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He was the son of a General of the French army. His mother taught him to play the piano, but he had a mild form of polio and hit the skill in his legs and feet. Because of his problems with the pedals he chose therefore for the cello.
He completed his studies at the Conservatoire de Paris in 1923 when he was seventeen years old. He was hailed as "the cellist of the future" and received praise for his virtuosity and technique with the bow. He became known when he joined the Orchestre Colonne played, in 1925, and made tours around the world. He took the completeChamber music of Brahms and Schubert for the BBC (these recordings are lost). He is also highly appreciated for his recordings of the Bach suites; that are still considered among the best recordings of these suites are made of.
From 1956 he went live in Switzerland , but he never gave his French nationality. Pierre Fournier was an officer of the Légion d'honneur, an officer of the Arts et des Lettresand Commander of l'ordre Léopold II.
Until two years before his death he continued to occur. He died at the age of 79 in Geneva. Where he also taught: the British cellist Julian Lloyd Webber was one of his pupils.
Grammy Award for best chamber music performance: