Maurice Delage became a pupil of Ravel in the early 1900s, and then one of his closest lifelong friends. However he began his career as a clerk in a maritime agency in Paris, then worked in a fishery in Boulogne, and served in the army. Then, in his early 20s he took up music - after hearing a performance of Pelléas et Melisande - and learned to play the cello.
He became one of the Apaches, and Ravel took an interest in him and gave him lessons - even though he had never previously taken pupils. (Calvocoressi,, p.61). Delage's output of composition is small and he was a slow composer. His travels in India and the East were reflected in some of his works, and his best-known piece is probably Quatre poèmes hindous.
He was one of Ravel's most frequent correspondents, and with his wife Nelly was one of his travelling companions too. Ravel dedicated to him La vallée des cloches in Miroirs.