Claude Delvincourt

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Claude Delvincourt in 1935

Claude Delvincourt (12 January 1888 – 5 April 1954) was a French pianist and composer of classical music.


Delvincourt was born in Paris, the son of Pierre Delvincourt and Marguerite Fourès.

He studied at the Paris Conservatoire, first under Leon Boëllmann, then under the centenarian Henri Büsser. Also, he was taught counterpoint and fugue by Georges Caussade and composition by Charles-Marie Widor. A Prix de Rome winner in 1910 and again in 1913 (on the latter occasion he shared the award with Lili Boulanger), he was appointed Director of Conservatoire at Versailles in 1932 and Director of the Paris Conservatoire in 1940, following the resignation of Henri Rabaud.[1]

During the German occupation of France, Delvincourt was forced to apply the racial laws of the Vichy government to the Paris Conservatoire, excluding Jewish professors and students.[2] But he managed, with the help of his former teacher's niece Marie-Louise Boëllmann, to prevent numerous students from being compelled to join the STO (law of 16 February 1943). He gathered the young musicians in the Orchestre des Cadets du Conservatoire and convinced the German authorities that they were doing their duties by this method. Meanwhile Delvincourt joined the Front National des Musiciens. Furthermore, he "did all he could to protect his flock, never asking for papers and always trying to hide illegal students.",[3] succeeded in saving many students and was threatened by the Gestapo. He was forced to disappear until the end of the Military occupation.

He died, still Conservatoire director, on April 5, 1954, from injuries he incurred in a car accident on a road in Orbetello, Italy. The great organist Marcel Dupré succeeded him in the directorship.


  1. ^ Demuth, Norman (June 1954). "Claude Delvincourt". Musical Times 95 (1336): 330
  2. ^ Schnapper-Flender, Laure (July 1999). "La vie musicale sous l'Occupation". Vingtième Siècle. Revue d'histoire 63: 142
  3. ^ Rampal, Jean-Pierre (1989). "Music, My Love". Chapter 4: Music by Default : page 43

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