Versatile composer whose works included art song, solo piano, chamber, oratorio, choral, opera, ballet, and orchestral. He wrote "Le bestiaire, ou Le cortège d'Orphée" in 1917 as a cycle of melodies based on poems by Guillaume Apollinaire.
He was primarily self-taught. He received formal training from composer Charles Koechlin in 1921.
He became a member of Les Six, a club comprised of young French and French-Swiss composers.
His father was a director of a chemical corporation, while his mother was an amateur pianist.
He first came to the attention of Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, who played a role in getting his 1917 composition "Rapsodie Nègre" published in London.