Magazine article The American Organist

From the President

Magazine article The American Organist

From the President

Article excerpt


FEBRUARY 15, 2007, marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jean Langlais. (He died May 18, 1991.)

Many French organists have influenced American organists and audiences through their teachings, compositions, and performances, but few to the degree of Jean Langlais. He was truly one of the most significant organ artists in the 20th century, and his influence will continue. A number of Americans were favorite students of Langlais, and his many and varied compositions have been standard fare on our programs for decades. He was always enthusiastically received during his successful concert tours in America, with over 300 recitals being sponsored by AGO chapters alone. (See page 60 in the February issue of TAO for his own account of a tour in 1956.)

On April 3, 1988, he resigned as organiste titulaire at the Basilica of Sainte-Clotilde in Paris, having remained in th'at position longer than any of his distinguished predecessors-César Franck, Gabriel Pierné, and Charles Tournemire.

The hospitality of prominent French organists in permitting visitors to their organ lofts to observe during Sunday Masses is known to be a magical and almost mystical experience. Langlais was always most welcoming to any of us who would climb the many stairs and wind our way through the circuitous route to the console at Sainte-Clotilde.

Long present, near the doorway that leads to the organ loft from the porch of the church, have been stone plaques honoring Franck and Tournemire. …

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