Louis Courtinat (1908 - 1992)

Louis Courtinat
(1908 - 1992)  was born in Neuilly le Réal (Allier) France where he started with an Eb alto saxhorn in the village brass band led by his father. In 1925, he entered the School of Music in Moulins, where  received his first Prix de Cor. Living near Vichy, he was fortunate to meet the musicians performing for the season at the Casino, including the famous Maxime-Alphonse and Edouard Vuillermoz. In 1926 he was admitted to the Paris Conservatory, first out of 26 candidates. He won the 1st Prize in 1932, after a leave in 1930 and 31 for his military service. Meanwhile, he toured with l’Orchestre Symphonique de Paris in France and abroad, which was rare at the time. Having heard orchestras abroad - especially in Germany - he admired the ease and safety of horn players and the possibilities offered by their instruments.

He was a member of orchestras of the Paramount and Gaumont Palace cinemas, Theatre Marigny, and Theatre du Chatelet for four years and a season at Vichy.  With the founding of  l’Orchestre National in 1934 he started as fourth horn, then as Cor Solo in 1935, replacing Robert Blot who was appointed to the l’Opera.

M. Courtinat was also a facilitator of the formation of the wind quintet with soloists of the l’Orchestre National: The quintet played several hundred concerts around the world and won the Prix du Disque twice.   He was the first French player to use a “German-style“ horn in 1931. In 1934, the whole section of l’Orchestre National adopted this instriument, which raised a deep controversy for many years. Around 1950, he became President of l’Orchestre National.

Louis Courtinat  taught at  l'Ecole de Musique de Bourges for five years and at l’Ecole Nationale d'Orleans from 1943 to 1951. He was professor and advisor for chamber music wind instruments to the Summer Academies of Bayreuth and Salzburg. Lecturer for two years at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris . He often participated on panels, at the CNSM Paris, in the recruitment of players in orchestras and international competitions at Ancône, Munich, Prague, not only to judge horn players but other soloists and conductors. He participated 22 times in Concours International de Jeunes Chefs d’Orchestre de Besançon.  From 1960 to his retirement, he was director of the National Radio orchestras. He retired in Besançon, where he died at age 84 on November 27, 1992 



 Send eMail to Dick Martz
Contents of this site and all original photographs copyright 1999-2011, Richard J.Martz
All rights reserved.