In 1886, the Cortot family moved to Paris with the goal of having Alfred study at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse. At the time, his training and musicianship weren’t adequate and he was ultimately rejected. However, one of the Conservatory’s professors, Émile Decombes accepted him in his course as an observer. One year later, Alfred tried yet again to pass the entrance exam and, this time, succeeded. There, he had the chance to meet the students studying under Frédéric Chopin, which made a life-long impression upon him. In 1896, just shy of 19 years old, he played a brilliant rendition of the Quatrième Ballade de Chopin in front of a jury of the school’s faculty, who unanimously and named him, and only him, the winner.
Each year, the School welcomes more than one thousand students from over fifty countries, who have come to discover style, technique and attitude that have been transmitted from the beginning through our prestigious faculty members, including Paul Dukas, Arthur Honegger, Olivier Messiaen, Pablo Casals, Nadia Boulanger, Henri Dutilleux, André Navarra, Georges Enesco, and many more. Today the School has about 150 teachers.