Bernier, Nicolas

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Bernier, Nicolas

Bernier, Nicolas, French organist, teacher, music theorist, and composer; b. Mantes-la-Jolie, June 5 or 6, 1665; d. Paris, July 6, 1734. He was a student of Caldara in Rome. From 1694 to 1698 he was maître at Chartes Cathedral before being called to Paris in 1698 as maître de musique at St. Germain l’Auxérrois. He subsequently held that position at Sainte-Chapelle from 1704 to 1726, and from 1723 he was one of the 3 sous-maîtres at the Chapelle Royale. Bernier was the son-in-law of Marin Marais. He was one of the first French composers to cultivate the secular cantata. He publ. 8 vols, of Cantates françoises, the most notable being Les nuits de Sceaux (Paris, 1715). Among his sacred vocal output were many motets. He also wrote a treatise on counterpoint as Principes de composition (Eng. tr., 1964, by P. Nelson).


P. Nelson, N. B. (1665–1734): A Study of the Composer and his Sacred Works (diss., Univ. of N.C., 1958).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire