As a young man he worked for a while in the diplomatic entourage of Paul Claudel, the eminent poet and dramatist, who was serving as ambassador to Brazil. On a trip to the US in 1922, he discovered jazz, which left a great impact on his musical outlook. He left France in 1939 and emigrated to America in 1940 (his Jewish background made it impossible for him to return to his native country until after the Liberation); he secured a teaching post at Mills College in Oakland, California. From 1947 to 1971 he taught alternate years at Mills and the Paris Conservatoire; Notable students of Milhaud include Iannis Xenakis, Morton Subotnick, Dave Brubeck, Burt Bacharach and Steve Reich. Poor health, which caused him to use a wheelchair during his later years (beginning sometime before 1947), compelled him to retire. He died in Geneva.
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