Frederic Mompou i Dencausse (1893 - 1987) was born to a middle-class family in the neighborhood of Poble-Sec, Barcelona. He was the son of a Catalan lawyer and a housewife of French origin, neither of whom had a musical background.


Mompou’s sensitivity as a composer stemmed from his reception towards his surroundings, namely the sounds of the bell factory of his paternal grandfather (a tradition since the 15th century) and the light of the Mediterranean Sea.


Mompou began his musical studies in the Liceu Conservatory under the guidance of Pere Serra. In 1909, in a concert organized by the Sala Mozart in Barcelona, where the last trends in classical music were presented, Mompou discovered the compositions of Gabriel Fauré. His Quintet Op. 89 made a great impact on the young Catalan who immediately decided to train as a composer. At the tender age of sixteen Mompou had the chance to leave to France to pursue his formal studies of composition and piano at the Paris Conservatory with Motte Lacroix and Isidor Philipp.  


Paris, also known as the City of Art, was a center of focus for artists around the world since the 19th century. On the one hand, it had a rich cultural heritage - since the French Revolution numerous tendencies evolved: Romanticism, Impressionism, Symbolism, Art Nouveau, Neo-Impressionism, Neo-Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism and Abstract Art. On the other hand, the emerging anti-burgeois ideas and freedom philosophies were key to promote and develop artistic diversity. 

In 1914, with the outbreak of the First World War Mompou had to return to his hometown where he stayed until it ended. Despite the rough historical circumstances, it was an incredibly prolific period for the young Mompou. He composed: 

Pessebres (1914)

Scènes d'enfants (1915-1918)

Canción y danza 2 (1918)


L'hora grisa (1915)

Suburbis (1916-1917)


Fêtes lointaines (1920)

Muntanya (1915)

Cants Màgics (1917-1919)

Charmes (1920-1921)


In 1921 Mompou settled in Paris again, this time though for over twenty years. He began to be renowned as his teacher Motte Lacroix premiered his first musical pieces in the Salle Érard1. He lived then a bourgeoise life, often invited in privileged dinners and cultural events. As a consequence, his composing activity decreased. At one point he had the opportunity to join the composers' collective Les Six (the six), who emerged as a reaction to the music of Wagner and the impressionistic movement of C. Debussy and M. Ravel.  However, Mompou kept a distance as Motte Lacroix had warned him. 

The 1930's were black years for Mompou. He stopped composing as he needed time to find himself as an artist. As a matter of fact, there is no record of compositions by Mompou between 1931 and 1937.

In 1937 he wrote his Souvenirs de l'éxposition, as an order by the editor Eschig, who was recording background music of the Universal Exposition of Paris. This encouraged him to embark on the writing of Variations on a theme by Chopin (1938-1957). Its completion took him almost twenty years.  

Mompou returned to Barcelona in 1941 and he stayed there until the end of his life. He was invited to be the jury in a piano competition. One of the participants was the pianist Carmen Bravo, who did not win but made a great impression on the Catalan composer with her 1st movement of Schumann's Piano concerto Op. 54. After her performance, Mompou approached her to praise her rendition. That is how he made acquaintance with his future wife who was no less than twenty-six years younger than him. 

It followed a very prolific period of his career thanks to his state of happiness, similar to the one he had before being renowned. In this time he composed: more Préludes, more Canciones y Danzas, Combat del Somni, Comptines, Música Callada, just to name some of them.

Finally, he had to interrupt his composing activity in 1979 due to health problems. In 1987 he passed away in Barcelona.  

Marcel Worms plays his "El repos dins el temple" from Muntanya by Mompou

Mompou plays his "Rythme" from Fetes lointaines.

Volodos plays Mompou's "Jeunes filles au jardin" from Scenes d'Infants

Mompou plays his "Pour inspirer l'amour" from Charmes

Mompou plays his "Gitanes I" from Suburbis

Faure's Piano quintet Op. 89