On this day in 1875, in the town of Ciboure, France, Maurice Ravel was born.
The composer, pianist and conductor, in the 1920s and 30s, was regarded as France's greatest living composer. Though he was not as prolific as many of his contemporaries (his friend was the elder Claude Debussy), he wrote pieces for piano, chamber music, concertos, ballet music, two operas and songs. He wrote no symphonies. He died in 1937, finding his way as a composer, incorporating elements of baroque, neoclassicism and, in later works, jazz. In regards to jazz - Ravel nearly taught George Gershwin, who asked Ravel for lessons. Ravel refused on grounds that they, "would probably cause him to write bad Ravel and lose his great gift of melody and spontaneity."
Ravel's most famous work is Bolero.
The Seattle Symphony has played many of Ravel's pieces. In 2014 they released a CD of his work (that can be found here). In June, they'll be performing L'entfant et les sortileges, a rarely performed one-act opera of Ravel's.
Here is Piano Concerto in D Major for the Left Hand, written for Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein who lost an arm during WWI.
Here is Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe: