Composer Yves Ramette (b. 1921) was born in Bavay, France, where his father was the director of a school. From a very young age Ramette was instinctively attracted towards music. When he was seven years old he started learning musical notation as well as to play the violin and the piano. At age fourteen, while pursuing his secondary studies at the Beauvais Lycée, he also began taking advanced lessons in harmony.
After finishing his studies in humanities, he entered the Conservatoire National de Musique de Paris to obtain training in harmony from Jacques de la Presle, and in contrapuntal and fugue from Simonne Plé-Caussade. He also took lessons in composition from Arthur Honegger at the École Normale de Musique de Paris and was awarded first prize in 1945 with one of his early works.
Ramette studied the violin with Robert Duforestel, the piano with Lélia Gousseau and Lazarre Lévy, and the organ with George Jacob. Under the able guidance of Eugéne Bigot, he took lessons in conducting and orchestration. From 1947 to 1953 he was the director of courses as well as organ and notation classes at the Schola Cantorum in Paris.
Named the “Maitre de Chapelle” and organ player at the Saint Ferdinand de Ternes church in Paris, he resigned in 1990 following a disagreement with religious authorities on the discontinuation of the devotional music. He founded the mixed choir “Voix Ardens” to promote the devotional and secular choral music of the traditional romantic and modern maestros and gave many concerts as the head of this choir from 1968-1987.
Ramette became acquainted with the American pianist Eric Himy at a concert in the mid 1990s. This meeting resulted in a friendly and productive collaboration. Himy performed and recorded number of his works, lending his prodigious technique and sensibility to Ramette’s difficult compositions.
Ramette’s later years were spent devoting himself to composing music and he continued to practice the organ as well as his favorite instrument, the piano. An avid reader, his preferences ranged from Greek and Latin classics to Middle Age authors, the great Classicists and Romanticists as well as historians. He is the author of a book entitled “Grandeur et Décadence d’une tribune” (Grandeur and Decadence of a Tribune).
Ramette passed away in June 2012 and is survived by his wife, Maryse Ramette. PARMA Recordings is proud to honor this exceptional composer’s legacy.
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