Jef Le Penven

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Jef Le Penven (3 November 1919 - 30 April 1967) was a French composer, born in Pontivy, Morbihan, Brittany.

Le Penven was the twelfth child of a family of cabinet makers. He was brought up in an atmosphere of traditional vernacular music, learning to play the bombard (Breton oboe) as a child. He studied at the Schola Cantorum in Paris, working with Marcel Dupré.[1]

In 1940, he became the conductor or the Orchestre de Bretagne.

Le Penven's music expresses his attachment to Brittany and Celtic culture. He attempts to integrate traditional and symphonic music. His major works use conventional symphonic and choral forms but typically include bagpipe music.

Le Penven was also well known for his organ improvisations, of which he was a virtuoso.[1]

His setting of the poem Me zo ganet e kreiz ar mor by Yann-Ber Kalloc'h has been interpreted by a number of Breton musicians including Gilles Servat and Alan Stivell.


  • Tir Na Nog, La Marche des Bretons
  • Les Celtes
  • Cantate du Bout du Monde
  • Symphonie du Morbihan


  1. ^ a b Vefa de Bellaing, Jef Le Penven, Coop Breizh, 1999.