Ann Labounsky (b. 1939) is widely known, both in the United States and in Europe, as a virtuoso performer and improviser at the organ and particularly as a leading American disciple of Jean Langlais. From 1962 to 1964 she lived and studied in Paris as a Fulbright scholar. There, as an organ student of André Marchal and Jean Langlais, she immersed herself in the French organ tradition, studying many of Langlais’s organ compositions with the composer, and playing them for him on the organ at Sainte-Clotilde. In 1964, as Langlais’s student at the Schola Cantorum, she was awarded Diplôme de Virtuosité with Mention Maximum in both performance and improvisation, the first American organist to be so honored.
Ms. Labounsky has been a frequent concert performer on two continents, including a number of recitals on the organ at Sainte-Clotilde. Her performances have been broadcast over the French National Radio, as well as public radio stations in the United States. Her undergraduate and graduate degrees in organ were earned at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Michigan. She also holds the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Musicology from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of a biography of Langlais, Jean Langlais: The Man and His Music, (Amadeus Press, 2000). In celebration of the centennial of Jean Langlais in 2007, the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Guild of Organists produced a DVD entitled Life and Music of Jean Langlais for which she was the narrator and performer at the Pasadena Presbyterian Church in Pasadena, California.
She serves as a professor of music and chairman of the Organ and Sacred Music degree programs at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she oversees undergraduate and graduate programs in sacred music. Labounsky holds the position of Organ Artist in Residence at First Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh.
Books & Recordings
Jean Langlais, The Man & His Music
Religious and sensual, selfish yet humble, a loyal friend with a competitive streak, Langlais (1907-1991) was a complex and sometimes contradictory personality who was one of the glories of 20th-century French music. As scholar, organist, and a favorite pupil of her subject, Ann Labounsky provides the biography of this famous blind organist and composer, for 40+ years the organist at St-Clotilde in Paris, maintaining the deeply spiritual musical legacy of his predecessors Franck and Tournemire. 392 pages hardbound.
The Complete Organ Works of Jean Langlais
The Complete Organ Works of Jean Langlais, a collection of 26 CDs with accompanying book. The definitive recordings made under the direct supervision of the composer by Ann Labounsky, leading American disciple and author of his biography and DVD.
A DVD documentary, Life and Music of Jean Langlais, is available and may be ordered online. This DVD features Ann Labounsky as narrator and performer, and has been professionally produced based on her research and scholarship.
Now available in both American (NTSC) and European (PAL) DVD formats.