Impressionist French composer who took his first lessons in composition under the tutelage of the local composter Gustave Sandre, prior to enrolling in the Conservatory of Paris at the age of 19, studying under the composers of the stature of Jules Massenet, Gabriel Faure and Theodore Dubois. In the year 1900, he was awarded the Prix de Rome.
Before 1920, it was considered that Schmitt was at the cutting edge of "advanced" and non-conformist musical composers, forming part of a group knowns as the Apaches and being one of most performed French composers in the interwar period, only later to be swept aside, although he continued to compose up to his final days. He held the post of Director of the Conservatory of Lyon from 1921 to 1924, and from 1929 to 1939 he worked as a hard-hitting critic for the magazine named "Le Temps".
Florent Schmitt was a sophisticated composer, capable of "skipping tracks" stylistically and creating convincing objet d'art in diverse styles. He refused to reject his curious musical personalities and was the victim of fierce attacks from those who felt at the time that not joining forces with the current vanguard gave grounds for disdain. Although he was a traditionalist in many aspects, his music often entailed surprisingly modern and rhythmic aspects. He wrote close to 138 pieces throughout his life, compositing for most of the main musical formations, with the sole exception of opera. His style was mainly impressionist, reminiscent of Debussy, though also with a nod to Wagner and Richard Strauss. His quintet for piano G minor, composed in 1908, helped to establish his reputation, although nowadays his most famous compositions are 'La tragédie de Salomé' and 'Psaume' XLVII (Salmo 47) and his work for the Concert Band 'Dionysiaques Op. 62', written between 1913 and 1914.