Long, Marguerite (1874–1966)

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Long, Marguerite (1874–1966)

French pianist who was a noted interpreter of Ravel, Debussy and Fauré. Name variations: Marie-Charlotte Long; Marie Charlotte Long. Born on November 13, 1874, in Nimes, France; died on February 13,1966, in Paris; studied piano at Nimes Conservatory (1880s); studied at Paris Conservatory under Tissot and Antoine Marmontel from 1887; married Joseph de Marliave (a musicologist who died in 1914).

Taught at Paris Conservatory (1906–40); was professor of piano from 1920; began own school (1920); ran École Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud with violinist Jacques Thibaud (from 1940); inaugurated Long-Thibaud international piano and violin competition (1943); was a favored performer; toured internationally performing classical, romantic and contemporary repertoire; noted interpreter of and authority on French music.

Books include:

Le piano (The Piano, 1959); Au piano avec Claude Debussy (At the Piano with Claude Debussy, 1960); Au piano avec Gabriel Fauré (At the Piano with Gabriel Fauré, 1963); Au piano avec Maurice Ravel (At the Piano with Maurice Ravel, 1971).

Marguerite Long was born in the south of France, in the town of Nimes, in November 1874. After beginning her piano studies at home, she entered the Nimes Conservatory. In 1887, Long moved to Paris, attending the Paris Conservatory as a student of Tissot and Antoine Marmontel. Long won first prize for pianoforte playing in her first year in Paris, and made her public debut in 1893, although she did not perform in public again until 1903.

Regarded by her contemporaries as a virtuoso performer, Long was asked to join the staff of the Conservatory. In 1906, she took charge of the preparatory pianoforte classes, and in 1920 succeeded Louis Diémer as professor of piano, a position she would hold until 1940.

In addition to teaching, Long toured the major concert halls of Europe and South America performing solo recitals and concertos, sometimes under the direction of her friend Maurice Ravel, who dedicated his Concerto in G major to her. At a concert of his works conducted by the composer in 1932, Long gave the concerto its first performance; they would later record it together.

Long was married to musicologist Joseph de Marliave, who was killed in 1914. Ravel dedicated Le tombeau de Couperin to de Marliave, and

Long gave its first performance on April 11, 1919. At the heart of musical circles in Paris, Long was also a friend of Claude Debussy and a colleague of Gabriel Fauré. Like Ravel, these composers dedicated compositions to her, and she performed world premieres of many of their piano works, along with pieces by Satie, Poulenc and Deodat de Séverac. Towards the end of her life, Long wrote books on the works of Ravel, Debussy and Fauré, drawing on her intimate knowledge of their lives, working methods, and interpretive concerns.

In demand as a lecturer on French music, as a recording artist, and as a performer of the classical, romantic and contemporary repertoires, Long published the well-regarded book Les Quatuors de Beethoven, with an introduction by Fauré, in 1925. In 1920, she had founded her own school, and in 1940 was joined in this endeavor by violinist Jacques Thibaud. Long developed her own method of teaching, about which she would later publish a book, and the École Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud became a highly successful and well respected institution, with pupils including Jean Doyen and Jacques Février, Jeanne-Marie Darré , Bernard Ringeissen, Peter Frankl, Ludwig Hoffman, Nicole Henriot-Schweitzer , and Philippe Entremont. In 1943, she and Thibaud established the Long-Thibaud competition, an international piano and violin contest which quickly became one of the most prestigious in the world.

Regarded throughout her life as one of the most important French pianists of the 20th century, Marguerite Long died in Paris in February 1966.


Dubal, David. The Art of the Piano. NY: Summit Books, 1989.

Lyle, Wilson. A Dictionary of Pianists. NY: Schirmer Books, 1985.

Millington, Barry. "Long, Marguerite (Marie Charlotte)," in New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Vol. 11. p. 219.

Timbrell, Charles. French Pianism: An Historical Perspective. White Plains, NY: Pro/Am Music Resources, 1992.

suggested reading:

Dunoyer, Cecilia. Marguerite Long: A Life in French Music, 1874–1966. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1993.

Paula Morris , D.Phil., Brooklyn, New York