Charles-Marie Widor

1844 - 1937



Charles-Marie Widor (b. Lyons 1844, d. Paris 1937) first began his studies in his home town, but later pursued them in Brussels, taking lessons with Nicolas-Jacques Lemmens on the organ, and composition lessons with François-Joseph Fétis. In 1868 he inaugurated the organ at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. He also deputized for Saint-Saëns at the organ of La Madeleine, and then in 1870 he was provisionally appointed organist at Saint-Sulpice. It was not until 1933 that he relinquished this post in favour of his pupil Marcel Dupré. Following the death of César Franck in 1890, it was Widor who was requested to direct organ studies at the Paris Conservatory, and he followed this by taking charge of the composition class in 1896. Among his very many students were figures such as Louis Vierne and Charles Tournemire. Widor was a founder member of the Casa Velázquez in Madrid and the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau. He was an exceptional virtuoso who could be heard in concerts in France and throughout the whole world. He left numerous works, but it is above all his organ music that is most performed today.


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