Born and died in Paris, Paul Dukas was born into a Jewish banking family. He entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1881 aged sixteen to study with Theodore Dubois and particularly with Ernest Guiraud, who had also taught Claude Debussy - both he and Dukas were in the same composition class. Dukas' first orchestral work was the Overture 'Polyeucte' performed in 1892 and completed his Symphony in C, whose first performance was overshadowed by the immense success of 'L'Apprenti Sorcier' that same year (1900) which remains his deservedly most famous orchestral work – even enhancing Mickey Mouse's reputation in Walt Disney's 'Fantasia'! His most substantial work is the opera 'Ariane et Barbe-Bleu' which still receives productions today and could be considered as possibly his masterpiece, for he destroyed so many other works, being a strict perfectionist.
'Piece Elegiaque' was Dukas' response to the request to French composers by 'Revue Musicale' in 1909 to honour the centenary of the death of Joseph Haydn (1732-1809). All six contributions were published in the edition of January 1910.