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 a miillion 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
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 and is regularly invited to
give masterclasses (Pologne, Angleterre, Croatie…).
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