The Great Organ Cavaillé-Coll

Organiste titulaire: Olivier Penin

Born in 1981, Olivier Penin began playing the piano at the age of five and in 1987 he joined the Schola Cantorum in Caen. In 1996, he started to work with David Noël-Hudson, a cooperation which lasted almost ten years. With the latter, he was unanimously awarded a premier prix as well a prize for perfection for which he was unanimously nominated. In addition, he worked with Ronan Maillard for composition and from 2006 onwards with Jacques Taddei for improvisation. In 2009, he won the Bettencourt-Schueller Prize with the vocal ensemble Aedes.

In 2004, he was appointed co-titular organist of the basilica Sainte Clotilde in Paris. He is in charge of the religious music and the choice of the programs in the basilica. In addition, he arranges and compose. His works include Dichotomy, which was premiered on the radio in 2006, and the mass of Sainte Clotilde, created for the 150th birthday of the basilica.

He became the only titular organist of the great organ of the basilica in 2012 and created an international series, a masterclass which attracts pupils from all over the world. He made numerous videos on his organ which generated more than 250 000 views.

In 2013, he recorded a CD Hommage aux maîtres de Sainte Clotilde for the label Festivo, which received four stars from the Choir and organ magazine. The specialized press praised his technical qualities and the “bubble of champagne”, ”the poetry” and the “pure French spirit” of his performances (De Orgelvriend), but also the “truthfulness of its rubato” (Orgelnieuws), his freedom in the agogic as well as his interpretation, called “very souple with fantasy and expression” (La Tribune de l’orgue)…
In 2016, he recorded with the ensemble Basilica A tribute to César Franck with the three chorals for organ and choral works of Franck and two creations of Stephane Delplace. Among the good reviews, there is one who compared him to Riccardo Chailly in his recording of the symphonies of Malher (Orgelnieuws).

His concert career can be characterized as eclectic. This is firstly shown in the choice of the works he plays: he offers a variety of programs with works of baroque composers as well as romantic and contemporary compositions. In 2008, he created Source of Pierre-Adrien Charpy with the ensemble O’Trente, Les larmes de la penitence of Olivier Schmidt with the choir of Saint Denis and Heracles of Kevin Robin.
He is also eclectic in the wide range of different groups he is working with. He was invited by various orchestras (Orchestre Lamoureux, Orchestre Colonne, Orchestre de Chambre de La Haye…) to interpret several masterpieces for organ and orchestra (Poulenc’s concerto, Händel‘s Concerti, the organ symphony n°3 of Saint-Saëns…).

He also likes to work with choirs. With Marc Korovitch, he created the ensemble Basilica: a professional group dedicated to perform music for organ and choir. He gave concerts with other famous choir like the vocal ensemble Aedes (Directed by Mathieu Romano), the Maîtrise de Paris (Directed by P. Marco) and the Academy of vocal arts...

He performed for radio, both as a soloist and with other musicians and was invited to play in many countries in Europe (France, Holland, Slovenia, Germany…), the U.S.A., Mexico, Japan, Russia. In addition, he was also member of the jury of several international competitions.

Former organists

César Franck, 1859/63-1890 (1).
Deputy:
Gabriel Pierne, 1885-1890.

Gabriel Pierne, 1890-1898.
Deputy:
George Mac-Master 1893-1894

Charles Tournemire, 1898-1939.
Deputies:
Joseph Ermend Bonnal, ca 1910
Roger Stiegler, ca 1920
Maurice Duruflé, 1920-1927
André Fleury, ca 1922-ca 1930
Daniel Lesur, 1927-1936
Henriette Puig-Roget, 1929
Antoine Reboulot, ca 1935
Bernard Piché, 1938-1939
Bernard Schulé, 1938-1945

Joseph Ermend Bonnal, 1941-1944
Deputy:
Bernard Schulé, 1942-1945

Jean Langlais, 1945-1987
Deputies:
Pierre Denis, 1945-1972
Pierre Cogon, 1972-1975

Jean Langlais and Pierre Cogen, 1976-1987
Deputy:
Marie-Louise Jaquet-Langlais, 1979-1987

Pierre Cogen and Jacques Taddei, 1988-1993

Jacques Taddei, 1994-2012

Jacques Taddei and Olivier Penin, 2004-2012

Olivier Penin (starting 2012).
Deputy:
Nicolas Pichon (starting 2013)

Source:
La tradition musicale de la basilique Sainte-Clotilde de Paris L’Orgue n° 278-279 (2007/II-III) 163-176 ISSN 0030-5170

(1) in contrast with what is generally stated, Helga Schauerte argues that Franck was officially appointed as organiste titulaire in fall 1863 instead of 1859 (Helga Schauerte-Maubouet Théodore Dubois et César Franck à Sainte-Clotilde in: La tradition musicale de la basilique Sainte-Clotilde de Paris L’Orgue n° 278-279 (2007/II-III) 7-14 ISSN 0030-5170).César Franck was appointed as organiste titulaire in 1864 instead of 1859.

'Organistes accompagnateurs'

Théodroe Dubois, 1857-1863
Stéphane Gaurion, 1863 (?)-1869
Samuel Rousseau, 1870-1878 (suppléant: Guillaume Couture)
? (Suppléant: Dynam-Victor Fumet), 1879-1887
Clotaire-Joseph Franck, 1888-1890 (?)
Léon Cazajus (Suppléant: Émile Poillot), 1891-1923
Pierre Besson, 1923- ca 1964
Francois Tricot, ca 1964-1987
Yves Castagnet, 1987-1988
Phillipe Brandeis, 1988-1989
Pierre-Michel Bédard, 1989-1993
Sylvie Mallet, 1993-2003
Since 2004, there is no organiste accompagnateur anymore (and no orgue de choeur either).

Source:
La tradition musicale de la basilique Sainte-Clotilde de Paris L’Orgue n° 278-279 (2007/II-III) 163-176 ISSN 0030-5170

Statue of César Franck at Square Samuel-Rousseau