The Great Organ of Notre-Dame de Paris: Evolution From Its Origin (18th century) Until Today

Bertrand Cattiaux

Monday, June 20, 10 AM

Since its construction in 1730 by François Thiery, the Great Organ of Notre-Dame de Paris has continually evolved. The Notre-Dame organ builders throughout the various eras of changing musical tastes include: François-Henry Clicquot (1783), Pierre-François Dallery (1812), Louis-Paul Dallery (1838), Aristide Cavaillé-Coll (1868 and 1894), Charles Mutin (1904), Joseph Beuchet (1932), Jean Hermann (1963), Robert Boisseau (1966), Jean-Loup Boisseau and Bertrand Cattiaux (1992), and most recently Pascal Quoirin and Bertrand Cattiaux (2014).

This lecture-presentation will cover (from an organbuilder’s perspective) the changes realized throughout the centuries to the Great Organ. Historical documents, photographs, videos, and musical examples will enhance the text of the lecture.

Bertrand Cattiaux was born in 1955 near Paris. At age fourteen, he discovered the interior of the organ at the Eglise Notre-Dame d’Etampes, in his native town. Fascinated by this instrument, he decided to become an organbuilder on the spot. After completing his secondary studies, he began his organbuilding work with Jean-Loup Boisseau. During their twenty-year association, they restored and/or built instruments from the 16th to the 20th centuries, including some of the most prestigious organs in France : St-Sernin de Toulouse, Cathédrale St-Pierre de Poitiers, Chapelle Royale de Versailles, and Notre-Dame de Paris. Renowned organists such as Pierre Cochereau and Jean Boyer helped guide Bertrand Cattiaux’s musical tastes and artistic development. In 1998, Cattiaux moved his shop to southwestern France. Accompanied by his team of highly talented artisans, he practices the art of building and restoring organs in the true French style. He is particularly known and sought after for his skills as a voicer and finisher. Bertrand Cattiaux has been awarded Officier des Arts et Lettres and is a Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite.