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Indy, Vincent d', 1851-1931



  • Existence: March 27, 1851 - December 2, 1931


d’Indy’s musical career began as a member of Cesar Franck’s organ studio at the Paris Conservatory. In addition to organ, he rigorously studied composition. The ten year period immediately following his graduation in 1875 was spent working for Edouard Colonne’s orchestra. Starting out as a timpanist, d’Indy eventually rose to the post of choir master, an experience that would prove crucial to his compositional success, as demonstrated in 1885 when his cantata Le chant de la cloche won the Grand Prix de la Ville de Paris. Two years later Symphonie sur un chant montagnard français received its première, the work that remains his most popular today. d’Indy continued to compose throughout the rest of his life. In addition to composition, he achieved international acclaim with his group Schola Cantorum, an ensemble dedicated to reviving forgotten medieval music. However, what started out as a performance ensemble, would eventually grow into something more.

In 1892 d’Indy sat on a state commission to propose reforms to the Paris Conservatoire’s curriculum. For the commission, d’Indy created a report in which he highlighted all of the changes he though crucial to the continued success of the school, but his report was rejected. In response, he turned down a teaching position at the conservatory, and began teaching composition at the Schola Cantorum. These lessons were highly controversial amongst the music pedagogues of the time, but they did result in such success stories as composers: Roussel, Satie, and Varèse. These composition lessons were eventually compiled in Cours de composition musicale, and they were known to have been employed by Messiaen at the Conservatoire and by Villa-Lobos in Brazil. In 1905 he published his biography of Franck. In 1908 he began work on his third music drama, La légende de Saint-ChristopheI, a work that hoped to serve as a proponent to catholic regionalism in opposition to the liberal democracy and capitalist ideals that were becoming ever more present in Parisian politics.