Olivier Penin

Biography

Olivier Penin is one of the most remarkable organists of his generation. Born in 1981, he began playing the piano at the age of five and entered the Maîtrise de Caen in 1987. After his classes (mainly with David Noël-Hudson) and obtaining his organ prize, he was appointed in 2004 by competition to the tribune of the great organ of the basilica of Sainte Clotilde in Paris. Open to music from all eras, he interprets works by composers from the 17th century to the present day and publishes videos on YouTube that today exceed two million views. In 2022, his 7th album with the complete works for organ of César Franck was released by the label Brilliant Classics, in 3 discs recorded at the organ of the basilica of Sainte Clotilde. He plays in France and abroad both alone and with vocal ensembles or orchestras. Alone, he is regularly invited in various European countries (Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Belgium, Poland, Austria, Denmark etc.) but he has also performed in Russia, Mexico and Japan. He has also collaborated with various orchestras (Orchestre Lamoureux, Orchestre Colonne, Orchestre de Chambre de La Haye) to interpret the great pages for orchestra and organ (Poulenc's Concerto, Handel's Concerti, Saint-Saëns' Symphony No. 3, Respighi's Suite in G major etc.) but also original works like the Symphonic variations by C. Franck in his arrangement for organ and orchestra and Francks Grande pièce symphonique orchestrated by G. Guillard. He was heard on the radio alone or with various formations (Radioclassique, France music). He takes particular care to propose programs where the works are put into perspective under a theme or an idea in order to make the listener ‘travel’. He thus interpretes works from the Baroque, Romantic and contemporary periods. Very focused on today's music, he was able to ensure the creation of works like those of Olivier Schmidt ("The tears of penance"), Pierre-Adrien Charpy ("Source") and Stéphane Delplace (fugue "Bach Panther", "Aria", "Lux aeterna", "Tenebrae factae sunt"). He was asked several times as a member of the jury of international competitions and he is regularly invited to give masterclasses (Poland, England, Croatia, South Korea). Download bio as PDF.
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Biography

Born in 1981, Olivier Penin began playing the piano at the age of five and in 1987 he joined the Schola Cantorum in Caen. In 1996, he started to work with David Noël-Hudson, a cooperation which lasted almost ten years. With the latter, he was unanimously awarded a premier prix as well a prize for perfection for which he was unanimously nominated. In addition, he worked with Ronan Maillard for composition and from 2006 onwards with Jacques Taddei for improvisation. In 2009, he won the Bettencourt-Schueller Prize with the vocal ensemble Aedes. In 2004, he was appointed co-titular organist of the basilica Sainte Clotilde in Paris. He is in charge of the religious music and the choice of the programs in the basilica. In addition, he arranges and compose. His works include Dichotomy, which was premiered on the radio in 2006, and the mass of Sainte Clotilde, created for the 150th birthday of the basilica. He became the only titular organist of the great organ of the basilica in 2012 and created an international series, a masterclass which attracts pupils from all over the world. He made numerous videos on his organ which generated more than 250 000 views. In 2013, he recorded a CD Hommage aux maîtres de Sainte Clotilde for the label Festivo, which received four stars from the Choir and organ magazine. The specialized press praised his technical qualities and the “bubble of champagne”, ”the poetry” and the “pure French spirit” of his performances (De Orgelvriend), but also the “truthfulness of its rubato” (Orgelnieuws), his freedom in the agogic as well as his interpretation, called “very souple with fantasy and expression” (La Tribune de l’orgue)… In 2016, he recorded with the ensemble Basilica A tribute to César Franck with the three chorals for organ and choral works of Franck and two creations of Stephane Delplace. Among the good reviews, there is one who compared him to Riccardo Chailly in his recording of the symphonies of Malher (Orgelnieuws). His concert career can be characterized as eclectic. This is firstly shown in the choice of the works he plays: he offers a variety of programs with works of baroque composers as well as romantic and contemporary compositions. In 2008, he created Source of Pierre-Adrien Charpy with the ensemble O’Trente, Les larmes de la penitence of Olivier Schmidt with the choir of Saint Denis and Heracles of Kevin Robin. He is also eclectic in the wide range of different groups he is working with. He was invited by various orchestras (Orchestre Lamoureux, Orchestre Colonne, Orchestre de Chambre de La Haye…) to interpret several masterpieces for organ and orchestra (Poulenc’s concerto, Händel‘s Concerti, the organ symphony n°3 of Saint-Saëns…). He also likes to work with choirs. With Marc Korovitch, he created the ensemble Basilica: a professional group dedicated to perform music for organ and choir. He gave concerts with other famous choir like the vocal ensemble Aedes (Directed by Mathieu Romano), the Maîtrise de Paris (Directed by P. Marco) and the Academy of vocal arts... He performed for radio, both as a soloist and with other musicians and was invited to play in many countries in Europe (France, Holland, Slovenia, Germany…), the U.S.A., Mexico, Japan, Russia. In addition, he was also member of the jury of several international competitions. Download bio as PDF.
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