Hector Berlioz (11 December 1803 -- 8 March 1869) was a French composer, conductor and [[CausticCritic music critic]] of the Romantic Era. [[LoveItOrHateIt An extremely controversial figure]] for the direction he took his composition, [[NeverAcceptedInHisHometown Berlioz had difficulty having his works performed in France]], the story of which is told colourfully (though with exaggerations) in his ''Memoirs''. He fared somewhat better abroad as his tours in Germany, Russia and England were relatively successful. [[Music/RobertSchumann Schumann]] was enthusiastic about his music, and [[Music/FranzLiszt Liszt]] was one of his champions.

A Shakespeare {{fanboy}}, Berlioz wrote several opera based on the Bard's works such as RomeoAndJuliet and MuchAdoAboutNothing (under the title ''Beatrice and Benedict''). His best known work is ''Music/SymphonieFantastique'', an early example of programme music, and one of the first examples of a [[WhatDoYouMeanItWasntMadeOnDrugs psychedelic symphony.]] (Really, the programme to that work mentions a "sensitive artist" who "poisons himself with opium in a fit of despair.")