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Claude-Paul Taffanel (1844-1908)

Paul Taffanel is usually considered the founder of the French Flute School that became dominant in mid-20th century western Europe and America. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Louis Dorus, who introduced the Boehm flute there, graduating in 1860. For the next 30 years he pursued a brilliant career as a soloist and as an orchestral player, as one of a group of French musicians who made strenuous efforts to develop a national musical style.

When Taffanel became Professor of Flute at the Conservatoire in 1893 he revised the institute's repertoire and teaching methods, reintroducing works by foreign composers and by those of earlier generations, including Bach. Taffanel's pupils learned to play in a new, smoother style that included a light and carefully-modulated vibrato.

Taffanel began work on a history of the flute and a method book, both of which were completed after his death by his pupils Louis Fleury and Philippe Gaubert.

Claude Dorgeuille's The French Flute School, 1860-1950 is now permanently out of print.

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