André Fleury

fleury_andre_mediumAndré Fleury (1903-1995) was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. He received his musical training as a private student of Henri Letocart (a former student of César Franck), and later, of André Marchal and Louis Vierne. At the Paris Conservatory, he studied organ with Eugène Gigout and received a first prize in organ performance and improvisation under Gigout’s successor, Marcel Dupré, in 1926. Fleury also studied composition with Paul Vidal.

In 1920, Fleury became Gigout’s assistant at St. Augustin in Paris, and, later, also assistant of Charles Tournemire at Ste. Clotilde. He became titular organist at St. Augustin in 1930. In 1941, he was appointed professor of organ at the École Normale de Musique in Paris.

After World War II, Fleury relocated to Dijon. In 1949, he succeeded Émile Poillot as titular organist at Dijon Cathedral and as professor of piano (a year later also of organ) at the Dijon Conservatory. In 1971, he accepted Jean Guillou’s invitation to become co-titular organist at St. Eustache in Paris. He also was appointed as professor of organ at the Schola Cantorum and as titular organist at Versailles Cathedral.

As a composer, Fleury wrote numerous works for organ, many of which have not been published yet. He premiered several important organ compositions, such as the organ sonata of Darius Milhaud, Maurice Duruflé’s Scherzo op. 2, as well as La Nativité du Seigneur by Olivier Messiaen (the first integral performance of this organ cycle, after the premiere by Jean Langlais, Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur, and Jean-Jacques Grunenwald).

Among his students were Bernard Gavoty, Pierre Cochereau, and Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur.

André Fleury – Improvisation-Demonstration of Dijon Cathedral – France

André Marchal

MarchalAndré Marchal (1894-1980) was born blind. He studied organ under Eugène Gigout at the Paris Conservatoire. In 1913, he won the First Prize in organ-playing and four years later he also won the prix d’excellence for fugue and counterpoint. Marchal taught organ at the Institut National des Jeunes Aveugles in Paris, in addition to serving as titular organist of the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés (1915–1945) and Saint-Eustache (1945–1963). He was an unparalleled improviser and was recognized as such by Fauré. Among his students are many brilliant musicians such as Peter Hurford, Louis Thiry and Jean-Pierre Leguay.

There is now a Concours André Marchal held every other year in Biarritz, France offering prizes for interpretation and improvisation. Previous winners of the improvisation prizes include: David Cassan, David Maw, Noël Hazbroucq, Martin Bacot, Olivier Perin, Alexandre Mason, Torsten Laux, and Frederik Malmberg.

André Marchal – Improvisation on theme of George Dyson – Royal Festival Hall, London