Louis Aubert, like his contemporaries Joseph Guy Ropartz (1865–1955) and Paul Le Flem (1881–1984), was of Breton origins: he was born on 19th February in Paramé, today part of Saint-Malo. His father was a shipowner and amateur bassoonist, while his mother, who also came from a ship-owning family, was a fine singer, whose voice had been admired by one of the directors of the Théâtre-Italien in Paris. Even as a child Aubert had an excellent ear for music—he was a gifted pianist and sang as a treble chorister in the main churches of Paris. His talents were noted by one of his first teachers, Charles Steiger, who soon brought him to the attention of Albert Lavignac, a professor at the Paris Conservatoire. Aubert went on to study harmony with Lavignac, discovering the great composers in the history of music along the way. He also studied piano with Antoine-François Marmontel and, later, Louis Diémer.
Aubert had begun studying composition with Fauré in 1893, and by 1896 his fellow students also included Maurice Ravel, Florent Schmitt, George Enescu, Charles Koechlin, Jean Roger-Ducasse, Paul Ladmirault and Émile Vuillermoz.
Aubert divided his working life between performing as a pianist, teaching and composing. Henry Barraud, who studied with Aubert and later worked with him when his own composing career took off, acknowledged his debt to his former teacher: “He had, above all, an exceptional gift for sensing what came from deep within the composer of a particular work, and what was just show, or a passing trend.”
Aubert began composing at a very early age.
Henry Barraud emphasised the originality of Aubert’s writing: “… his unusual harmonic sequences, the subtle relationship between them and the linear elements of his musical discourse, that tonal alchemy at which he is a past master—there’s nothing formulaic about any of it: it comes from an entirely personal combination of refined sensibility and deep musical knowledge.”