Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc was a French composer and pianist. Poulenc's wealthy family intended him for a business career in the Rhone Poulenc family company and did not allow him to enrol at a music college. Largely self-educated musically, he studied with the pianist Ricardo Viñes, who became his mentor after the composer's parents died. Poulenc soon came under the influence of Erik Satie, under whose tutelage he became one of a group of young composers known collectively as Les Six. This group of French composers from the 1920s aimed to clear music of the impressionism of Claude Debussy, and German influences such as the Romanticism of Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss. Their motto was "L'art pour l'art": they composed music for the sake of music, without any 'meaning' or extramusical intents.
In his early works Poulenc became known for his high spirits and irreverence. During the 1930s a much more serious side to his nature emerged, particularly in the religious music he composed from 1936 onwards, which he alternated with his more light-hearted works.