The same year, she was appointed titular organist at Saint-Esprit, a post she held for 29 years. From 1936-39, Demessieux studied organ privately with Marcel Dupré, whose organ class at the Conservatoire she joined in 1939. After receiving a first prize in organ performance and improvisation in 1941, Demessieux studied privately with Dupré in Meudon for five more years, before she played her début concert at Salle Pleyel in Paris in 1946. This was the beginning of her career as an international concert organist. Demessieux gave more than 700 concerts in France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, and the United States.
She had memorized more than 2,500 works, including the complete organ works of Bach, Franck, Liszt, and Mendelssohn, and all of Dupré's organ works up to Opus 41. A prolific recording artist, she was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque Award in 1960 for her complete recording of Franck's organ works (1958). In 1962, Demessieux was appointed as titular organist at La Madeleine in Paris. She combined this with demanding academic duties, serving as professor of organ both at the Nancy Conservatoire (1950–52) and later at the Conservatoire Royal in Liège (1952–68). In 1967, she signed a contract with Decca for a recording of the complete organ works by Olivier Messiaen, which was not realized due to her death the following year. Jeanne Demessieux died in Paris on 11 November 1968 from the effects of throat cancer.
A large crowd, including Marcel Dupré, attended her funeral at La Madeleine. The great organ remained silent, and a vast black drape hung from the gallery to the floor. Demessieux wrote more than 30 compositions. Many of these were written for the organ, but she also produced pieces for piano, fairly numerous songs, a handful of choral works (including an oratorio, "Chanson de Roland"), and orchestral works. About half of her output has been published to date.
The Dutch label Festivo has re-released on CD several of her LP recordings, including the above-mentioned 1958 recording of Franck's complete organ works. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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