André Isoir, born at Saint-Dizier, studied music at the École César Franck, where his teachers included Édouard Souberbielle for the organ and Germaine Mounier for the piano. He then entered Rolande Falcinelli’s class at the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Paris, where in 1960 he was awarded the premier prix for organ and improvisation by unanimous decision of the jury.
He subsequently won a number of international competitions, first St Albans in the UK, where he obtained first prize in 1965, then Haarlem (Holland) where he won three years in a row (1966-67- 68), thus obtaining the ‘Challenge Prize’. He is still today the only Frenchman to have achieved this distinction since the competition was founded in 1951. He has made some sixty recordings, which gained him eight grands prix du Disque between 1972 and 1991, as well as the Prix du Président de la République for his anthology of French organ music ‘Le Livre d’Or de l’Orgue Français’.
André Isoir’s musical culture is complemented by an in-depth knowledge of instrument building; in his opinion this contributes to a more stylish approach to the various repertoires, in terms of both technique and registration.
He is organist emeritus of the church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris, Chevalier des Arts et Lettres and Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite.
“When you go into a church and see those great metal pipes gleaming in the shadows, and then imagine one man making all of that work, you really want to be that man yourself. You have to admit that the organ is an instrument you get attached to.” André Isoir