Year-In-Review: One of the Best Dies in 2012

With 2012 drawing to a close, I would like to remember one of the most notable of the 20th Century that passed on this past year.


Maurice André, soloist extraordinaire, died on Feb. 25 in Bayonne, in . He was 78. A coal miner during his teenage years, André also played cornet, following in his father’s footsteps. He always claimed that mining gave him the strength to play the trumpet so well. His family could not afford to send him to the , but by joining a military band outside of Paris, he was given free tuition. He graduated in 1953, going on to play in several orchestras in France.

In 1963, André won first prize in the Munich Competition on trumpet (this has been equaled only by Gómez-Limón of Spain in 2011 and of France in  2003). He went on to become a soloist and to star on many projects. He arranged numerous oboe, violin and flute pieces from the Baroque period, in addition to commisioning  original pieces by Henri Tomasi, André Jolivet, Boris Blacher, Antoine Tisné and Jean Langlais.

I will remember André mainly for his beautiful tone, stunning articulation, his legendary consistency and effortless high notes. He popularized higher-pitched instruments, such as the E-flat trumpet and  the piccolo trumpet (for most of his career, a Selmer instrument). The one time I met him in person (backstage after a concert), I was struck by his charming personality.