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Biography

Marie-Claire Alain (August 10, 1926, Saint-Germain-en-Laye- February 26, 2013, Le Pecq) was a French organist best known for her prolific recording career. Her mastery of registrations, her scholarship in the history of performance practices on the organ, and her magisterial and nuanced playing mark her as one of the very finest players of the twentieth century. She had a phenomenal musical memory, and traveled on extended concert tours without the scores for the works she will be performing. Her interpretations, always in good taste, have nonetheless varied considerably during the successive stages of her career - she never considers any performance of any work her "final word" on that particular work.

She studied in the Paris Conservatory, in the organ classes of Marcel Dupré. She was awarded four first prizes.

She has recorded the complete works of J.S. Bach three separate times, and has also recorded the complete works of over a dozen other major composers for the organ, as well as many individual important works. Her records and CDs have achieved numerous accolades. She was one of the most influential teachers of the organ of all time.

She had a long association with the St Albans International Organ Festival.

Her father, Albert Alain (1880-1971), who studied with Alexandre Guilmant and Louis Vierne, was an organist and composer.

Her brother, Jehan Alain (February 3, 1911 - June 20, 1940) was a composer.

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