A symphony is a multi-movement form, usually tonal with the first movement in sonata allegro form. While originating as a suite of pieces for orchestra, as the tone palette of the organ grew, it migrated to a form for the newer romantic/symphonic organ. Though the very first organ symphony was written by German composer Wilhelm Valentin Volckmar in 1867, the genre is mainly associated with French romanticism. César Franck wrote what is considered to be the first French organ symphony in his Grand pièce symphonique, and the composers Charles-Marie Widor, who wrote ten organ symphonies, and his pupil Louis Vierne, who wrote six, continued to cultivate the genre. The Symphonie-Passion of Marcel Dupré is the reconstruction of an improvisation by Dupré that he made at Wanamaker’s in Philadelphia on 8 December 1921. While classical symphonies (and those written compositions) developed original material, it seems most improvised symphonies follow the pattern of Dupré in utilizing chants, chorales, or other themes known to the audience.
Born in 1979, Jean-Baptiste Dupont began his musical studies at the piano. He discovered the organ later, at the age of 12 and began organ studies at the Institute of Sacred Music of Toulouse. He graduated with distinction from the organ departement at the Conservatoire in Toulouse. His teachers have included Michel Bouvard, Louis Robilliard, Philippe Lefebvre, Jan Willem Jansen and Thérèse Dussaut. He received the 1st prize (improvisation) in St-Albans international competition in July 2009.
In April 2012, Jean-Baptiste Dupont became the organist of the Bordeaux Cathedral.
Most certainly since the Romantics began to compose programmatic music, there has been a close tie between visual art and music. Perhaps the most famous example is the set of piano pieces Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky. It only follows then that organists would then be asked or inspired to improvise music based upon a painting.