Marie-Claire Alain

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Marie-Claire Alain 1969 (with Maurice André )

Marie-Claire Alain (born August 10, 1926 in Saint-Germain-en-Laye , † February 26, 2013 in Le Pecq ) was a French organist .


Marie-Claire Alain came from a family of musicians in Saint-Germain-en-Laye near Paris. Her father was the composer and organist Albert Alain, her siblings the composers and organists Olivier (1918–1994) and Jehan Alain (1911–1940). She studied at the Conservatoire de Paris in the organ class of Marcel Dupré , where she was awarded four first prizes, as well as piano with Yves Nat , who advised her to use the organ because she had “organist hands”. Her international career began with the Concours de Genève in Geneva in 1950 when she won the second prize for organ.

As a concert organist, she played more than 2,000 concerts worldwide. Their over 260 recordings include organ works by Johann Sebastian Bach , Dietrich Buxtehude , Nicolaus Bruhns , Georg Böhm , François Couperin , Nicolas de Grigny , Louis-Claude Daquin , Johann Pachelbel , Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy , César Franck , Jehan Alain , Charles-Marie Widor and the organ concerts by Francis Poulenc , Georg Friedrich Händel , Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach , Joseph Haydn and Antonio Vivaldi . Among them are many complete recordings. She played the entire organ works by Johann Sebastian Bach three times.

Alain's style of interpretation was based on a thorough musical, historical and - especially with Bach - theological analysis of the respective work. Her long experience with historical instruments - especially in France and Germany - allowed her to create a stylish sound design. At the same time, she was one of the first to consistently apply the results of historical performance practice on the organ. This applied to the repertoire of the baroque as well as the romantic and modern. Alain spent his entire life editing and interpreting the organ works of her older brother Jehan, who was a victim of the Second World War in 1940.

As a teacher, like her teacher Dupré, she literally founded her own “organ school”. Her students include many leading interpreters: Aart Bergwerff , Christian von Blohn , George C. Baker , Guy Bovet , Ton van Eck , Zsuzsa Elekes , Harald Feller , Holger Gehring , Klaus Germann , Wolfgang Karius , Günther Kaunzinger , Endre Kovács , Gereon Krahforst , Edgar Krapp , Joachim Krause , Jon Laukvik , Bruno Mathieu , Thierry Mechler , Andreas Meisner , Tomasz Adam Nowak , Jacques van Oortmerssen , Elisabeth Roloff , Gunther Rost , Daniel Roth , Andreas Rothkopf , Klaus Rothaupt , Wolfgang Rübsam , Helga Schauerte-Maubouet , Thomas Schmitz , Hayko Siemens , Jochen Steuerwald , Martin Strohhäcker , Wolfram Syré , Dieter Wellmann , Martin Weyer , Samuel Metzger, Heidi Emmert and Diane Bish .

Awards (selection)


  • Wilibald Gurlitt , Carl Dahlhaus (ed.): Riemann Music Lexicon. In three volumes and two supplementary volumes. Alain, Marie-Claire. 12th completely revised edition. 1. Personal section A – KB Schotts-Söhne, Mainz 1959, p. 17 (first edition: 1882).
  • Wilibald Gurlitt, Carl Dahlhaus (ed.): Riemann Music Lexicon. In three volumes and two supplementary volumes. Alain, Marie-Claire. 12th completely revised edition. 4. Personal section A – KB Schotts-Söhne, Mainz 1972, p. 11 (first edition: 1882).
  • Alain Pâris (ed.): Lexicon of the interpreters of classical music in the 20th century. Translated and edited by Rudolf Kimmig, Bärenreiter, Kassel 1992, ISBN 3-7618-3291-5 .

Web links

Commons : Marie-Claire Alain  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files