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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » F » Fournier, Pierre



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Pierre Fournier (6/24/1906 - 1/08/1986)

Often dubbed ‘the aristocrat of cellists’ because of his smooth, refined sound, Pierre Fournier was a musician very much of the Franco-Belgian tradition, studying with Paul Bazelaire and André Hekking at the Paris Conservatoire (where, like many successful alumni, he later became a professor himself ) and associating with such players as Jacques Thibaud and Alfred Cortot as well as contemporary Paris-based composers. He and fellow French cellist Paul Tortelier were great friends. On one occasion backstage after a recital by Tortelier they exchanged compliments with great humour: ‘Paul, I wish I had your left hand’; ‘Pierre, I wish I had your right arm!’ A keen advocate of new music, Fournier was the dedicatee of sonatas by Martinů and Poulenc, and gave premières of concertos by Roussel, Martin and Martinů. He was highly regarded both as a soloist and a chamber musician (see Maurice Vieux’s entry in this book). Touring Europe and the USA with Szigeti, Primrose and Schnabel in 1947–1948 broadened his horizons significantly, both in terms of becoming well known across the Atlantic and also in playing chamber music with musicians from different traditions.

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