(Louis) (1803-1869) French Romantic composer. He is noted as the founder of modern orchestration. Much of his music was inspired by drama and literature and has a theatrical quality. He wrote symphonic works, such as Symphonie fantastique 1830–31 and Roméo et Juliette 1839; dramatic cantatas including La Damnation de Faust 1846 and L’Enfance du Christ 1854; sacred music; and three operas: Benvenuto Cellini 1838, Les Troyens 1856–58, and Béatrice et Bénédict 1862.
Berlioz studied music at the Paris Conservatoire. He won the Prix de Rome 1830, and spent two years in Italy. In 1833 he married Harriet Smithson, an Irish actress playing Shakespearean parts in Paris, but they separated 1842. After some years of poverty and public neglect, he went to Germany 1842 and conducted his own works. He subsequently visited Russia and England. In 1854 he married Marie Recio, a singer.