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Louis Diémer


1843 - 1919

Composer, Pianist

Date of birth:
Date of death:

Diémer studied at the Paris Conservatoire, where his teachers were Marmontel (piano), Benoist (organ), Bazin (harmony) and Ambroise Thomas (composition). Obliged to earn a living, however, he was unable to prepare for the Prix de Rome. He taught piano from 1861, and from 1863 toured as a pianist all over France. His reputation soon spread abroad and several composers dedicated works to him, including César Franck (Variations symphoniques) and Saint-Saëns (Fifth Piano Concerto). In 1887 Diémer succeeded Marmontel as professor of piano at the Paris Conservatoire, where his pupils included Alfred Cortot, Lazare Lévy, Yves Nat, Robert and Gaby Casadesus, and Marcel Ciampi. He was the author, with Lazare Lévy and Victor Staub, of a Méthode supérieure de piano, and he composed many pieces for his instrument, as well as chamber music, a piano concerto, a Konzertstück for piano and orchestra and another one for violin and orchestra. He also played an important part in the rediscovery of period instruments and early music, often giving recitals on the harpsichord. At the Exposition Universelle of 1889 he gave several performances on “modern” harpsichords by Pleyel and a period instrument by Taskin, and two years later he gave a recital devoted entirely to works by Couperin and Rameau. He was a co-founder of the Société des Instruments Anciens, and took part in the sessions that d'Indy and Bordes devoted to Renaissance and Baroque music. He also edited and revised harpsichord works, which were published by Durand.