was a singing teacher and his mother was a well-known pianist who had attended the Paris Conservatory. His parents encouraged him in music. His father was confident that his son would become a great musician.
His father was actually too supportive of his musical education. He had been known to hide young Georges' other school books so he would not be distracted from his musical studies. He received his first music lesson from his mother when he was just four years old. She was teaching him to read music at the same time she was teaching him his alphabet.
Bizet was enrolled in the Paris Conservatory when he was nine years old. This was a special exception arranged by his uncle who taught at the Conservatory, since Bizet was still a year younger than the minimum age requirement. Here he studied piano, organ, singing, harp, strings, woodwinds, and composition. His instructors were the composers Charles Gounod, who is known for his opera Faust, and who is considered the greatest musical influence in Bizet's life. And Jacque Halevy,