Marcel Grandjany

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Marcel Georges Lucien Grandjany (gran-zhah-NEE) (September 3, 1891 – February 24, 1975)[1] was a French-born American harpist and composer.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Marcel Grandjany was born on September 3, 1891. He began the study of the harp at the age of eight with Henriette Renié. At age eleven, he was admitted to the Conservatoire de Paris, where he also studied with Alphonse Hasselmans, winning the coveted Premier Prix at age thirteen.

Career[edit]

At seventeen he made his debut with the Concerts Lamoureux Orchestra, and gave his first solo recital, winning immediate acclaim. He appeared with Maurice Ravel in Paris in 1913. His London debut was in 1922 and his New York debut in 1924. He appeared as soloist with major orchestras under the direction of Gabriel Pierné, Alfred Cortot, Walter Damrosch, Serge Koussevitzky, George Szell, Fritz Reiner and Vladimir Golschmann, among others.

From 1921 to 1926, he headed the harp department of the Fontainebleau Summer School. He moved to the United States in 1926 and was appointed head of the Harp Department at the Juilliard School in 1938, where he taught until his death in 1975, with the exception of several years during the 1940s when he was on the faculty of the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal. He also taught at the Manhattan School of Music from 1956 to 1967. Notable students include American harpists Nancy Allen , Emily L. Oppenheimer and Eileen Malone. He also taught Anna Clark, the second wife of William A. Clark; she was also his patron.[2]

At the First International Harp Contest in Israel in 1959, Pierre Jamet of France proposed the formation of an international association of harpists. Grandjany undertook to see what he could do in the United States and chaired a committee of leading harpists. The Founding Committee met for the first time on December 3, 1962 in his apartment at 235 W. 71 St, Apartment 32. Over the years, he was a member of the Board of Directors, Regional Director, Chapter Chairman and President of the New York Chapter. He generously performed at AHS conferences; in 1964 at the first conference and in 1967, a solo recital which was his last public performance. He supported the educational goals of the Society vigorously and delighted in the American Harp Society's growth and community.

Death[edit]

He died on February 24, 1975.

Selected works[edit]

Concertante
  • Rhapsodie on a Theme of a Gregorian Easter Chant for harp and orchestra (flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and strings), Op. 10 (1921)
  • Aria in Classic Style for harp and organ (or orchestra), Op. 19
  • Poème symphonique for harp, horn and orchestra
Harp
  • Trois petites pièces très faciles (3 Very Easy Little Pieces), Op. 7
  1. Rêverie
  2. Nocturne
  3. Barcarolle
  • Dans la forêt du charme et de l'enchantement, Conte de fée (Fairy Tale), Op. 11 (1922)
  • Pièce romantique for piano, Op. 15
  • Les enfants jouent (Children at Play), Op. 16
  • Souvenirs, Poème, Op. 17
  • Variation on the Londonderry Air, Op. 20
  • Bagatelles, Op. 22
  • Old Chinese Song, Op. 23
  • Noël provençal, Op. 24
  • Children's Hour, Suite, Op. 25
  • Two Duets for 2 harps, Op. 26
  1. Sally and Dinny Duet
  2. Eleanor and Marcia Duet
  • Harp Album, Op. 27
  1. Greetings
  2. Zephyr
  3. In Dancing Mood
  4. A Butterfly
  5. Deep River Interlude for 3 harps
  6. The Pageant Begins
  7. On a Western Ranch
  8. Through the Meadows
  • The Colorado Trail, Fantaisie, Op. 28
  • Divertissement, Op. 29
  1. Canon
  2. Fughetta
  3. Final
  • Fantaisie sur un thème de J. Haydn, Op. 31 (1958)
  • Frère Jacques, Fantaisie, Op. 32
  • The Erie Canal, Fantasy, Op. 38
  • Fileuse, Op. 39
  • Les cerisiers en fleurs (Cherry Blossoms), Op. 41
  • Arabesque pour harpe sans pédales, No. 1 from Trois pièces pour le piano
  • Automne, Pièce pour harpe (1927)
  • Deux chansons populaires françaises, Easy Pieces
  1. Le bon petit roi d'Yvetôt
  2. Et ron ron ron, petit patapon
  • 4 Études
  1. Legato
  2. Phrasing
  3. 4th Finger
  4. Rhythm
  • Impromptu pour harpe sans pédales, No. 3 from Trois pièces pour le piano
  • Les agneaux dansent (Dancing Lambs) for harp with or without pedals
  • Little Harp Book, 8 Easy Solos for harp with or without pedals
  • Pastorale pour harpe sans pédales, No. 2 from Trois pièces pour le piano
  • Petite suite classique
  1. Joyful Overture: In the Style of Purcell
  2. Gigue: Remembrance of Kuhnau
  3. Gavotte: Reverence to Lully
  4. Siciliana: Aeolian Mode
  5. Passepied: Homage to the Couperins
  6. Bourrée: In the Style of Handel
  • 3 Préludes
  • Trois pièces faciles (3 Easy Pieces)
  • Variations on a Prelude of J.S. Bach (1965?); after BWV 872a
Transcriptions for harp solo
Vocal
  • O bien aimée for voice (or melody instrument) and harp; words by Paul Verlaine

References[edit]

  1. ^ American Harp Society
  2. ^ Bill Dedman, Paul Clark Newell, Jr., Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Loss of one of the World's Greatest Fortunes, London: Atlantic Books, 2013, p. 154