Marcel Dupré was born in Rouen (Normandy, France). His family were musical. His father Albert Dupré was organist at the gothic abbey of St Ouen in Rouen. The young Marcel was a child prodigy. He entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1904, where he studied the piano and organ. His organ teachers were the most famous organists in France: Alexandre Guilmant and Louis Vierne, and also Charles-Marie Widor who taught him how to compose. In 1914, Dupré won the Grand Prix de Rome for his cantata, Psyché. Twelve years later, he became professor of organ at the Paris Conservatoire, and stayed in that job until 1954.
Dupré became famous for performing more than 2,000 organ recitals in Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia. In 1920 he gave a series of concerts at the Paris Conservatoire in which he played all the organ works by Johann Sebastian Bach from memory.
He soon became world-famous. In 1934 Widor resigned as organist at St. Sulpice in Paris, and Dupré took over the post, which he kept for the rest of his life.
From 1947 to 1954, he was director of the American Conservatory, which was in the Château de Fontainebleau near Paris. In 1954, Dupré took over from Claude Delvincourt (who had been killed in a car crash) as director of the Paris Conservatoire, where he stayed until 1956. He died at the age of 85.