(b Paris, bapt. 31 May 1656; d Paris, 15 Aug. 1728). French composer and bass viol player. The son of a shoemaker, he was a choirboy at St Germain-l'Auxerrois with Lalande. He studied the bass viol for six months with Sainte-Colombe and by 1675 was playing in the Académie orchestra under Lully. In 1679 he obtained a court post as an ordinaire in the musique de la chambre du roi. A skilled composer as well as performer, he published his first book of pièces de violes in Paris in 1686; in the same year his Idylle dramatique (lost) was performed at Versailles. After Lully's death in 1687, Marais collaborated with Louis Lully on Alcide (1693) before composing three tragédies en musique of his own for performance at the Opéra, of which Alcyone (1706) was particularly admired for the thundering multiple bass parts of its tempest scene.
From The Oxford Companion to Music in Oxford Reference.