Félix-Alexandre Guilmant (12 March 1837 – 29 March 1911) was a French organist and composer. He was the organist of La Trinité from 1871 until 1901. A noted pedagogue, performer, and improviser, Guilmant helped found the Schola Cantorum in Paris. He was appointed as Professor of Organ at the Paris Conservatoire in 1896.
He was born in Boulogne-sur-Mer. A student of his father, then of the Belgian master Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens, he became an organist and teacher in his place of birth.
In 1871 he was appointed to play the organ regularly at la Trinité church in Paris, and this position he held for 30 years.Guilmant was known for his improvisations, both in the concert and church setting. His inspiration came from gregorian chants, and he was greatly noted amongst his colleagues for his mastery of the melodies. From then on, Guilmant followed a career as a virtuoso; he gave concerts in the United States (the first major French organist to tour that country), and in Canada, as well as in Europe, making especially frequent visits to England. His American achievements included a 1904 series of no fewer than 40 recitals on the largest organ in the world, the St. Louis Exposition Organ.
In 1894 Guilmant founded the Schola
Cantorum with Charles Bordes and Vincent d'Indy. He taught there up until his death at his home in Meudon, near Paris, in 1911. In addition, he taught at the Conservatoire de Paris where he succeeded Charles-Marie Widor as organ teacher in 1896. As a teacher, Guilmant was noted for his kindness and attention to detail.
About a year ago I decided to do ALL the Guilmant Noëls. This interest lasted a few days, and although I gave it up, I discovered yesterday that I had recorded all of the First Book, except for Offertoire, No. 3, which I will record. I've tried to follow Guilmant's exact direction, and I think they sound very "pure and rustic" on this organ.
The score is attached, as well as the MIDI, and photos of interest.