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Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections
Sibley Music Library
Eastman School of Music
University of Rochester

Processed by David Peter Coppen
Summer-Fall, 2013/Winter 2014;
Revised Summer 2015






Location: M3B 6,7 — 7,7 
24 linear feet

Rolande Falcinelli at the grand pipe organ of the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre. Photograph from Tout- Rouen, vol. 7, no. 159 (November 13-21, 1965), p. 17, from Rolande Falcinelli Archive, Box 30, Folder 3.

Biographical Sketch

Mme Falcinelli’s life and work are amply described elsewhere. The given sketch is provided for the convenience of readers yet unacquainted with her work.

Organist, pedagogue, and composer Rolande Falcinelli was born in Paris on February 18th, 1920. She began her musical studies on the piano at age five, and gave her first public appearance at age seven in a concert with the Garde Républicaine at the Trocadéro (Paris). At age nine she performed at the Salle Pleyel (Paris). At age twelve she was enrolled at the Paris Conservatoire, where she studied organ under Gaston Litaize, and later under Marcel Dupré. At the Conservatoire she won numerous awards, including first prize in solfège, first prize in harmony, first prize in piano accompaniment, first prize in counterpoint and fugue, second prize in composition; first prize in organ (in the class of Dupré), and the Grand prix de Rome (1942).

In 1946 Mme Falcinelli was appointed Titular Organist of the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre. In 1949 she was appointed to the faculty of the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau. She served as Marcel Dupré’s substitute organist at the church of St. Sulpice (Paris) and also in his organ classes at the Paris Conservatoire. In 1955 she was appointed to the faculty of the Paris Conservatoire, where she taught organ and improvisation. She retired from the Conservatoire in 1986.

Mme Falcinelli was a frequent recitalist in Paris, in the French provinces, and across Europe. In addition, she made a North American tour in 1950, visiting some dozen or more cities in Canada and in the USA. Attesting to her devotion to the legacy of Marcel Dupré, she performed all of Dupré’s organ works from memory, for the first time at the Salle Pleyel in 1948. Some twenty years later she recorded many of Dupré’s works for commercial release. During her many years as a recitalist, Mme Falcinelli’s prowess as an improvising artist was considerable.Throughout her career, the traditional finish to each of her recital appearances was an improvisation based on themes received in the moment from audience members.

Her output as a composer consists of more than 60 completed opus numbers, in addition to numerous unpublished early works. She made several transcriptions both for organ and for orchestra, and also edited for publication numerous works by other composers. Her original writings include a method for the organ, yet unpublished.

She died on June 11th, 2006, in Pau, France, and was survived by her daughter, musicologist Sylviane Falcinelli.


The Rolande Falcinelli Archive was the gift of Mme Falcinelli’s daughter, musicologist Sylviane Falcinelli, and was received by the Sibley Music Library in five installments between November, 2011 and May, 2012. As of this writing (July, 2015), further collection accruals are anticipated.

Scope and Content note

The Rolande Falcinelli Archive comprises the largest body of Mme Falcinelli’s papers extant anywhere in the world, embracing the manuscripts of her creative work and also the documents reflecting the administrative aspects of her professional work. Also among the documents are pedagogical materials that she developed for use at the Paris Conservatoire; manuscripts of her unpublished works and of some of her published works; and both professional and personal correspondence. A special component of the Archive are those documents reflecting her longtime association with Marcel Dupré, attesting to their collegial relationship.

Restrictions on Use

Certain restrictions attend the Rolande Falcinelli Archive. Under the U.S. Copyright Law and its revisions, copyright restrictions do apply. The written permission of Sylviane Falcinelli must be obtained by any user seeking reproductions of any of Rolande Falcinelli’s unpublished works, or of any other of her original works the rights to which have not been assigned elsewhere.

In addition, restrictions attend certain other documents. The collection contains numerous documents that originated in the administrative offices of the Paris Conservatoire. The Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections Department recognizes the institutional prerogative of the Paris Conservatoire over those documents.

In addition, Mme Falcinelli’s notes as a jury member at competitions and festivals are restricted on the grounds that they bear on the work and ultimately the reputations of individuals still living.


As of this writing, the Rolande Falcinelli Archive represents the most recently acquired organistic collection of the Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections. Other collections in that number are those of ESM faculty members Russell Saunders and Michael D. Farris, and the collection of Dr. Mario Salvador, longtime organist-choirmaster of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Missouri.


The Rolande Falcinelli Archive has been arranged in four sub-groups, which are further subdivided into the series and sub-series outlined below. Because the papers were received in no discernible order, this arrangement was synthetically created to facilitate ease of access. Further, much of the folder-level arrangement was synthetically created by the repository. Those folder- level appellations appearing in French reflect original arrangement and filing designations as were received by the SML, presumably imposed by Rolande Falcinelli herself.


This sub-group is comprised of autograph manuscripts of original works by Rolande Falcinelli, together with manuscripts of arrangements and transcriptions made by her. For the most part, the manuscripts represented are completed copies, but numerous drafts and sketches are also present.

Series 1: Early works
This series is comprised of the manuscripts of Rolande Falcinelli’s earliest compositions, from a very early age through the conferral of the Grand Prix de Rome. The suggestion of the conferral of the Prix de Rome as the point of demarcation in Rolande Falcinelli’s composing career was made by Sylviane Falcinelli at the time of disposition of the manuscripts. The manuscripts are chronologically arranged insofar as dates of composition were discernible.

Series 2: Mature works
This series is comprised of the manuscripts of compositions of Rolande Falcinelli’s mature works, i.e. those written after the conferral of the Grand Prix de Rome. The completed manuscripts are arranged sequentially by opus number; certain manuscripts of mature works yet reside with Sylviane Falcinelli. To date, certain works are represented within the collection only on microfilm; receipt of the corresponding manuscripts is anticipated at a later date.

Sub-series A: Completed manuscripts, original works
The manuscripts of original works are arranged sequentially by opus number; each opus number is rendered in brackets as a main entry. NOTE: As of this writing (summer 2015), the bulk of the autograph manuscripts of the mature compositions yet reside with her daughter, Sylviane Falcinelli.

Sub-series B: Completed manuscripts, transcriptions
Manuscripts of transcriptions made by RF of works by J. S. Bach, Robert Schumann, and Claude Debussy; they do not bear opus numbers.

Sub-series C: Completed manuscripts, pedagogical works
The completed manuscripts of parts I and II of her yet-unpublished Ecole de la Technique Moderne de l’Orgue, together with a draft of part II.

Sub-series D: Drafts
This sub-series is comprised of drafts of her completed works, arranged sequentially by their assigned opus numbers.

Series 3: Other drafts and sketches, not elsewhere assigned
This series is comprised of drafts and sketches not elsewhere assigned—that is, having no discernible connection with the manuscripts of completed works.

Series 4: Microfilms
This series is comprised of 25 microfilm reels bearing the micro-images of various original works and one transcription. They are arranged sequentially by their assigned opus numbers. As of the summer of 2015, the manuscripts of most of the given works remain in the possession of Sylviane Falcinelli.

Sub-group II:     PAPERS

This sub-group is comprised of documents that were generated or collected by RF in the course of her professional life. Also included, within Series 1, are documents dating from her student years at the Paris Conservatoire.

Series 1: RF at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique

Sub-series A: Student papers
Documents dating from her student years at the Conservatoire; these include exercise books, examination papers, and texts.

 Sub-series B: Professorial papers

Series 2: RF as concert organist
A wide-ranging body of documents reflecting her career as a concert organist. These include the specifications for many individual instruments in venues across Europe and in North America, as well as a consider number of her printed recital programs. Significantly, RF retained the scraps of paper on which audience members submitted themes for her improvisation in performance; these items form sub-series C.

Sub-series A: Specifications and published literature on instruments
The filing arrangement within this sub-series reflects the same geography-based order as was received by the repository, and was presumably imposed by RF herself.

Sub-series B: Recital programs (i.e., RF’s own performances)
Recital programs are arranged chronologically, with the exception of those from her 1950 North American tour, which RF herself collated together thematically.

Sub-series C: Themes given to RF for improvisation in concert
RF diligently retained the scraps of manuscript paper bearing musical themes that were presented to her in concert for improvisation. For the most part, these are arranged chronologically insofar as years of origin have been established. In many instances RF annotated the scraps of paper in her own hand with respect to dates, venues, and names of contributors of individual themes. In a few instances, certain themes are grouped around designations that RF personally assigned, such as name of contributor.

Series 3: RF as juror: notes from competitions and festivals
This series is comprised of her notes from competitions and festivals held outside of the Conservatoire—that is, those that were professionally based, rather than sponsored by the Conservatoire.

Series 4: Original writings
This series is comprised of her original writings. These include her analyses of several musical works, including César Franck’s three organ chorales and Richard Wagner’s opera Parsifal, which a particular interest of RF’; the unpublished manuscript of her Initiation à l’Orgue; the biographical entry on Marcel Dupré for publication in MGG; and also several occasional statements and addresses, whether published or delivered in person.

Series 5: Professional projects and associations
Throughout her professional life RF either initiated, or else was commissioned to participate in, various musical and/or creative projects, reflected in the documents that comprise this series. Also reflected herein are her membership and/or participation in, together with her contributions to, various professional associations. For the most part, the filing arrangement follows the thematically based dossiers as they were received by the repository.

Sub-series A: Projects
Sub-series B: Associations

Series 6: Correspondence
RF’s professional correspondence includes letters and other communications received on the occasions of three milestone events in her life, together with correspondence received from various professional colleagues and admirers. For the most part, the correspondence is arranged chronologically except in those instances of groupings around obvious thematic points of reference.

Sub-series A: Professional
Sub-series B: Personal

Series 7: Publicity and press materials
This series is comprised of a considerable extent of publicity-concerned documents—from both the serial literature and the press—citing RF or otherwise reflecting her work, including printed programs for recitals by performers other than herself that included her compositions. The ephemera in sub-series D include posters, handbills, and a festival brochure.

Sub-series A: Serial literature
Sub-series B: Printed programs (from recitals other than RF’s own)
Sub-series C: Press material
Sub-series D: Ephemera


Created for convenience of access, this sub-group is comprised of those documents having an explicit association with Marcel Dupré (1886-1971) in either of two respects: either having originated under his agency, or else having been acquired by him and used by him. Most of the documents in this sub-group were given by Marcel Dupré to RF on various occasions; some of the documents herein were collected by RF elsewhere, but have been included in this sub-group owing to their association with Dupré. Altogether, the documents in this sub-group attest to the association between MD and RF—initially, as teacher/mentor and student, and later, as professional colleagues. The documents also attest to MD’s confidence in RF, who actively promoted his musical and organistic principles, and who was later ardently dedicated to his memory.

With respect to those documents having Marcel Dupré as their provenance, the circumstances or occasions of transmission of those documents are, for the most part, unknown and/or undocumented. Further, it has been difficult or impossible to establish with certainty the relationships of certain documents either to one another or to the larger context of Rolande Falcinelli’s life and work.

Series 1: Original compositions and transcriptions
This series is comprised of original compositions by Marcel Dupré and also transcriptions made by him, whether actual manuscripts or in facsimile. The items are arranged sequentially by their assigned opus numbers.

Series 2: Original writings
Comprised of original work by Marcel Dupré, both published and unpublished as described below.

Sub-series A: Published
This sub-series is comprised of original published works by Dupré, most of which were RF’s personal copies or else were presentation copies to her from Dupré. Also included are the published texts of three occasional addresses publicly presented by MD.

Sub-series B: Unpublished
This sub-series includes MD’s plans/scenarios for various projects; these have been arranged chronologically, insofar as their dates of origin could be established. Within this sub-series, the rubric “unpublished” signifies that the given item is a manuscript or typescript manifestation, regardless of whether the content represented ever appeared in any other manifestation, including appearing in publication.

Series 3: Pedagogical material
This series is comprised of those documents used by MD in teaching and lecturing, subdivided as described below.

Sub-series A: Various
Two files of material not elsewhere collated.

Sub-series B: Tables de pédagogie
Pedagogical material that MD presented to RF in 1949.

Sub-series C: University of Chicago lectures
Texts of lectures that MD delivered at the University of Chicago in 1946. The texts are represented both in French and also in English translations; the latter were prepared by Mme Dupré. The texts address various aspects of the organ and its literature.

Sub-series D: Themes given to his pupils
A substantial extent of thematic material that MD prescribed to his Conservatoire pupils for improvisation. The material was thoroughly documented by MD with respect to chronology, thereby facilitating its chronological arrangement herein.

Series 4: Performance material
This series reflects MD’s prodigious work as a well-travelled concert organist. Extant are the printed programs from recitals given by him; and also the scraps of manuscript paper bearing themes that were presented to him in concert for improvisation. The programs are arranged chronologically.

Sub-series A: Printed programs and other documents
The programs are arranged chronologically. Also present are program notes on specific repertory; themes presented to MD for improvisation in concert; and notes on registrations for use on his house organ at Meudon.

Sub-series B: Dossier of themes submitted by renowned individuals
This sub-series is comprised of the contents of a dossier, collated by MD himself, of themes that were submitted to him for improvisation in concert. The themes were all received from renowned individuals, and were in most cases signed and/or dated by their originators; those that were not were annotated by MD in his own hand after the fact. The themes are not arranged in any particular order.

Series 5: Correspondence
This series is comprised of correspondence received from numerous individuals, including clerics (cardinals, archbishops, and bishops) who wrote to MD. Three named dossiers are also present: one containing Conservatoire correspondence, one containing correspondence from Charles Kiesgen, and one regarding the Alexandre Guilmant centenary (1937).

Series 6: Publicity
This series is comprised of a variety of biographical items and press items. In addition, a typescript works list is present.

Series 7: Sound recordings
This series is comprised of sound recordings featuring MD playing his own works for organ.

Series 8: Published matter
This series is comprised of a variety of published matter collected by MD.

Series 9: Other professional projects


Comprised of holdings of organ literature, whether actively used by RF in study and performance, or whether presented to her; these include those scores given to her by Marcel Dupré. Series 2 comprises copies of publications presented by Sylviane Falcinelli.

Series 1: Published literature

Series 2 & Series 3: Published editions of works composed and/or edited by RF


This sub-group has been created for ease of filing, and is comprised of documents that are physically anomalous in that they supersede the dimensions of the record storage containers assigned to their respective series and sub-series. The individual folder entries are annotated with
respect to the sub-group and series numbers from which the given documents were separated.