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André (1933 - 2012)
trompettiste de notre
Latest: Maurice André died on February 25, 2012 (close to midnight, 23:45, at the hospital of Bayonne at the Pyrénées-Atlantiques).
Maurice André was born on May 21, 1933, into a miner's family in Ales in the Cevennes. His father was an amateur trumpet player and a great music lover. He played in the small villages and one day he came back with an old cornet. Maurice who then was 12 ½ years old had done his solfeggio for two years. He fell in love with the instrument:
His father also did a great thing when he sent Maurice to study with a friend of his, Monsieur Leon Barthélémy who had studied at the Paris Conservatory under Professor Merri Franquin (1848-1934).
had to buy method books like Arban and as he says:
Paris Conservatory (1951 - 1953)
After 4 years study, Barthélémy told his father that he had to get Maurice, who then was working in the mine, to Paris to study at the Conservatory. But being a miner he could not afford that. Then Barthélémy got the idea that Maurice should try to become a member of a military band. Soon after, Maurice was in Mont-Valerien with the 8th regiment. At the Conservatory you could get a free place as member of a military band. At 18, in 1951, Maurice left the mine and entered the Paris Conservatory in the class of Professor Raymond Sabarich (1909-1966).
On photos from that time one can see Maurice in the trumpet class in a military uniform.
It was not an easy time in Paris without any money, a son of a miner. He always ate at the barracks, and studied in the barracks too. Raymond Sabarich soon discovered that this young miner was a great talent and he gave Maurice a "lesson" that he recall in this way in an interview:
3 months after my arrival in Paris, a good lad from the south and all that, Sabarich gave me a real piece of his mind. He had felt straight away that I was gifted, as is said, and so he loaded me with work… and I didn't deliver the goods as he wished. After 3 months he threw abuse at me and chucked me out of the class. Before his death - poor man - Sabarich always said: "lt's when Maurice André woke up.'' How a good scolding does one good occasionally !After 3 months with a lot of practice, Maurice returned and played all the 14 etudes from Arban (in the back of the book) without making any mistakes. After only 6 months of work in Paris, studying the cornet, he won the first prize (1952). The next year (1953), he won the first prize for trumpet.
In 1955 he won the first prize at the Geneva International Competition. In 1963 when he was 30 years old he was asked to become a member of the jury in the "Internationalen Wettbewerb in München". He then discovered that he could take part in the competition and he did and won the first prize.
André played in major French orchestras such as Philharmonique del la R.T.F (the Paris Radio Orchestra) (1953 -1962), Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux (1953 -1960), and the orchestra of the Opéra-Comique in Paris (1962 -1967). He also played in smaller more jazz-oriented groups.
The prize in 1963 was the start of his solo career.
A very important person for his solo career was a girl he met in Montreux in Suisse, Liliane. 6 months after they met, they got married.
Liliane saw the potential he had and became his manager and companion on his tours. When Maurice started out as a soloist there were very little music for trumpet and the trumpet was not considered a solo instrument like the violin, oboe and some of the other instruments. To add to the repertoire, Maurice transcribed solo concerts for violin, oboe and other instruments. He also started using the piccolo trumpet. Today there are more than 130 transcriptions for the piccolo trumpet and some of the pieces, like the Tartini Concerto in D major for Trumpet and Orchestra (originally for violin), transcribed by Jean Thilde is very popular and several trumpet artists are performing it now.
Maurice André has toured all over the world and played with a lot of the great conductors and great orchestras. In an interview 20 years ago (in 1978) he told Jean-Pierre Mathéz that he did 220 concerts that year and an average of 180 so that up to 1978 he must have done more than 2700 concerts.
The trumpet teacher
André succeeded his teacher Raymond Sabarich (who died in 1966) as a professor of trumpet at the Paris Conservatory in 1967. Like Sabarich he continued the class-teaching tradition of the Conservatory. About this tradition André said the following (see ITG Journal 1976 - Opinions of Contemporary European Trumpet Players) to a question from Norman E. Smith:
The recording artist
Composer and musician Jan Leontsky has written an article where he call Maurice André "the father of the piccolo trumpet" (le père de la trompette piccolo).
In 1959 the Selmer Company started
making a piccolo trumpet (with 3 valves). In the following
technical improvements came (a 4th valve added in 1967) in close
collaboration with Maurice André.
Trumpet artist and student of André, Guy Touvron has written a biography. Unfortunately the book is only in French.
In 2007, André told his memoirs to Thierry Martin. As with Touvrons book it is only in French.
Daily warm up
In Brass Bulletin, vol. 69, 1985, No. 4, page 70, there is a brief description of his warm up routine:
Morning (approx. 1 hour)
1) I waken up the muscles and the lips with buzzing exercises and with the mouthpiece alone, taking care to use no pressure on the lips (I don't worry about the sound at all!)
2) I move on to the instrument with scale and arpeggio exercises, still very lightly, without pressing and still without worrying about the sound.
3) I start chord arpeggios over again, but this time looking for good sound. I insist on flexibility, working as slowly as possible. Next I go on to wider and wider intervals (fourths, fifths, single, double and triple octaves), still very slow and pressing as little as possible.
4) I do no. 3) again staccato.
When that's done, I can go on (for however long it takes) to my concert programme. I also practise changing instruments and mouthpieces.
Every night, before going to bed, I conscientiously massage my lip muscles with butter, which is rich in vitamin E.
For me the main things in trumpet playing are looking for the right sound and a precise attack.