Vierne, Louis, eminent French organist, pedagogue, and composer; b. Poitiers, Oct. 8, 1870; d. while playing his 1,750threcital at Notre-Dame Paris, June 2, 1937. He was born blind but gained limited sight through an operation in 1877. He showed musical talent at an early age and studied at the Institution Nationale des Jeunes Aveugles in Paris (1881-88). He received organ lessons from Franck, then was a pupil of Widor at the Paris Cons. (1890-93), winning a premier prix in organ (1894). In 1892 he became Widor ’s assistant at St.-Sulpice in Paris and in 1900 was appointed organist at Notre-Dame in Paris, where he remained until his death. He taught organ in Paris at the Cons. (1894-1911) and at the Schola Cantorum (from 1911); among his pupils were Nadia Boulanger and Marcel Dupré. In 1927 he made a four-month North American concert tour. His six organ syms. are principal works of the genre.
ORCH: Sym. (1907-08; Paris, Jan. 26,1919); Les djinns,symphonic poem (1919); Marche triomphale pour le centenaire de Napoléonfor Brass, Timpani, and Organ (1921); Poèmefor Piano and Orch. (1926); Symphonic Piecefor Organ and Orch. (1926; arranged from the 1st3 organ syms.). CHAMBER: String Quartet (n.d.); Violin Sonata (1906); Cello Sonata (1910); Piano Quintet (1917); Soirs étrangersfor Cello and Piano (1928). KEYBOARD: Organ: Allegretto (1894); 6 syms. (1898-99; 1902-3; 1911; 1914; 1923-24; 1930); Messe basse (1912); 24 pièces en style libre (1913-14); Pièces de fantaisie (4 books, 1926-27); Triptyche (1929-31); Messe basse pour les défunts (1934). Piano: Several pieces. VOCAL: Messe solonnellefor 4 Voices and 2 Organs (1900); Praxinoé,symphonie legend for Soloists, Chorus, and Orch. (1903-06); Psychéfor Voice and Orch. (1914); Les Angélusfor Voice and Organ or Orch. (1930); Ballade du désespéréfor Tenor and Piano or Orch. (1931); songs.
In Memoriam L. V (Paris, 1939); B. Gavoty, L. V, La Vie et l’oeuvre (Paris, 1943).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire