Gérard Billaudot Éditeur
Founded by Louis Billaudot (1871-1936), our Publishing House remains a family business since his two sons, Robert (1910-1981) and Gérard (1911-1986), succeeded him.
The latter ran the company as of 1957, with his son-in-law, François Derveaux, taking over in 1979 within a new structure: Gérard Billaudot Editeur SA. Currently, his second daughter, Florence, runs the company, so the fourth generation continues to carry the musical flame.
A few dates
Our history begins during the military service of Louis Billaudot (1871-1936), which he had undertaken after having to interrupt his studies at the Saint-Cyr military academy due to an accident. During his service , he met Mr Mauclair who informed him that the small music publishing house where he worked was being put up for sale: Editions Alphonse Laurens, located at 21 rue du faubourg Saint-Denis, on the edge of what was Paris's music publishing neighbourhood at the end of the 19th century. At that time, small and large houses were quite numerous.
Louis Billaudot, then aged 25 and having lost his father when he was 11, devoted part of his inheritance to buying this firm, of which he took over the management in the early years. It was an unusual way of becoming a music publisher. In fact, in the 19th century, numerous publishing houses were founded by the composers or musicians themselves, by clerks buying out the firm in which they worked, or by founding a house after training in the professional environment.
Our publishing house was born differently, the result of a fortuitous but constructive and lasting encounter with the publishing trade.
The Billaudot family
Léopold Billaudot (1832-1882), father of the House's founder, Louis Billaudot, was a chemical engineer whose place of business was in the Place de la Sorbonne where he was known as 'Billaudot-Sorbonne'.
Louis Billaudot's two brothers, Georges, a graduate of Saint-Cyr who had married Élise Lazard, and René, always helped him in his editorial enterprises, as several family documents show.
In 1909, Louis Billaudot met his future wife, Maria Verrier, an excellent pianist with whom he had three children: Robert (1910-1981), Gérard (1911-1986) and Jeannine (1913). The two sons joined the firm – in 1927 and 1928 respectively – and ran it following their father's death in 1936.
Alongside their professional life, Robert and Gérard were avid tennis players. Robert was ranked in the first series, and Gérard, leader of the second series (sometimes having the composer Maurice Ohana as a partner). Robert wed twice: Michèle Berrurier and, later, Lucienne Duparcq. During the Second World War, as an escaped prisoner, he sought refuge in Lyon where it is presumed he created a branch of the firm at 4 rue Sainte-Catherine, an address still found on some of the House's old scores from that period. He withdrew from publishing in 1957 for health reasons, leaving his brother Gérard the property and direction of the publishing company. But Robert did not stop for all that and, alongside a quadriplegic, participated in founding the support association for the handicapped at the hospital in Garches, outside of Paris, an activity to which he devoted his time up until his death.
Gérard also played field hockey on a pitch where he met his future wife, Nicole Balas, with whom he would have six children: Francine (1938), a medical doctor, Bernard (1940), a graduate of Polytechnique and dean of faculty; Monique (1944), degree in psycho-motility; Odile (1946), physical therapist, Anne (1947), a masters in art history, Marie-Noëlle (1953-1990), a masters in geography and a state diploma in pottery.
Two of the six children are still involved in the publishing milieu: Francine, with whom François Derveaux created the current music publishing company, and Anne who ran the theatrical publishing branch with her husband.
President of the firm, François Derveaux did not suspect that, by marrying Francine Billaudot in 1969, he would find himself at the head of the publishing house for 25 years. Born in 1940, the son of Alfred Derveaux, advertising head, company administrator and knowledgeable opera buff, and Bérangère Lhuillier, amateur violinist and singer, he spent 15 years in the profession of works council for before taking over the management of the company, in perfect conformity with its familial cultural environment.
From his marriage with Francine Billaudot, two children were born: Muriel Derveaux Issartel and Florence Derveaux, the current Director since 2007.
Such is, in broad strokes, the history of our family, which, for four generations of publishers, has always striven to remain attuned to the needs of the musical milieu: composers, instrumentalists, teachers and students.
The constitution and evolution of the publishing house:
a double development
The constitution of our house is characterised by a double development carried out in parallel: external and internal.
Up until the early 1920s, Louis Billaudot built up his publishing house by buying-out several small publishers whose catalogues reflected the needs of the period: songs, works for wind and brass bands, incidental music (for the theatre and silent films), operettas, and teaching manuals focussing primarily on wind instruments and musical training.
His meeting Mauclair during his military service enabled him to take over the management of the Alphonse Laurens catalogue in 1896, becoming the owner in 1902. This was followed by the buy-outs listed in the table at the end of the chapter, illustrating the House's external development in relation to the successive contribution of other publishing houses, which continues to the present day.
The Auguste Cordier business, bought in 1903, illustrates the previous remark concerning the diversity of works, as do the firms of Victor Lory, bought in 1905, Edmond Gobert (1907) and Georges Tilliard (1914), the latter being a composer himself, successor to his father, who was the founder of their publishing house.
This first period ended in 1918 with the purchase of the Jules Guille business, in Montargis, still in the same speciality of wind and brass bands.
After the First World War, the orientations diversified with the purchase of the Virgile Thomas catalogue in 1921, which, in addition to musical works, included a theatre collection with, in particular, works he had authored, then the Albert Pinatel catalogue in 1926, consisting of vocal works for use in schools and churches. This second orientation was supplemented by the purchase, from Louis Stiquel, of the Librairie Théâtrale, an old bookshop founded in the first half of the 19th century. Since its founding, the Librairie Théâtrale has always been located in the theatre district in Paris's 9th arrondissement.
This business of the Billaudot family, now located at 3 rue Marivaux (Place de l’Opéra-Comique), is little known but still going, ran by Anne Billaudot (Gérard Billaudot's fifth child) and her husband, Thierry Orgeolet. Not only a bookshop specialising in the theatre, it is also the publisher of theatrical works and books about the theatre (Traité de scénographie, Lumière pour le spectacle, Histoire du théâtre, in particular).
After the Second World War, some more wind and brass band catalogues were bought, including those of Albert Béthune in 1945 and Jacques Pitault in 1961 (more oriented towards popular and art songs).
But in 1958, after Robert Billaudot's leaving publishing and the sale of the wind and brass band catalogue to Éditions Robert Martin, Gérard Billaudot began acquiring publishing houses specialising in teaching manuals and instrumental, symphonic and lyric works: a new orientation for our house.
1958 was an important year with the purchase of Éditions Costallat, which had acquired Richault in 1903. In the 19th century, the Richault catalogue was one of the largest and most important in France, being the publisher of Berlioz, Liszt, Alkan, Hummel, Moscheles, Boëly... At the time of Costallat's buy-out, this collection had diminished considerably. Similarly, when our firm bought out Éditions Costallat, that catalogue included many works that were out of print but otherwise excellent, and good composers arrived in our house, serving as the basis for the new start initiated by Gérard Billaudot.
Then, in 1962, came the turn of Édition Andrieu Frères of which Billaudot kept the educational works, with the instrumental scores and works for wind and brass bands going to Éditions Robert Martin, in keeping with prior agreements. In 1964, we acquired the Fougeray-Leblanc catalogue, consisting of instrumental works as well as others for wind and brass bands, the latter again going to Éditions Robert Martin.
1966 marked an important new year with the acquisition of the Noël catalogue. Albert Noël, the associate of Félix Mackar, had become in 1878 the publisher-franchiser of the works of Tchaikovsky, some of which still appear in our catalogue in the original edition. On his own, Albert Noël had bought the O’Kelly catalogue, which was owner of the Schœn collection, the original publisher of the famous Le Carpentier piano tutor, of which a million copies had already been sold by 1914. When, after the Second World War, Tchaikovsky's works were no longer protected by copyright, Albert Noël's son Pierre had reoriented the house by publishing good teaching manuals and giving their chance to young composers such as Maurice Ohana, André Jolivet, Jean Rivier, Georges Delerue and Antoine Tisné.
In 1973, Édition Louis Jacquot joined the firm with educational works such as the famous solfège Rodolphe, the songs of Gustave Goublier and choral scores.
In 1980, the Henri Maquaire catalogue entered the firm, followed by that of Le Petit Duc in 1987.
1988 was a good new year with the arrival of Éditions Françaises de Musique, founded by Henry Barraud who was, at the time, director of music for French Radio (since become Radio France), a collection reflecting contemporary creation from 1947 to 1975 and also consisting of works of the great repertoire.
1993 witnessed the last acquisition to date with a drum corps collection, a return to the beginnings of our firm: Édition de la Forêt de Retz.
This long enumeration shows the three major periods of our firm's external development: from the founding to1920, 1921-1958, and from 1959 up to the present day, that will be found differently in the following chapter, devoted to internal development. This enumeration also shows the patient construction of our firm in each of its orientations, with the difficulty of integrating every new catalogue into the practices and operations of Éditions Billaudot.
• From the founding to 1920: The period of maturation for Louis Billaudot who devoted himself almost exclusively to bringing together other publishers' catalogues. Few works appeared under Louis Billaudot's copyright during this first period, but exclusively for wind, brass or village bands.
• 1921-58: Louis Billaudot, then his two sons, developed the publication of works for wind and brass bands, whilst proposing, especially after the Second World War, musical instruments and accessories (buy-out of the wholesaler Simonin-Cuny).
In the 1920s, numerous arrangements by M. Bouchel on the great operas and ballets such as Manon, Lakmé, Coppélia, Faust, Werther, and La Fille du Tambour-Major, were published for wind and brass bands. Teaching aids were published, including la Méthode élémentaire de musique vocale by L. Girard and H. Gutier, and le Livre de lectures musicales by P. Schlosser.
By the end of this period, which witnessed the sale of the wind and brass band catalogues to Éditions Robert Martin, Éditions Billaudot had 25 employees.
• 1959-79: The new orientation determined by Gérard Billaudot, who remained alone at the head of the house, consisted of two branches: on the one hand, works for teaching music, and on the other, instrumental and orchestral scores.
The educational sector was based on existing texts and developed by the exploitation of and numerous new editions from the Costallat-Richault catalogues.
Moreover, numerous new educational titles were published, such as Alain Grimoin and Marie-Jeanne Bourdeaux's Solfège, L’ABC de la flûte by Robert Hériché and Six cordes... une guitare by Jean-Maurice Mourat, which accompanied the plan for teaching music set up by Marcel Landowski, Director of Music for the Ministry of Culture (read Jacques Castérède's article below). Instrumental works for young people were published at the same time as others for experienced instrumentalists. Finally, orchestral works by composers such as André Jolivet, Maurice Ohana, Pierre-Max Dubois and Antoine Tisné saw the day.
This was also the period of the creation of collections headed by instrumentalists seeking to develop a repertoire for their instrument. Thus, Maurice André, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Jacques Lancelot, Maurice Allard, Pierre Pierlot, Robert Veyron-Lacroix, Maxence Larrieu and Marie-Claire Alain, in particular, joined the house.
• 1980-1996: The previous orientation was accentuated by adapting the works to new teaching methods such as musical training. In accordance with the FNUCMU (National Federation of Music Conservatory Unions), of which Maurice Gevaudan was president at the time, a series of musical training books was published, co-authored by Michel Vergnault, Henri-Claude Fantapié, Maris-Luce Lucas and Dia Succari.
A collection headed by Aline Holstein, Jacques Dauchy and Marc Bleuse would publish the works of Jean-Clément Jollet with considerable success. In addition, an opening was made with the publication of works for teaching music in school.
• Since 2000, the collection run by Emmanuel Gaultier and Chantal Boulay has brought forth a variety of works, pedagogical as well as vocal. The catalogue has grown thanks to new collection directors such as Philippe Bernold, Philippe Fritsch, Jean-Yves Fourmeau, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon…
But our house is also the publisher of numerous contemporary composers including Patrick Burgan, Jacques Castérède, Qigang Chen, Marc-André Dalbavie, Jean-Michel Damase, Edison Denisov, Bertrand Dubedout, Thierry Escaich, Graciane Finzi, Philippe Hurel, Philippe Leroux, Betsy Jolas, Fabien Lévy, Serge Nigg, Germaine Tailleferre, Alexandre Tansman, Guillaume Connesson, Martin Matalon, Ondrej Adamek, Oscar Strasnoy, Henri Dutilleux, Karol Beffa, Franck Bedrossian, Pascal Zavaro, Laurent Cuniot, Anthony Girard and François Paris, without any exclusive aesthetic.
Finally, in the framework of the revelation of the French musical heritage, our firm has published since 1993 five works from the monumental edition of the works of Jean-Philippe Rameau, with the support, in particular, of Musica Gallica.
From a family source, Louis Billaudot began exercising his profession in 1896 at the age of 25 by founding a company in his own name and continuing up until his death in 1936.
On 6 April 1937, his widow, Maria Verrier, and three children, Robert, Gérard and Jeannine, formed an SARL (limited company) Éditions Billaudot, with a capital of 380,000 F.
On 4 July 1957 the shareholders' extraordinary general meeting decided to convert this into the Société Anonyme Éditions Billaudot.
19 July 1979: creation, by Francine and François Derveaux and a few family associates, of the Société Anonyme Gérard Billaudot Éditeur, with a capital of 100,000 F, later raised to 450,000 F (or 72,000 €) , which bought out the catalogue of music publishing and opera librettos (the theatre catalogue would be bought out a few years later by the SARL Librairie Théâtrale founded by Anne and Thierry Orgeolet)
We have had the good fortune that a family agreement was carried out with every generation so that the new director become owner of the publishing catalogue. Many publishing houses have disappeared or been paralysed or sold when that problem could not be resolved.
Gérard Billaudot Éditeur staff
Eléonore Boeglin, Delphine Butin, Christine Chalat, Christophe Dardenne, Florence Derveaux, François Derveaux, Florent Dhée, Hakim Duriez, Rached Ellouze, Stéphane Gougeat, Jean-Michel Issartel, Nathalie Joubert, Fabrice Laurent, Ludivine Lecureur, Alain Lejeune, Patricia Lemouel and Didier Massiat
Communication area: downloadable documents
Order form for documentation for teachers
[ pdf - 276 Kb ]
General Sales Conditions for retailers [ pdf - 32 Kb ]
Request for graphic reproduction [ pdf - 77 Kb ]
RIB - IBAN of Gérard Billaudot Éditeur [ pdf - 257 Kb ]
Association Française des Orchestres
Chambre syndicale des Éditeurs de Musique de France
Musique Nouvelle en Liberté
Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques
Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique
Société pour l'administration du Droit de Reproduction Mécanique
With our thanks for their support:
Le Fonds pour la Création Musicale