Born in Boulogne-sur-Mer 12/3/1837. Died in Meudon 29/3/1911.
Born in an organ-builder / organist family, he took the place of his father with the post of titular organist of St-Nicolas church in his home town. He studied with Lemmens in Brussels in 1860 who let him make practice of Bach organ works as Hesse did with Lemmens.
Gone up to Paris, he succeeded Alexis Chauvet, titular organist of La Trinite church in 1871 (Cavaille-Coll organ inaugurated in 1869). His activity varies from composing, teaching to performing. His numerous production for the organ shows well how he treated an symphonic organ with his virtuosity which attracted always Aristide Cavaille-Coll who often confided him the inauguration of important organs not only in Paris but also in the region. As the professor of the organ class of Paris Conservatory (nomination in 1896) and one of the founders of la Schola Cantorum (1894), he formed lots of organists such as Joseph Bonnet, Ermend-Bonnal, Augustin Varie, Marcel Dupre etc. As organ virtuoso his fame doesn't limit in France.
One mustn't forget his contribution to the classic repertory of organ music. With his master Lemmens, he played an important role of discovery of Bach in France. He edited many compositions by old masters and played them in his concert.
Being Symphonist, he is said to open the way to the neo-classic organ building.
He made friends with Victor Mustel as well as Cavaille-Coll. This builder of Orgue-Expressif invented the Sostenuto keyboard which Guilmant appreciated much.
A series of his production to the Art Harmonium of Mustel, are regarded as one of the finest examples to show the great potential of this instrument.
resume of the article by Francois Sabatier in "Guide de La Musique d'Orgue (p.428-429)"
Last modified : 15/9/1998
by Shoichiro TOYAMA Mr.