Obituary: Organist Marie-Claire Alain, 86

Posted on: February 28, 2013

Wednesday (2/27) on the Gramophone website, Jeremy Nicholas writes, “Marie-Claire Alain was the doyenne of French organists, the grande dame of the organ world. With over 260 recordings to her credit, she was arguably the most recorded organist and is only one of two people to have recorded the complete works of Bach three times (in the 1960s, 1978-1980 and the 1990s), the other being Lionel Rogg, as well as the complete works of 12 other composers. She made her first recording in 1954, ‘Pièces inédites de Bach’, on the new Erato label. It is reckoned that since her debut in 1950 she gave well over 2,000 recitals world-wide. Born, like Debussy, in the Paris suburb of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Alain was the youngest child of a distinguished musical family and the last link in a direct line of celebrated French organists from Guilmant and Vierne, with whom her organist-composer father Albert studied, to Marcel Dupré and Maurice Duruflé, who were her teachers. … Much sought-after as a teacher, Marie-Claire Alain was noted for her modesty and lack of ego, as well as for her warmth and patience with even the least talented of her pupils.” Alain died February 26 at the age of 86.

Posted February 28, 2013