DéSormière, Roger, brilliant French conductor; b. Vichy, Sept. 13,1898; d. Paris, Oct. 25,1963. He studied with Koechlin in Paris. After serving as music director of the Paris Ballets Suedois (1924–25) and the Ballets Russes (1925–29), he was conductor (from 1936) and director (1944–46) of the opéra-Comique; in 1945–46 he also was assoc. director of the Paris opéra. In 1946–47 he was a guest conductor with the BBC Sym. Orch. in London, and in 1949 he returned to that city with the opéra-Comique to conduct Pelleas et Melisande at Covent Garden. He also appeared as a guest conductor of opéra and sym. throughout Europe. Desormiere was an outstanding interpreter of the French repertory. He also championed 20th-century French music, conducting premieres of works by Satie, Koechlin, Roussel, Milhaud, Poulenc, Messiaen, Boulez et al. After being stricken with aphasia and other disorders, he abandoned his career in 1952.
D. Mayer and P. Souvchinsky, R. D. et son temps (Monaco, 1966).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire