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Alexandre Guilmant

From Wind Repertory Project
Alexandre Guilmant

Biography

Alexandre Guilmant (12 March 1837, Boulogne, France - 29 March 1911, Meudon, France) was a French organist and composer.

A student of his father, then of the Belgian master Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens, Guilmant became an organist and teacher in his place of birth.

In 1871 he was appointed to play the organ regularly at la Trinité church in Paris, and this position he held for 30 years. Guilmant was known for his improvisations, both in the concert and church setting. From then on, Guilmant followed a career as a virtuoso; he gave concerts in the United States (the first major French organist to tour that country), and in Canada, as well as in Europe, making especially frequent visits to England.

With his younger colleague André Pirro, Guilmant published a collection of scores, Archives des Maîtres de l'Orgue (Archives of the Masters of the Organ), a compilation of the compositions of numerous pre-1750 French composers.

In 1894 Guilmant founded the Schola Cantorum with Charles Bordes and Vincent d'Indy. He taught there up until his death. In addition, he taught at the Conservatoire de Paris where he succeeded Charles-Marie Widor as organ teacher in 1896.

Guilmant's interest in Marcel Dupré began when he was a child. Albert Dupré, father of the celebrated Marcel, studied organ with Guilmant for seven years prior to his son's birth. In Dupré's memoirs, he includes an anecdote where Guilmant visits his mother upon his birth and declares that the child will grow up to be an organist. After frequent visits throughout his childhood, Marcel Dupré began studying with Guilmant formally at age 11. From this time until his death, Guilmant championed the young virtuoso and did much to advance his career.

Guilmant was an accomplished and extremely prolific composer, devoting himself almost entirely to works for his own instrument, the organ. Though few in number, his works for instruments besides the organ have not been entirely neglected. For example, the Morceau Symphonique is one of the most frequently performed trombone solos, enjoying longstanding popularity among both professional and advanced student trombonists.


Works for Winds


References