Maurice André, (May 21, 1933 – February 25, 2012), classical trumpet player.

Maurice André was one of the most famous trumpet soloists of the last fifty years. In the world of classical music, he did for the trumpet what Casals had done for the cello and Jean-Pierre Rampal for the flute, taking an instrument known mostly for its role in the orchestra and creating a role for it as a soloist.

André was born in southern France. His father was a coal miner and amateur trumpet player. André followed his father into the mines at the age of 14, but after four years, his obvious musical gifts heralded a different path for him. After serving in a French military band, he entered the Paris Conservatory, where he won the First Prize after only six months. After winning the International Geneva competition in 1955, he started a career that would last almost half a century.

André specialized in performances of Baroque and Classical music, such as works by Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, and Haydn. He was one of the most important performers to champion the smaller piccolo trumpet. His clear tone and precision technique influenced a generation of trumpeters, including jazz performers such as Allen Vizzutti, Wynton Marsalis, and Arturo Sandoval. To supplement the smaller solo repertoire for the trumpet, he often played transcriptions of concerti for other instruments, including vocal arias such as Mozart’s “Queen of the Night” and Schubert’s Ave Maria. He also commissioned and performed works from contemporary composers like Henri Tomasi, André Jolivet, and the French jazz composer Claude Bolling, with whom he recorded Bolling’s “Toot Suite,” where each of the movements featured a different member of the trumpet family.

André retired a few years ago to the Basque region of southern France, where he died at the age of 78. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his two children: son Nicolas, a trumpet player, and daughter Béatrice, an oboist, with whom he performed and recorded. His friend, French composer and pianist Jan Leontsky said this of him:

“God put an amazing musical gift in his hands, his father gave him the trumpet, the mine gave him the force and the moral values… This is what I call Destiny, a destiny of light. Without destiny there cannot be any genius. Work is not enough for Men, God has to mix in.”

Visit the official Maurice André website here.