Download Professor Francis Vidil Biography (English) in PDF format.
Versailles Conservatory of Music, France
(Conservatoire National de Région de Musique de Danse et d’Art Dramatique)
Complete curriculum from 1971 to 1982
• Piano: in 1977, at the age of 16, First Prize, and in 1980, at the age of 19, Cum Laude Prize in Désiré N’Kaoua’s piano class, whom he replaces for three months at the age of 21.
Music Bacchalauréat Cum Laude in 1978, Versailles Conservatory/Lycée Hoche, Versailles
• Organ: Has been accompanying at masses since the age of eight. Francis’ father, at the time, chair organist of Saint Paul and Louis Church in Paris, brought him to a four-summer training in Saint Maximin, Provence, the craddle of baroque music. This is there, that, as a child, Francis got to try France’s most famous baroque organ. This experience profoundly impressed Francis and determined his career. However, his conservatory teachers wanted him to complete his piano studies before allowing him to officially learn the organ and, by the same token, forbid him to practice improvisation –which he both continued to do anyway… The Saint Maximin professors who decisively influenced his style were: André
Stricker, Michel Chapuis, Huguette Dreyfus, and Xavier Darasse.
Later studied 1 year with Georges Robert, of the Versailles Conservatory where he won a First Medal in 1980. Also studied repertory music and improvisation with André Isoir, of the Orsay Conservatory, in 1982-1984. Became his first assistant at the great organ at Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris.
• Trumpet: studied from 1975 to 1980 with Roger Delmotte (First Trumpet solo of the Paris Opera). Then, from 2002 to 2004 with Christian Pollin and won Third Prize in 2004. Francis studied this instrument in order to play it simultaneously with the organ. He invented his own version of a water key to be able to continuously play with the right hand.
Complementary study of other instruments:
• Orchestra Conducting: one year in 12th arrondissement Conservatory, Paris with a former assistant of Seiji Ozawa, 1982
• Violin: 2 years with Antoine Goulard, Versailles Conservatory
Also, studied piano with France Clidat and Aldo Ciccolini, 1981-1982, André Gorog, 1983-1984; Harpsichord with Laure Morabito, 1984; Accompaniment at the Paris Conservatory (Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris) with Jean Koerner, 1984-1988; Complementary training with pianist Walter Moore of Vienna University at Abbaye de Royaumont, Training Center of Professional Singers and Pianist Singing Masters.
Experience at the Versailles Conservatory
• Tenure Piano professor from 1996 to Present.
• Tenure Improvisation professor from 1996 to Present. Creates the class that has become a curriculum requirement for advanced levels since 2007.
• 1981-2009 Accompanist of the Versailles Conservatory percussion class of Sylvio Gualda, First Solo Timbalist of the Paris Opéra
• 1982-1996 teaching substituting for: Junior Orchestra Directing Class; Piano Sight Reading Class, All Levels; Piano accompaniment of conservatory’s dance and singing classes as well as final graduation examinations of all instruments.
First and only contestant to have ever won both prizes
• First prize improvisation, Lyon Piano Festival, given by Pierre Cochereau, 1983
• First Prize with the jury’s unanimity and congratulations, Montbrison Piano Improvisation Contest, given by André Isoir, 1995
Post Bacchalauréat Studies
1. Post Graduate Teaching Degree, piano (CA), 1987
2. Diplôme d’Etat, (French Government Degree), Organ and Baroque Musique Professor, 1989
3. Diplôme d’Etat, Instruments’ Accompanist, 1989
4. Diplôme d’Etat, Singers’ Accompanist, 1990
5 years of workshops with Roger Guérin, former partner of Dizzy Gillespie, Paris
Diplôme d’Etat, piano; Diplôme d’Etat, horn; Bacchalauréat F11 piano; National and Regional Conservatories of Versailles and Rouen, piano; Organ competition, Ecole Nationale d’Orsay. Paris Conservatory (Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris), piano and organ improvisation entrance examination.
2007 to 2009 Year-round Guest Professor, instrumental improvisation Master’s classes and composition improvisation Master’s classes for professionals. Guest performer, Freeburg Superior Conservatory of Music, Switzerland.
January 2007 and 2008 Organ professor and performer selected by the French Embassy in Cuba where churches had reopened and the use of organ was rediscovered after John Paul II’s trip. Initiated the new organ school; organ improvisation classes, Superior School of Music in Havana, Cuba.
Spring 2003, 2004, 2006 Pennsylvania State University, Piano Improvisation
Master’s classes for instrumentalist and composers, State College, PA
1987-1994 Pianist and actor in the role of Mozart in “Mozart au Chocolat, ” a play of Jacques Livchine, Theatre de L’Unité. 210 performances: France, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Greece, England, Russia, Estonia, Iceland, and Israel. This play was one of the seven events selected by the USSR to celebrate the bicentennial of the 1789 French Revolution.
1988-2009 Improvisation Master’s classes, Moulin d’Andé, Normandy and Lyon with Arcad, a body and art development association.
1986-1988 Pianist of Maîtrise de Radio-France (France’s boys and girls national choir), Paris
1983-1987 Directed “Ensemble Instrumental du Mesnil-Saint-Denis,” a 30-musician orchestra, mostly students and professors of the Versailles Conservatory.
1982-1983 Organ Assistant to André Isoir, great organ of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris (interrupted by motorcycle accident)
Music Festival of the Upper Chevreuse Valley (Festival de la Haute Vallée de Chevreuse)
Founder and President of EOL Association (Eclats d’Orgue à Lévis-Saint-Nom)
in 1993. 210 concerts to date.
The EOL Organ has benefited from a wide array of improvements for the past 10 years such as adding bells and percussions. The association greatly appreciates the guidance of Jean Guillou, Honorary President of EOL and Chair Organist of Saint Eustache Church in Paris.
• Academic Society for the Promotion of the Arts, Sciences and Letters, patronized by L’Académie Française, Silver Medal for career achievement, May 14, 2000
• Outstanding Arts Professor National Award (Professeur “Hors Classe”), by Versailles’ Mayor’s decree, July 10, 2009
About a thousand to date in France and abroad. Francis performs nearly every week because he just loves to. Both performer and improviser. Paris, London, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Athens, Jerusalem, Rome, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Brussels, Reykjavik, Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Havana, New York, NY, Newark, NJ, State College, PA, San Antonio, TX.
Francis is one of the few performers in the world being able to play the organ and the trumpet simultaneously.
• Freeburg Conservatory of Music, Switzerland, concluding concert, Sacred Music Colloquium, organ improvisation, September 2008
• France Musique, one hour show with Anne Montaron, 2005
• Chopin Festival of New York, commemorative concert to the victims of the World Trade Center, November 2001
• Europa Club, Brooklyn, NY, Jazz performance 2001
• “Accord et Graphie,” Paris and Munich, piano recital on paintings, 1991-1995
• Inauguration and production of the Theatre of Trappes, Saint-Quentinen Yvelines, (30 musicians and actors, 20 cooks). Piano recital on contemporary literature, 1992
• Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris, produced and performed the officially ”first and last” dance and organ performance inside cathedral to commemorate the bicentennial of Mozart’s death, 1991
• “Improvidance,” Avignon Festival, dance and organ improvisation, with Catherine Golovine, 1991
• Sacred dance and organ performance for Templars Commandery “La Pierre de Lumière, » Cathédrale de Maguelone, 1990
• Improvisation recital, 3 concerts for launch of the “1881” Cerruti perfume in collaboration with dancer Carolyn Carlson, 1990
• Inauguration of a building through complete production of a musical performance: Hôtel des Musiciens Italiens in Versailles (50 musicians and dancers), 1987
Most Recent Concerts
“Hommage to Keith Jarrett, a reminiscence of his last Paris concert in Salle Pleyel »
Versailles Conservatory Concert Hall — Sunday, June 7, 2009.
Olivier Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin des Temps (Quartet for the End of Time)
Hôtel de Ville de Versailles
Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 8:30 p.m.
François Couperin, Nicolas de Grigny, Louis Marchand and improvisation
Cathédrale de Rodez
Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 9 p.m.
Organ and Piano
Piano: Improvisation on Ave Maria’s
Organ: Improvisation “Darkness and Light” inspired by Pierre Soulages’ stained
windows and illuminations
Abbaye de Conques
Friday, July 10, 2009 at 12:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Organ accompaniment of Saxophone and Organ solo with “Sax’Orgue”
Mozart, Marin Marais, Carmen suite from Bizet, Rimsky Korsakov (« Flight of
the Bumble Bee ») Traditional Negro Spirituals and organ solo improvisation
Cathédrale de Tulle
Sunday, July 12, 2009 at 9 p.m.
Piano Improvisation Seminar
Pre-professional Master Class with students’ public final performance
Francis Vidil’s Master Concert: “A Vision of French Impressionism”
Moulin d’Andé, Normandy Seine Valley
July 14 to 16, 2009
Organ and Saxophone Concert with “Sax’Orgue”
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Improvisation on themes given by the public
Lourmarin Castle Summer Music Festival, Provence (artist in residence)
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
“Mozart, the Improviser”
Espace Bernanos, Paris
Friday, October 2nd, 2009
Directed the bi-annual walking trip for organ lovers visiting the organs of the
Upper Chevreuse Valley
“The Organ Trail Concerts” Performed two out of the five concerts
“EOL” Organ Association
Saturday 10, October, 2009
A French-American friendship concert: Bach, Schubert, Bizet, Gounod, Amazing
Grace, America the Beautiful…
American Cathedral in Paris
12:45 p.m., Thursday, October 8, 2009
Live Mute movie accompaniment
8:30 p.m., Thursday, October 8, 2009
Closing concert of a Piano Improvisation Master Class. Improvisation on
themes given by the public
Conservatory of Chatenay Malabry
Friday, October 9, 2009
Organ and Trumpet (both played simultaneously by Francis Vidil)
Improvisation recital on sacred themes
St. Clodoald Church, St. Cloud
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Professional Improvisation Master class for singers and instrumentalists
Sacred Music Master Class Curriculum
Fribourg Conservatory (École de Hautes Etudes de Musique de
November 5 to 7, 2009
Invited by pianists friend, Marc Vella http://www.marcvella.com/ , to play an
improvised four-hand during the forum in front of a live audience as the closing
piece of his recital.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
All of Francis’ recordings are unadulterated improvisation recordings taken
during live concerts and are one-of–a-kind. (Limited editions of « Témoins de
Available to date upon request:
• “Cathédrale d’Auxerre,“ 1995, Organ
• “Mois Molière,” 1996, Piano
• “Nuit de la Musique,” 1997, 2 CD, Piano, Organ (Cathédrale de Nïmes)
• “Penn State, the Concert,” 2003, Organ, Celesta, Bells and 2nd Trumpet
in association with Dr Langston Fitzgerald, 1st Trumpet
• “Bleu Clair,“ 2006, Piano
• “Mozart l’Improvisateur,” 2006, Piano
• “Autour des Chorals de Bach,“ 2007, Piano
• “Vitrail et Lumière,” 2007, Pianoforte (Erard, 1846)
• “En Hommage à Bach,“ 2007, Piano
• “Tonnerre de Brest,” 2007, Piano, Celesta, Gong and Chimes
• “Le Son des Ténèbres,“ 30 themes given by the public, 2008, Piano