Olivier Latry is regarded as one of the most notable organists of our time.
Born in 1962, he began his musical studies in his home town of Boulogne-sur-Mer and later attended the Conservatoire de Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, studying with Gaston Litaize. He was appointed professor of organ at the Institut Catholique de Paris in 1983, then at the Conservatoire National de Région in Reims. In 1990 he succeeded his teacher at Saint-Maur, before being appointed professor at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris in 1995 alongside Michel Bouvard. From 1981 to 1985 he was titular organist of Meaux Cathedral. Then, at the age of twenty-three, he was appointed to the prestigious post of organist of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. This nomination propelled him onto the international scene: he has appeared in more than fifty countries and on all five continents, as a recitalist or with orchestra, acting as unofficial ambassador for French organ music, which he endeavours to present alongside the art of improvisation. He also has a particular interest in contemporary music and has premiered works by many of today’s composers. His extensive study of the music of Messiaen led to performances of his complete organ works in Paris, New York, and London in 2000, and the publication of the monograph L’Oeuvre d’orgue d’Olivier Messiaen written jointly with Loïc Mallié (Carus-Verlag, 2008).
His recordings include two on Naïve: a recital on Alkan’s 1853 Érard pedal piano of works by Boëly, Schumann, Brahms, Alkan, and Liszt, and the harmonium part of Franck’s Prélude, fugue et variation in Bertrand Chamayou’s CD devoted to that composer. For his work in the field of organ performance and studies, Olivier Latry was awarded the Prix de la Fondation Cino et Simone Del Duca in 2000, as well as honorary fellowships from the North and Midlands School of Music (2006), the Royal College of Organists (2007), and McGill University in Montreal (2010). He was also awarded the titles of International Performer of the Year by the American Guild of Organists in April 2009 in New York and Organist Emeritus by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (December 2012).
His discography also includes works by Bach, Mozart, Schumann, Widor, Vierne, and Duruflé. Among his most recent releases are a disc of transcriptions, ‘Midnight at Notre-Dame’, a Franck programme, Poulenc’s Organ Concerto and Barber’s Toccata Festiva with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Jongen’s Symphonie concertante with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège. His action in favour of the organ led to his being awarded the Prix of the Fondation Cino et Simone Del Duca in 2000. His other distinctions include, in the UK, honorary fellowships of the North and Midlands School of Music (2006), the Royal College of Organists (2007) and the National College of Music and Arts in London, and an honorary doctorate from McGill University, Montreal in 2010. At a concert in New York in April 2009, the American Guild of Organists named him ‘International Performer of the Year’.
Trois siècles d'orgue à Notre-Dame de Paris
- 1. Séjean : Noël suisse
- 2. Calvière : Pièce d'orgue
- 3. Daquin : Noël, Grand jeu et Duo
- 4. Balbastre : Marche des Marseillois, Air "ça ira"
- 5. Beauvarlet-Charpentier : Noëls en tambourin
- 6. Guilmant : Sonate n°1 (Final)
- 7. Vierne : Clair de Lune
- 8. Vierne : Feux follets
- 9. Vierne : Carillon de Westminster
- 10. Leguay : Prélude IX
- 11. Leguay : Prélude VI
- 12. Leguay : Prélude VII
- 13. Latry : Improvisation
- 14. Cochereau : Boléro
One of the most visited places on Earth, Notre Dame de Paris cathedral is celebrating 850 years in 2013. It obviously has had a long tradition of music, especially with its renowned great organs.