I will start by skipping over where and when he was born. As far as I can tell he was the only known MUSICIAN born within the decade of his birth and a radius of 3000 miles. <BR>His well-to-do parents sent him to France to study piano. His teacher also had another, slightly younger, piano student, Camille Saint-Saens. Our mystery P-C made his official debut at Salle Pleyel with a program including a Chopin concerto. Chopin was in the audience, and is supposed to have said after the concert, "Give me your hand, my child. I predict you will become the king of pianists".<P> True, at first, to the prediction, he conquered Europe with his skill, impressing other great pianists and critics alike. But shortly after, he left his teacher's guidance, never bothering to take another lesson. He also began writing some short works inspired by his homeland, and including them in his programs. He began to get lazy and his reputation, if not his popularity, was threatened. He then came to America, where he concertized indefatigably over the next dozen years. He is credited with over 1500 concerts in the years 1862-64. In all, he traveled many tens of thousands of miles in North, Central, and South America, performing in concert halls, saloons, mining camps, etc. --- anywhere a piano could be brought. <BR> There are many parallels between our P-C and Chopin, including his death at about the same age. While music critics would have dismissed his entire late career, we can keep in mind that music is not made for critics. He brought Bach, Beethoven, and operatic transcriptions, as well as his own music, to thousands who were enriched by the experience. <P> His legacy is his legend, his place in history as his country's first nationalist composer, and a trunkload of piano miniatures. He did write some longer works for orchestra, and some for piano with orchestra, but it's the piano trinkets that sustained his popularity in 19th century homes that had pianos. Like Chopin's works, his are better suited to the salon than to the concert hall. Unlike Chopin's works, they survive only for their surface charm. Some are wonderful for their vitality. Others drip enough fat to fry chicken. In the 20th century a ballet was made out of several of his piano works, and they translate nicely for orchestra. <BR>WHO IZZIT??? Best of luck and Happy New Year. <BR>Shos.