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 includes five symphonies, several concertos (notably two for piano and one each for bassoon, for cello, for flute, for trumpet, for trombone), operas as well as a Mass and 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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