French composer René Émile Ratez was born in Besançon on 5 November 1851 and died in Lille on 19 May 1934. He studied composition at the Paris Conservatoire with Francois Bazin (1816-1878) and Jules Massenet (1842-1912), and subsequently became a viola player in the orchestra of the Opera-Comique and conductor of the Choir at the Concerts du Chatelet.
In 1891 Ratez left Paris for Lille when he was appointed Director of the Lille Conservatoire. His interest in education led to several published theoretical works including ‘Traite de contrepoint et de fugue’ (1902) and ‘Traite d’harmonie theorique et pratique’ (1908).
Emile Ratez was a fairly prolific composer, alongside his duties as Director of the Lille Conservatoire, writing pieces for piano, violin, oboe and french horn, songs and choral works, string quartets and five operas – Rase d’amour (1886), Lyderic (1895), Le Bateau ivre (c.1900), Paula (1904) and La Guivre (1925).