Alain Marion


Born: December 25, 1938 Died: August 16, 1998
Equally adept at Baroque music and avant-garde works, accomplished as an orchestral musician and as a soloist, and a dedicated teacher, Alain Marion was one of the most notable flutists of the late twentieth century. He never achieved celebrity status outside France, mainly because he recorded mainly for small labels, but he toured widely and was highly respected and appreciated in the flute world.

Born in Marseille, he began his studies at the conservatory there with Joseph Rampal, father of Jean-Pierre Rampal. Marion later studied with the younger, more famous, Rampal in Paris. In 1961, he won a prize at the 1961 International Music Competition in Geneva, subsequently launching a career as an orchestral flutist. Principal flute with the French Radio Chamber Orchestra in 1964, Marion was a founding member of the Orchestre de Paris. In 1972, he joined the Franch National Orchestra as principal flute, gaining recognition as a versatile soloist throughout the 1970s. In 1977, Pierre Boulez recruited Marion for the Ensemble Intercontemporain. Marion soon found himself performing and recording music from the earliest and most recent works of the flute repertoire.

As a player possessing a superb technique, brilliant tone, and catholic repertoire, Marion could be likened to a younger version of Jean-Pierre Rampal. "When I first came to Paris," Marion told an interviewer in 1992, "I wanted to imitate Jean-Pierre Rampal's vibrant sound. In my mind I became Jean-Pierre, and thinking about his tone and manner of playing helped me imagine and try to duplicate that sound."

Education became an increasingly important aspect of his career. Hired as a professor at the Nice International Summer Academy in 1969, he became that institution's director in 1986, remaining there until 1993. He also taught flute at the Paris Conservatory and Salzburg Mozarteum. His students included Peter-Lukas Graf and Trygve Peterson.

Depressed by the death of his grandson, Marion died of a heart attack at age 59 while on tour in South Korea.