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Jean Martinon Edit Profile

composer , conductor

Jean Martinon, French conductor, composer. Decorated rosette Legion of Honor (France); Grand prize City Paris, 1943; Bela Bartok prize, Budapest, Hungary, 1948; Arts and Literature award Ministere Beaux-Arts, 1960; Mahler medal, 1967. Lion. Club: Alpin Francais Paris-Chamonix.


Martinon was born in Lyon, where he began his education, going on to the Conservatoire de Paris to study under Albert Roussel for composition, under Charles Munch and Roger Désormière for conducting, under Vincent d'Indy for harmony, and under Jules Boucherit for violin.


Student Lycee du Parc, Lyon, 1918-1925, National Music Conservatory of Lyon, 1924-1925, National Music Conservatory of Paris, 1926-1929. 1 son by previous marriage, Francois.


He served in the French army during World War II, and was taken prisoner in 1940, composing works such as Chant des captifs while incarcerated. Among his other compositions are four symphonies, four concertos, additional choral works and chamber music. After the war, Martinon was appointed conductor of the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire of Paris, and, in 1946, of the Bordeaux Philharmonic Orchestra.

Other orchestras with which he was associated were the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as music director from 1963 to 1968. The Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, the French National Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Radio Éireann Symphony Orchestra, the Concerts Lamoureux and Het Residentie Orkest in The Hague. Martinon's repertoire focused on the works of early twentieth century French and Russian composers.

The premieres of his violin- and cello-concerti were given by Henryk Szeryng and Pierre Fournier respectively. He was a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity. Martinon was diagnosed with bone cancer, not long after he guest conducted the San Francisco Symphony in their first complete performances of Deryck Cooke's orchestration of Gustav Mahler's tenth symphony.

He died in Paris.


  • Other Work

    • Composer numerous works among them Symphony Northern 2 (Hymne a la Vie), 1944. Psaume 136 for soloists, chorus and large orchestra. Symphony Northern 3 (Irish Symphony), 1948.

      Due for Violin and Piano, 1953. Sonatines Northern 5 and 6 for Solo Violin. Opera Hecube, 1949 (first performed Theatre de Strasbourg 1956).

      Violin Concerto Northern 2 for Violin and Orchestra, Operation 51. Oratorio, Song of Songs, 1952. Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra, 1964.

      Symphony Northern 4 Altitudes, 1965. Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, 1971. Virgintuor, Octuor, Rhapsody for viola and piano.


Club: Alpin Francais Paris-Chamonix.


Married second, Nery Perez, 1956. Children: Daniel, Jean Paul.

Pierre Martinon

Jeanne (Bidal) Martinon

Nery Perez

Daniel Martinon

Jean Paul Martinon