René Herbin, born in 1911, in Vitry-le-François, was to know a particularly tragic destiny.

An  exceptional  pianist, his  works  for piano  reveal  an  unbelievable sense of virtuosity. He began a double career as concert pianist and  composer after studies at the Paris Conservatory He was noticed  by violoncellist Maurice Maréchal who asked him to accompany him onnumerous tours, notably to the Far East in 1937.

This  youthful  joyousness  was  to be abruptly cut short  with  the  arrival  of  the war. Called to duty in 1939, he was taken  prisoner and  brought  to Germany  where he would remain for almost five years in different camps.

His output  during the years of captivity is particularly rich. A simple little notebook in which he would jot down ideas here and there never left him. Numerous works came to see the light of  day during this period  including  the Sonata for violin and piano, « Deidre des Douleurs » for chamber  orchestra, the  piano Sonata,  works written in the most precarious of conditions during moments stolen from laborious work and other activities imposed on prisoners.

After  two years, detention conditions being lightened somewhat, certain improvised concerts were able to be organized  with the  help of other unfortunate  companions; they would be the first to hear several new musical works.


Upon  his return to Paris in 1945, René  HERBIN revived his career as pianist, participated in chamber music  concerts and  devoted himself  with  much intensity to composition. It was in 1949  that  the Quartet  with piano  had  its  first hearing thanks to the PASQUIER trio. There were  more  and  more  commissions  from  the  Radio and the State among which we can cite

« Trois Songes » for orchestra (1951) and the Piano concerto (1952) which was premiered by Vlado PERLEMUTER in 1956.


In 1952-53, René HERBIN  accompanied  Jacques THIBAUD  in some of his concerts. Once again, and this time definitively, the collaboration  was to be ended with the airplane accident of  September 1,1953 which would claim Herbin's life as well as that of the great violinist.

A  discreet,  secrective  and  passionate  man,  René   HERBIN  was  greatly  admired  by  his contemporaries  Florent  SCHMITT,  Henri  DUTILLEUX  and  Alexandre TANSMAN who would  write  «... a  distinctly  personal  talent  manifests   itself  in  th e works  for  orchestra,  chamber  music  and  piano.   A  rich melodic gift, a very personalized use of harmony, a true lyricism and perfect utilisation of the instruments.»