French composer, best known for his ballets and film scores.
Born at Lodève, he studied first at the Montpellier Conservatory, then at the Paris Conservatoire (1913) and with Vincent d'Indy at the Schola Cantorum (1914–16). He became acquainted with Satie and Cocteau, under whose influence he and five other young French composers (including Milhaud, Honegger, and Poulenc) formed the group Les Six as a reaction against the influence of Wagner and Debussyan impressionism on French music. During the 1920s Auric wrote several pieces for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, notably Les Matelots (1925), and was one of the pianists in the first performance of Stravinsky's Les Noces. His piano sonata (1930–31), in fact, shows the considerable influence that Stravinsky had on his work. His film score for Cocteau's Le Sang d'un poète (1929) marked the beginning of his important contribution to this field, which included the scores for René Clair's À nous la liberté (1932), Cocteau's La Belle et la bête (1946), The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), and Moulin Rouge (1952).
After World War II Auric turned again to ballet, his later works including Phèdre (1950) and Coup de feu (1952). He also held a number of administrative posts, among them director of the Paris Opéra and of the Opéra-Comique (1962–68), in which he helped to re-establish French operatic life.