Dupont was born in Caen. Following after his father who was a teacher at the Malherbe secondary school and the organist at the Church Saint-Étienne in his home town, Dupont began his studies at the conservatory of music and declamation at the age of 15. There he studied harmony with Antoine Taudou, descant with André Gedalge, and composition with Jules Massenet. In 1895, he was given instruction on the organ by Alexander Guilmant. Between 1897 and 1903, he studied composition with Charles-Marie Widor.
Dupont's brothers also had artistic careers. Maurice, curator of the Guimet Museum, was an Oriental expert and man of letters. Robert (1874–1949) was a landscaper for Sarthe and Brittany, as well as an official painter of the town halls of Paris.
In 1901, while performing his military service, Dupont competed for the Rome Prize. He won second prize, behind André Caplet but ahead of Maurice Ravel. He was also named laureate of the Sonzogno competition for his opera La Cabrera, which was later presented with success at La Scala and then at the Théâtre national de l'Opéra-Comique in 1905.
In 1903, Dupont composed a cycle of fourteen pieces for the piano, Les heures dolentes, during his convalescence from his first bout of tuberculosis — the disease that would ultimately cause his death at the age of 36.
While residing at Cap Ferret, a small island refuge for tuberculosis patients, he composed another cycle of ten pieces for the piano, La Maison dans les dunes (1908–1909. Maurice Dumesnil premiered the suite on 3 June 1910 at the Salle Pleyel. Dupont wrote three more operas: La Glu (1909), a Breton melodrama based on a novel by Jean Richepin; La Farce du cuvier (1911), using a libretto by Henri Cain; and Antar (1912–14), also using a Cain libretto. Antar was performed after Dupont's death in a grandiose and exotically dark production at the Opéra Comique in March 1921.
Dupont died from tuberculosis on the evening of 1 August 1914 in Le Vésinet. The monument on his tomb is prominent in the cemetery there. A recording of La Cabrera has been released on the Bongiovanni label. "Antar" can be heard on YouTube.
- Hommage à Gabriel Dupont, by Robert Jardillier, Revue de Bourgogne, Vol. 12, p. 635-646, Dijon (1924).
- Gabriel Dupont (1878–1914) ou La Mélancolie du Bonheur, Philippe Simon, Éd Atlantica-Séguier (2001).
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