Death of Pierre Dutot

French brass movement mourns passing of one of its greatest performers and teachers.

  The death has been announced of Pierre Dutot

Generations of trumpet players across the globe are mourning the passing of Pierre Dutot, who died on 24th August at the age of 75.

The website of leading classical music publication 'France Musique' described him as "the great pedagogue, a leading light of Lyon's Conservatoire Superieur, a radiant and generous character, who was always juggling a myriad of projects."

Le grand professeur

National newspaper 'Le Figaro' also acknowledged his stature as a teacher, calling him 'le grand professeur de trompette', who had devoted his career to passing on a love of music.

It described Pierre as one of the most admired professors at the Conservatoire de Musique et de Danse de Lyon — the sister conservatoire to the Paris Conservatoire.

For over 22 years he taught numerous trumpeters, among them André Henry (winner of the 1996 Geneva International Competition), and David Guerrier (winner of the Munich International Competition in 2003).

Born in 1946, Pierre was captivated by music from his youth — from the unlikely source of trumpet playing clown performing with the Bouglione Winter Circus in his native Caen.


It was the start of a passion that never left him. His deep understanding of emotional and lyrical music were the hallmarks of both his own playing as well as his teaching.

He went on to study trumpet at the Conservatoire in Caen and Paris as well as qualifying as a teacher in physical education and psychology — disciplines which became central to his approach as a trumpet teacher.

Emerging as a leading soloist he became principal trumpet of the Orchestre National de Lyon combining it with his teaching career, before moving to Bordeaux and then Lyon.

There he founded the celebrated brass ensemble Hexagone, its focus also on both performance and teaching. The group toured globally, gaining a remarkable artistic reputation.

Brass band esteem

Pierre Dutot was also held in great esteem by the French brass band community, founding a brass band in the heart of the Bordeaux Conservatoire, which he first took to the French Open in Amboise.

This developed into Brass Band Borgiac of Bordeaux, serving the départements of Bordeaux, Gironde, and Aquitaine. Modest and communal in approach, he used his influence among local politicians to organise a festival, involving emerging bands in the region.

Similarly, a band trip to Paris to play in Notre Dame Cathedral was preceded by a day working with the young students of the conservatoire in the disadvantaged suburb of Clamart.


Speaking about his long association with him, leading educator and music journalist Roy Terry told 4BR: "I first met Pierre at the International Trumpet Guild congress in 2000 in New York State.

He was President of ITG that year and one of the privileges of office was to be able to choose an ensemble with which to share the President's Concert. Pierre chose Brass Band Normandie with whom I was doing some conducting.

As well as realising his verve as a soloist his qualities as a teacher were immediately apparent because, with typical generosity, he shared the solo spots with some of his pupils — notably a then 14-year-old David Guerrier.

I was also able to attend some of his masterclasses and found an approach to pedagogy informed by his knowledge of physiology and psychology. He summed up his approach to teaching in the motto 'comfort/pleasure/emotion'."

As well as realising his verve as a soloist his qualities as a teacher were immediately apparentRoy Terry

joie de vivre

He added: "I got to know Pierre better when working with Brass Band Normandie with whom he appeared as soloist, and also as their soprano cornetist. This led to an invitation to spend a week working with his Bordeaux Conservatoire band.

Pierre's music-making was an expression of his joie de vivre and found equal expression in his love of good food and wine, and in his generous hospitality.

All his brass colleagues from the conservatoire joined us for lunch at Pierre's house on Cap Ferret, with Arcachon oysters, champagne and voluminous plates of macaroons.


Messages from around the world poured in at the news of his death, particularly moving from so many former students for whom he was their patron saint.

The funeral procession entered the church to the sound of the Grand March from Aida, and the music midway through the requiem mass, was with a wry acknowledgement to his wonderful humour, 'Buglers' Holiday'."

With thanks to Roy Terry

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