Marcelle de LACOUR (1896-1997)

“One is born a harpsichordist, just as one is born a poet.
Marcelle de Lacour is one and the same.”

Marcelle Schaeffer was born in Besançon on the 6th of November, 1896.  Being musical from an early age, her parents wanted her to have a complete education in Besançon and at the National Higher Conservatory in Paris.

A brilliant student, she was awarded first prize  with honors at the examination of the Society of the Musicians of France, presided over by Camille Saint-Saëns and Gabriel Fauré.

A young woman of ravish beauty, she chose her husband from among seven admirers  and married Robert de Lacour in 1920.  An Attorney at Law , he sometimes accompanied his wife on the violin.  He shared his attachment for the Château at Fourg, “in the family since 1680,” as Marcelle often said, with humor and satisfaction .

Geneviève Thibaut de Chambure, daughter of the Director of Lazard in Paris, created a remarkable  movement of rediscovery of musical scores and instruments from before the French Revolution, as a part of the Musical Society of Former Times (1925).  She “discovered” Marcelle de Lacour and became enthused for her dynamic personality.  Marcelle became the only harpsichordist of the movement.

As a soloist for large concerts, French and overseas radio broadcasts, and at important festivals, Marcelle concertized all over Europe.  To not be separated from her husband, she declined offers for worldwide tours, which notably would have brought her to the United States.

Marcelle de Lacour’s musical curiosity aroused the creation of a contemporary repertoire for the harpsichord.

Seventy foreign and French composers wrote for and dedicated to her, works for the harpsichord – Florent Schmitt, Bohuslav Martinu, Alexandre Tansman, Jean Langlais, Louis Saguer, Paul Ladmirault, and Georges Migot.  She equally adapted for the instrument works of Bartók, Honegger, Ibert, Koechlin, Ohana, Prokofiev, Poulenc, Sauguet and Villa-Lobos.

Marcel Dupré, Director of the Upper National Conservatory of Music, located on the Rue de Madrid in Paris, chose Marcelle de Lacour as the first professorship of harpsichord, which he created in 1955.

Robert and Marcelle, who served Justice and Beauty all their lives, decided that their entire legacy should be dedicated to a charitable  trust  for music and dance.

That legacy  now carries both their names,

The Robert and Marcelle de Lacour Foundation for Music and Dance