Yvette Horner

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Yvette Horner, 1960

Yvette Horner (22 September 1922 – 11 June 2018) was a French accordionist known for performing with the Tour de France during the 1950s and 1960s.

Early life[edit]

She was born Yvette Hornère, in Tarbes. Her father Louis Hornère was a property developer. Yvette began musical training at age four by learning to play the piano, studying at the conservatoire in Tarbes and then Toulouse. She picked up the accordion at her mother's behest, after a vacation to Argelès-sur-Mer. Yvette later adopted the surname Horner, also at her mother's suggestion. Horner was raised in Tarbes, where her grandparents operated the Italianate Théatre Impérial.[1][2]


Horner won the Coupe mondiale (world cup) of the Confederation Internationale des Accordeonistes [fr] in 1948. She returned from Switzerland and played several gigs in cinemas and casinos. Four years after the competition, the company Calor invited her to perform in the publicity caravan associated with the Tour de France. Horner's husband, the footballer René Dresch, convinced her to accept the offer, and later ended his athletic career to support Horner's performances. Horner played her last Tour de France in 1965, and Dresch died in 1986.

Over the course of her career, Horner released over a hundred albums in a number of musical genres. She continued to make music throughout her later life. Performances included recording with Charlie McCoy, a 1994 appearance on Taratata alongside Boy George, and Maurice Béjart's version of The Nutcracker, first staged in 2000. Horner's memoirs were published in 2005.[1][2]

A public square in Tarbes was named for her. She was a Commander of the Legion of Honour, and a Commander of the National Order of Merit. She died at the age of 95 on 11 June 2018.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c Genzlinger, Neil (15 June 2018). "Yvette Horner, France's Star Accordionist, Is Dead at 95". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Fotheringham, William (17 June 2018). "Yvette Horner obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 June 2018.