Jean Guillou

Jean Guillou, 2014.

Jean Victor Arthur Guillou (born April 18, 1930 in Angers) is a French composer, organist, pianist, and pedagogue.


Following autodidactic studies in piano and organ performance, Guillou became organist at the church St. Serge in Angers at the age of 12. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire under Marcel Dupré, Maurice Duruflé and Olivier Messiaen. In 1955, he accepted a position as professor of organ and composition at the Institute of Sacred Music in Lisbon. In 1958 he moved to Berlin, where he lived for the following five years. In 1963 he returned to Paris, having been appointed Titular Organist at Saint Eustache church in succession to André Marchal. Appointed Organiste Titulaire Emerite at St. Eustache in September 2014, Guillou completed 52 years as organist of that church in March 2015, when he was succeeded by two co-titulaires.[1]

He has a worldwide reputation as a concert organist and improviser. Additionally, he often performs as a pianist; for example, he gave the English and French premieres of Julius Reubke's neglected piano Sonata in B-flat minor.

Guillou's engagement in organ building led to collaborations with several organ builders and the construction of new instruments in l'Alpe d'Huez( F) (1978, Kleuker), in the Chant d'Oiseau church in Brussels (1981, Kleuker), in the Zürich's Tonhalle (1988, Kleuker-Steinmeyer) in the Conservatory of Naples (2006, Tamburini-Zanin) in the Auditorio de Tenerife (2005, Blancafort) and most recently in the San Antonio dei Portoghesi church in Rome (2008, Mascioni) and in the Cathedral of Leon in Spain (2013, Klais).

He has composed over 80 works - for organ, chamber and orchestral music - as well as numerous transcriptions for organ. In addition, he has issued more than 100 recordings (Philips, Dorian, Festivo, Decca, Augure among others) including the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach, César Franck, Robert Schumann, numerous historical improvisations (e.g., Visions Cosmiques - 1969), or Jeux d'orgue - 1970, both re-edited in 2010 by Universal-Decca), as well as most of his own organ compositions on a series of 7 CDs (2010) for the Universal Philips label.[1]

From 1970-2005, Guillou taught organ performance and improvisation at the annual Züricher Meisterkurse. Since 2007, these masterclasses have been held at St. Eustache in Paris, France. Among his former pupils : Bernhard Haas, Francesco Filidei, Yanka Hekimova, Livia Mazzanti, Leonid Karev and Zsuzsa Elekes. In July 2015 he was appointed Professor honoris causa at the Saar's Hochschule für Musik.


Organ solo

Organ with / and other instruments


Chamber music

Theater music/oratorio

Other without opus number

Transcriptions for organ


  1. 1 2 "Pipings", The American Organist (September, 2015), pp. 16-19


External links

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