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 Paul Paray

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Paul Paray

  • Birth 24 May 1886 France
  • Death 10 Oct 1979 Monte Carlo, Monaco
  • Burial Le Treport, Departement de la Seine-Maritime, Haute-Normandie, France
  • Memorial ID 90653777

Paul Paray was born on May 24, 1886 at the small town of Le Treport, in Normandy. He was a renown composer, organist and conductor. In the United States, he is fondly remembered as the conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra from 1951 to 1962.

Paray studied piano with his father, Auguste, who was an organist at the church of Saint- Jacques where the young Paul first encountered the music of Saint-Saens, Berlioz, Gounod, Mendelssohn and Haydn. He sang in a choir at the Saint-Evode school at Rouen and played the cello, piano and organ. At age fourteen, he performed all of the organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach from memory. Paray entered the Paris Conservatory at age seventeen where he studied composition and in 1911 won the Prix de Rome for his cantata Yanitza.

When the First World War broke out, Paul Paray served at the front and was captured in 1914, spending the rest of the war in a German camp at Darmstadt. While he was a prisoner, Paray composed a string quartet. Following the war, Paray was invited to conduct the orchestra of the Casoni de Cauterts and later the Lamoureaux Orchestra and Monte Carlo Orchestra. He continued to compose music and in1922 wrote a ballet for Ida Rubinstein called Artemis trouble and in 1931 he completed a Mass for the 500th Anniversary of the Death of Joan of Arc.

Paul Paray made his American debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1939 and in 1952 was appointed music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He had a reputation as a builder of orchestras and while at Detroit, Paray he molded the orchestra into the "first French orchestra of the USA." While at Detroit, Paray made many famous recordings for the Mercury "Living Presence" company. He left Detroit Symphony in 1962 at the age of seventy-six but continued to conduct. He died in Monte Carlo shortly after conducting a concert with his good friend Yehudi Menuhin.


  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: David Wend
  • Added: 24 May 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 90653777
  • AnneBoleynTudor
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Paul Paray (24 May 1886–10 Oct 1979), Find A Grave Memorial no. 90653777, citing Le Treport Communal Cemetery, Le Treport, Departement de la Seine-Maritime, Haute-Normandie, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8) .