The Association “Les Amis de Jean Langlais” was created in la Fontenelle, Ile-et-Vilaine, birthplace of the composer Jean Langlais in December 2005 to promote the memory and music of Jean Langlais and to develop musical culture in the area, particularly among young people.

Jean Langalis devant la maison
Jean Langlais devant la maison de La Fontenelle où il est né.

Since then, the Association has organised fourteen international festivals, normally in the last fortnight of July but also at other times of year.  Our concerts take place in la Fontenelle and in the surrounding area, including Saint Leonard’s Church Fougères, the church of Sainte-Croix in Saint Servan St Malo, the church at la Bouëxière, the church of Notre-Dame at Pontorson, the Cathedral of Dol-de-Bretagne, the Abbatiale de Saint-Melaine in Rennes, the Basilique de Pontmain and the Abbaye aux Hommes in Caen.

Choirs from the UK (the Wingrave Singers, the men of the choir of Royal Holloway, Universtity of London, the girls of All Saints Church Northampton, the choir of St Mary’s Church Warwick and the Girls Choir of Guildford Cathedral, the Quiristers from Winchester College), from Spain (Camerata Coral de Santander), from Denmark (Audite and Pandora) and from the Netherlands (Consortium Musicum Divertimento) have participated over the years, as have the annual choral course choir, le Choeur de l’Académie, and the  local French choir, the Chorale “Les Amis de Jean Langlais”.

International organists have also taken part : Marie-Louise Langlais, widow of the composer, Marie-Claire Alain, Sylvie Mallet, Malcolm Archer, David Bednall, Katherine Dienes-Williams, Rupert Gough, Colin Spinks, Richard Pinel, Frantisek Vanicek,  Luca Massaglia, Veronique Le Guen, Samuel Carré, Florence Rousseau, Loic Georgeault, Paul Provost and Martina Ziegert-Wallerand.

This year’s festival will take place in La Fontenelle, Pontorson, Pontmain, La Bouëxière and Dol Cathedral from 11 to 21 July, 2019.  It will feature our first-ever Italian choir, In Contra from Trieste directed by Roberto Brisotto, and the London choir, Ad Libitum, directed by Julian Collings and accompanied by Colin Spinks.

Brenda Dean
La Fontenelle


Jean Langlais
1907 – 1991

Famille Langlais
Famille Langlais

Jean Langlais was born at La Fontenelle on 15th February, 1907 and went blind at the age of two. Despite this handicap, he became one of the most respected organists and composers of the 20th century. He studied piano, violin, composition and organ in Paris at the National Institute for the Young Blind and at the Conservatoire de Musique, where he obtained a First Prize in Marcel Dupre’s class of 1930 and a composition Prize in Paul Dukas’ class of 1934. He also studied improvisation with Charles Tournemire, receiving in 1931 the Prix des Amis de l’Orgue.

Professor for forty years at the National Institute for the Young Blind, he also taught at the Schola Cantorum in Paris, where between 1961 and 1976 he helped both French and foreign students. His reputation as a pedagogue, important composer and concert artist drew pupils and audiences of many nationalities, especially from the USA, where he gave 300 recitals and countless master classes.

At the console of Sainte Clotilde

In 1945 he became organist at the Church of Sainte-Clothilde in Paris, the successor of Cesar Franck and Charles Tournemire. He left that position at the age of 80, having been titular for 42 years.

A prolific composer, his catalogue of works comprises 254 opus numbers, including vocal and instrumental sacred music (among them the famous Missa Salve Regina and the Messe Solennelle and the Missa in Simplicitate, very often performed in concert), secular music and numerous organ pieces, some of which are already considered 20th century classics.

Jean Langlais died in Paris on 8th May, 1991 at the age of 84.

For further information, see also: www.jeanlanglais.com