From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Jean-Philippe Rameau (September 25, 1683, Dijon – September 12, 1764) was one of the most important French composers and music theorists of the Baroque era. He replaced Jean-Baptiste Lully as the dominant composer of French opera and is also considered the leading French composer for the harpsichord of his time, alongside François Couperin.
In the mid-1750s, Rameau criticised Rousseau's contributions to the musical articles in the Encyclopédie, which led to a quarrel with the leading philosophes d'Alembert and Diderot. As a result, Rameau became a character in Diderot's then-unpublished dialogue, Le neveu de Rameau (Rameau's Nephew).
Rameau's music, so graceful and attractive, completely contradicts the man's public image and what we know of his character as described (or perhaps unfairly caricatured) by Diderot in his satirical novel Le Neveu de Rameau.