Jean Fournet († November 3, 2008)
Jean Fournet was Chief Conductor of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra from 1961 to 1978 and later Chief of Orchestra Standing Invite. For over fifty years, Jean Fournet played a prominent role in the international music world. He was considered an authority in the interpretation of French music. His close collaboration with the most important French composers of his time earned him the title 'the great defender of the French style' (New York Times).
Jean Fournet completed his studies at the National Conservatory in Paris with a 'premier prix'. Until 1957 he was artistic director of the Opera Comique and conductor of the Paris Opera. He taught conducting at the École Normale de Paris from 1945 to 1962, at the express wish of the school's founder and director, the well-known pianist Alfred Cortot. For many years he led the Conductors Masterclass of the NOS and was also chairman of the jury at the international conducting competition in Besançon. Fournet's relationship with the Netherlands goes back to 1950, the year in which he made his debut with the Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. He was chief conductor of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra from 1961 to 1978 and also chief conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra from 1968 to 1973.
From Amsterdam to Tokyo
Jean Fournet was active not only in the Netherlands but also in Japan, where he conducted the major orchestras. He was permanent guest conductor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. Fournet made recordings with the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and the New Philharmonic Orchestra of Japan for the Japanese labels ALM-Kojima and Fontec.