Fournet, Jean

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Fournet, Jean

Fournet, Jean, distinguished French conductor and pedagogue; b. Rouen, April 14, 1913. He received training in flute from M. Moyse (premier prix, 1932) and in conducting from Gaubert (1930–36) at the Paris Cons. In 1936 he made his conducting debut in Rouen, where he was active until 1940. After conducting in Marseilles (1940–44), he returned to Paris and served as music director of the Opéra-Comique (1944–57) and as a teacher of conducting at the École Normale de Musique (1944–62). From 1961 to 1968 he was principal guest conductor of the Hilversum Radio Orch. in the Netherlands, where he was also engaged in teaching conducting. In 1965 he made his debut with the Chicago Lyric Opera. After serving as music director of the Rotterdam Phil. (1968–73) and l’Orchestre de l’Ile-de-France (1973–82), he was active as a guest conductor. He made his belated Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. on March 28, 1987, conducting Samson et Dalila. Fournet was especially esteemed for his idiomatic interpretations of scores from the French symphonic and operatic repertory.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire