Maurice Duruflé

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French organist, teacher and composer

  • Born in Louviers, France on January 11, 1902
  • 1912-1918 he recieved his musical education from a choir school in Rouen
  • During this time he was deputy at the cathedral under Jules Haeling who was a pupil of Guilmant.
  • The plainsong chant that was sung there would become a prominent influence in his composing career
  • Tournemire prepared him to enter into the Conservatoire
  • 1920 He became deputy organist at St. Clothilde
  • During this time he also turned to Vierne as a teacher
  • He got the richness of modal harmony and plainsong from Tournemire and structure, proportion and a scope of what the organ can do from Vierne.
  • 1920 he entered the Conservatoire
  • He achieved premier pix from 5 classes: organ with Gigout (1922), harmony with Jean Gallon (1924), fugue with Cussade (1924), accompaniment with Estyle (1926) and composition with Dukas (1928)
  • 1927 he became deputy organist at Notre-Dame with Vierne
  • Vierne hoped that Duruflé would succeed him.
  • 1930 appointed organist at St Etienne-du-Mont. He stayed there the rest of his life
  • 1936 he won the Prix Blumenthal
  • 1939 he premiered Poulenc's Organ Concerto in G min. He advised Poulenc on registration for the organ part.
  • 1942 he was deputy to Dupré as professor of organ at the Paris Conservatoire
  • 1943-70 he was the professor of harmony at the Paris Conservatoire
  • He taught Cochereau, Guillou, and Marie Claire Alain
  • He toured throughout Europe, the USA and the USSR
  • 1975 he was seriously injured in car accident and quit performing so his wife Jeanne Marie-Madeline took over most of his duties at St Etienne-du-Mont
  • Died in Paris, France, on June 16, 1986
  • 1924-76 he composed music for the organ, piano, orchestra, and choir. His organ works include transcriptions of improvisations of Vierne. His works are mostly based off of plainsong and chant. His most famous are his Suite op. 5 for organ and Prelude and Fugue on the name Alain Op. 7.


Maurice Duruflé, French composer and organist, had many experiences that marked his musical education. At age ten his father brought him to Rouen and enrolled him in the boychoir school. His experiences singing in the great Cathedral there were to influence him throughout the rest of his life. When older, Duruflé moved to Paris and took lessons from Vierne while also acting as an assistant organist to Tournemire at Saint-Clotilde. He studied at the Paris Conservatory with Gigout, and was educated in composition under Paul Dukas. In 1930, Duruflé was appointed organist at St. Etienne-du-Mont, Paris. In 1943 returned to the Paris Conservatory, this time as a faculty member.

Duruflé's six organ works have all become staples in modern concert repertory. Large in scale, they are intended for concert, rather than liturgical use. They are neo-classic in style, with strong Gregorian chant influences. His pieces are characterized by clear forms coupled with traditional counterpoint. Their beauty stems from their full, romantic harmonies.

Points of Interest

  • Duruflé thought it was just a visit that took him and his father to Rouen when he was ten years old. He had no idea he would be staying behind until that evening, when his father announced that he was leaving and young Maurice would not be going with him.
  • Duruflè won first prize in virtually all of his collegiate subjects, including organ, harmony, counterpoint and fugue, accompaniment, and composition.
  • He met his wife Marie-Madeleine Chevalier while a professor at the Paris Conservatory. She was a bright organ student, twenty years younger than he was. They were married in 1953.
  • Both Duruflè and his wife were injured in an automobile accident in 1975. Madame Duruflè was eventually able to play again, but Monsieur Duruflè was not.


  • Prèlude, Adagio et Choral Variè sur le Veni Creator
  • Prèlude sur l'Introït de l'Epiphanie
  • Fugue sur le callion des heures de la cathédrale de Soissons
  • Scherzo
  • Prèlude et Fugue sur le nom d'Alain
  • Suite (prèlude, sicilienne, toccata)

For details, see the Wikipedia article on Maurice Duruflé].

List of Organ Works[edit]

Click to sort by opus number, title, or year of composition or publication
Opus Title Year
Op. 2 "Scherzo" 1926
Op. 4 "Prélude, adagio et choral varié sur le theme du 'Veni Creator'" 1930
Op. 5 "Suite" 1932
Op. 7 ''Prélude et fugue sur le nom d'Alain'' 1942
Op. 13 ''Prélude sur l'introït de l'epiphanie'' 1961
Op. 12 "Fugue sur le thème du Carillon des Heures de la Cathédrale de Soissons" 1962
Op. posth. "Méditation" 1964

I- I Op. Unpublished II "Lecture à vue" II I- I Op. Unpublished II "Fugue" II I- I Op. Unpublished II "Lux aeterna" II

Background and General Perspectives on Performing Duruflé Organ Works[edit]

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Registration and Organs[edit]

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See the footnote in the "Notes" section at the bottom of the page[1]

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Articulation and Phrasing[edit]

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Scores and Editions[edit]

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Free Online[edit]

  • Suite Op. 5 -Toccata [1]
  • Prélude et Fugue sur le nom d'Alain Op. 7 [2]
  • Prélude, adagio et choral varié sur le theme du 'Veni Creator' [3]

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  1. This footnote was entered in the "Registration and Organs" section

This space is for automatic insertion of footnotes. To enter a footnote from anywhere in the article, start by typing the tag <ref> and then enter the text, and type the tag </ref> to end the footnote. The footnote will then appear in this "Notes" section automatically.