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Jean-Pierre Rampal

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Biography

Lauded as one of the finest flautists of all time, Jean-Pierre Rampal returned the instrument to pride of place as a soloist with a long career in which he played not only classical standards but also jazz and folk with his specialty being Baroque.

Son of renowned French flautist Joseph Rampal, who was professor of flute at the Marseille Conservatoire and principal flautist with the Marseille Symphony Orchestra, he followed in his father's footsteps from a very young age. Under the threat of being sent to forced labour by the occupying Nazis in World War II, he headed north to Paris where he could live anonymously. He managed to enrol in the Paris Conservatoire where he won the annual flute competition as his father had before him. After the war, a radio performance of Jacques Ibert's 'Flute Concerto' brought him offers of concert appearances in his homeland and neighbouring countries such as Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland accompanied by pianist and harpsichord player Robert Veyron-Lacroix.

In concert and on recordings, Rampal expanded beyond the works of Mozart, Schumann, and Schubert to include 20th century works by composers such as Debussy, Dukas, Hindemith and Ravel. He collaborated with a wide variety of other artists including violinist Isaac Stern and cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and introduced works by newer composers including Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copeland and Krzysztof Penderecki. His popularity grew worldwide but especially in America where he featured at major venues from the Hollywood Bowl to Carnegie Hall. Beloved as a teacher, he was professor of flute at the Paris Conservatoire from 1969 to 1981 and published his autobiography 'Music, My Love' in 1989. He died in Paris of heart failure aged 77.