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Pierre Robert

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Pierre Robert

Pierre Robert (ca. 1618 – 30 December 1699) was a French composer and early master of the French grand motet.

Robert was educated at the boys choir, or maîtrise, of Notre Dame de Paris under the direction of Henry Frémart, Jean Francois, and Cosset Veillot before being appointed master of music at the Cathedral of Senlis in 1643. In 1650 he went to the Cathedral of Chartres before returning to Senlis in March 1652. On 28 April 1653, he was appointed music master of Notre Dame de Paris, replacing Valentin de Bournonville. Robert remained ten years as head of the maîtrise.

In 1663, Louis XIV chose him with Henry Du Mont to occupy one of the four posts of Assistant Master of the Chapelle Royale. He initially filled this function in conjunction with Thomas Gobert, Gabriel Expilly and Henry Du Mont, though Gobert and Expilly resigned in 1668. Du Mont and Robert developed the grand motet, the characteristic genre of French baroque sacred music. Du Mont and Robert retired in 1682 when Louis XIV relocated the court to Versailles, and a competition was held to find four replacements among thirty five contenders; the four chosen were Michel Richard Delalande, Pascal Collasse and two minor composers Nicolas Coupillet, and Guillaume Minoret. Among those passed over were Paolo Lorenzani, Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers, Jean-Féry Rebel, Henry Desmarets and Marc-Antoine Charpentier who withdrew from the competition because of illness.

Robert died in Paris and was buried at Saint-Nicolas-des-Champs.