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Bernac (real name, Bertin), Pierre

paris songs poulenc french

Bernac (real name, Bertin), Pierre, eminent French baritone and teacher; b. Paris, Jan. 12, 1899; d. Villeneuve-les-Avignon, Oct. 17, 1979. He received private voice lessons in Paris. He began his career as a singer rather late in life, being first engaged in finance as a member of his father’s brokerage house in Paris. His musical tastes were decidedly in the domain of modern French songs; on May 2, 1926, he made his debut recital in Paris with a program of songs by Francis Poulenc and Georges Auric; at other concerts he sang works by Debussy, Ravel, Honegger, and Milhaud. Eager to learn the art of German Heder, he went to Salzburg to study with Reinhold von Warlich. Returning to Paris, he devoted himself to concerts and to teaching. He became a lifelong friend to Poulenc, who wrote many songs for him and acted as his piano accompanist in many tours through Europe and America. He also conducted master classes in the U.S. and was on the faculty of the American Cons, at Fontainebleau. He publ. a valuable manual, The Interpretation of French Song (N.Y., 1970; 2 nd ed., 1976), and a monograph, Francis Poulenc: The Man and His Songs (N.Y., 1977).

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