History of the competition

The Olivier Messiaen Competition, dedicated to contemporary piano music, was created in 1967 by Claude Samuel, as part of the Royan Festival.

Michel Béroff, 17 years old, won the first edition, whose jury was presided over by Olivier Messiaen himself. The competition was organized until 1972 and then became part of the international competitions of the City of Paris for three editions. The Competition was chaired by Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen in 2000, by Michel Béroff in 2003 and by Gilbert Amy in 2007.

In 2019, Bruno Messina, director of the EPCC Arts en Isère Dauphiné Alpes (AIDA), which is responsible for the artistic project of the Maison Messiaen and the Festival Messiaen au Pays de la Meije, is entrusted by Claude Samuel to revive the competition.

For this revival, the competition takes the form of an international organ competition organized in Lyon. An important spot was given to creation since a new work, commissioned from Philippe Hersant, was imposed on the candidates during the final round.

Since 2019, the EPCC AIDA has joined forces with two important cultural structures in the region: the even-numbered editions, dedicated to organ performance, take place in Lyon in partnership with the Auditorium-Orchestre national de Lyon, and the odd-numbered editions, dedicated to piano performance, are held in Grenoble in partnership with the MC2 (from 1st November 2023). The programs provided to the candidates include a musical commission and put works from Olivier Messiaen’s repertoire and new works into perspective.