Olivier Latry is one of the world’s foremost concert organists. The titular organist of Notre-Dame in Paris is a virtuoso in his field, an ingenious improviser and a master of organ registration. “A performer with boundless imagination”, he says, “orchestrates the music and explores its colours. In doing so, it is difficult to find the balance between your own emotions, the style and the composer’s message, which must not be altered.”
Olivier Latry was born in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, in 1962. After initial musical studies in his home town, he was accepted into Gaston Litaize’s organ class at the Conservatoire de Saint-Maur-des-Fossés in 1978, while also studying composition under Jean-Claude Raynaud at the Conservatoire de Paris. At 18, he became organist at the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne in Meaux, and at 23 he won the competition for one of the three titular organist posts at the famous organ of Notre-Dame de Paris – a post he still shares with colleagues Philippe Lefèbvre and Vincent Dubois. Olivier Latry taught at the Institut Catholique de Paris, and at the Conservatoire in Reims. In 1990, the musician, who regularly works with the leading orchestras and conductors, succeeded his teacher Gaston Litaize as professor at the Conservatoire de Saint-Maur-des-Fossés. Three years later, Latry was appointed to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, where he has since been training the next generation of international organists at the Cité de la Musique. His international career as a concert organist has taken him to more than 50 countries and five continents. Especially in the USA, Latry has toured regularly since his memorable performance in 1988 at the American Guild of Organists in Houston and is one of the most popular guest organists there. He sees himself as a virtuoso ambassador of French organ music from the 17th to the 20th century, while also devoting himself to the great French tradition of improvisation with breathtaking skill.