Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) is a composer chiefly remembered for his symphonic poems and for his opera Samson et Dalila. Saint-Saëns was notable for his pioneering efforts on behalf of French music, and he was a gifted pianist and organist as well as a writer of criticism, poetry, essays, and plays. Of his concerti and symphonies, in which he adapted the virtuosity of Franz Liszt’s style to French traditions of harmony and form, his Symphony No. 3 is most often performed. He studied organ and composition at the Paris Conservatory, and in 1855 his Symphony No. 1 was performed. He became organist at the famed Church of the Madeleine in Paris in 1857, an association that lasted for 20 years. Liszt, whom he met about this time and with whom he formed an enduring friendship, described him as the finest organist in the world. From 1861 to 1865 he was professor of piano at the Niedermeyer School, where his pupils included Gabriel Fauré and André Messager. Though he lived through the period of Wagner’s influence, Saint-Saëns remained unaffected by it and adhered to the classical models, upholding a conservative ideal of music that emphasized polished craftsmanship and a sense of form.