Vincent D'Indy was born and died in Paris and descends from an old noble family based in the Cevennes area of France. His mother died giving birth to him, as a result he was brought up by a strict paternal grandmother which influenced his later life and attitudes. He studied piano with the Paris Conservatoire Head of Keyboard, Antoine Marmontel and Louis Diemer; as a result he became a very accomplished pianist – he even recorded for the gramophone in 1923. After military service during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, for which he was decorated for bravery he was involved in Parisian musical life as the youngest member of the 'Societe Nationale de Musique'. His friend Henri Duparc encouraged him to study composition with Cesar Franck, whom D'Indy was to venerate and later to write a biography. In 1894 D'Indy established the 'Schola Cantorum' – a music academy offering a different style and regimen of musical training from the Conservatoire.
'Menuet sur le nom d'Haydn' was D'Indy's response to the request by 'Revue Musicale' in 1909 to celebrate the centenary of the death of Joseph Haydn (1732-1809). All contributions were published in the edition of January 1910.