Marcel Landowski

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Marcel François Paul Landowski (18 February 1915 – 23 December 1999) was a French composer, biographer and arts administrator.

Born at Pont-l'Abbé, Finistère, Brittany, he was the son of French sculptor Paul Landowski and great-grandson of the composer Henri Vieuxtemps.

As an infant he showed early musical promise, and studied piano under Marguerite Long. He entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1935; in addition one of his teachers was Pierre Monteux.

Landowski's greatest musical influence was Arthur Honegger. His entire output (including five symphonies, several concertos, operas and a Mass) bears testimony to Honegger's impact. Landowski went on to write a biography of his mentor.

Between the 1940s and the 1960s, Landowski composed the scores for several dozen films, most notably Gigi (1949).

Landowski eschewed the avant-garde approaches to music of his contemporaries, preferring a more conservative style. In 1966, France's Cultural Affairs minister André Malraux appointed Landowski as the ministry's director of music, a controversial appointment made in the teeth of opposition from the then ascendant modernists, led by Pierre Boulez.[1]

One of his first acts was the establishment, in 1967, of the Orchestre de Paris. He also championed France's regional orchestras at a time when interest in them appeared to be waning.[2]

He died in hospital in Paris in 1999, aged 84.

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