Marcel Dupré


Born: May 3, 1886; Rouen, France   Died: May 30, 1971; Meudon, France  
Marcel Dupré was the foremost French organ virtuoso of his time, an heir to the great tradition of Romantic French organ playing and composing. Dupré was famed for his ability to improvise; he also composed substantial works and was a widely traveled recitalist and an influential teacher.

His pedigree as a French organist was impeccable. His father and two grandfathers were organists and choirmasters, and he was
Read more tutored privately by Guilmant in 1898. Dupré studied at the Paris Conservatory (1902-1914) with Vierne, Diémer, and Widor. He had already given his first organ recital at age 10, had been appointed organist at St. Vivien at 12, and had had his oratorio Le Songe de Jacob performed (in his home) at 15. As a youth he also took long walks with the organ builder Cavaillé-Coll; the two discussed organ construction. In 1914, after already having won conservatory prizes for organ and fugue, he received the Grand Prix de Rome for his cantata Psyché.

In 1920 Dupré gave a series of ten recitals in which he played from memory the complete organ works of J.S. Bach; he had learned the music during World War I, for which he had been found unfit for duty. He toured extensively as a virtuoso, giving as many as 110 recitals in a single trip and making ten tours of the U.S. alone between 1921 and 1948. Dupré celebrated his 1,900th concert in 1953. He frequently improvised fugues and organ symphonies from themes suggested by musicians in the audience; his Symphonie-Passion and Le Chemin de la croix (The Way of the Cross) were first improvised in performance (in Philadelphia and Brussels, respectively) and later notated. His written compositions include a series of 76 chorales, a concerto for organ and orchestra, and two symphonies for solo organ. Dupré also wrote several texts on organ technique and improvisation. All his music has a tonal basis overlaid with high chromaticism. His habit of using chords in rapid bunches was soon picked up by his pupils Alain and Messiaen.

Dupré's academic appointments included a professorship at the Paris Conservatory from 1926 (an institution he directed from 1954 to 1956) and oversight of the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau (1947-1954). From 1934 until his death at age 85, he also served as organist (succeeding Widor) at St. Sulpice. Read less
Browse 1-8 of 8 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Saint-Saens: Symphony No. 3
    Label: Decca   Catalog: B002551401 Release Date: 09/30/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Marcel Dupré
    Conductor:  Paul Paray
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Detroit Symphony Orchestra
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  • 2.
    The Merton Organ / Nicholas
    Label: Delphian   Catalog: 34142 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  César Franck,  John Stanley,  Olivier Messiaen  ... 
    Performer:  Marcel Dupré,  Benjamin Nicholas
    CD: $18.99
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  • 3.
    Mercury Living Presence - The Collector's Edition Vol 2
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001831802 Release Date: 06/04/2013   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Anton Webern,  Alban Berg,  Ottorino Respighi  ... 
    Performer:  Helga Pilarczyk,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Mihaly Székely,  Olga Szönyi  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Rafael Kubelik,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Frederick Fennell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica  ... 
    CD: $181.49
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  • 4.
    Composers In Person - Widor, Messiaen, Dupré, Vierne
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 55037 Release Date: 07/09/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles-Marie Widor,  Olivier Messiaen,  Marcel Dupré,  Louis Vierne
    Performer:  Charles-Marie Widor,  Olivier Messiaen,  Marcel Dupré,  Louis Vierne
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 5.
    Organ In St. Jacob's Church / Bondemann, Waldenby
    Label: Nosag Records   Catalog: 2098 Release Date: 04/25/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Charles-Marie Widor,  César Franck,  Michael Waldenby  ... 
    Performer:  Anders Bondeman,  Michael Waldenby,  Marcel Dupré
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  • 6.
    Glorious Pipes - Organ Music / Dupré, Cochereau, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000310102 Release Date: 08/10/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Charles-Marie Widor,  Olivier Messiaen,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Ton Koopman,  Simon Preston,  Pierre Cochereau,  Thomas Trotter  ... 
    CD: $16.99
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  • 7.
    Widor, Franck / Marcel Dupré
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 434311 Release Date: 05/12/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  César Franck,  Charles-Marie Widor
    Performer:  Marcel Dupré
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  • 8.
    Saint-Saens: Symphony No 3; Paray: Mass / Paray
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 432719 Release Date: 11/08/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Paray,  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  David Lloyd,  Frances Bible,  Francis Yeend,  Yi-Kwei Sze  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Paray
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Detroit Symphony Orchestra,  Rackham Symphony Choir
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