Rolande Falcinelli was born in Paris on the 18th of February 1920. She began the study of piano and solfège at the age of five. In 1927 she performed, along with the Republican Guard, at a concert in the now demolished Trocadero.
In 1932 she entered the Paris Conservatory where she won the 1st medal for solfège in 1933, harmony and piano accompaniment in 1938 and, in 1939, the 1st prize for fugue and 2nd for composition (both her first attempt). For reasons due to the war she began to study the organ, and, in 1942, after only one year in Marcel Dupré's calss, won the 1st prize for organ and improvisation. That same year she won (on her first attempt) the Second Grand Prix de Rome.
The Rossini Prize (of the Institut de France) was awarded to her in 1941 for her oratorio ("La Messiade" (the first woman ever to win this prize).
In 1945-46 she becam titular organist of the Basilique de Sacré-Coeur. Two years later she played from memory the complete works of Marcel Dupré at the Salle Pleyel. From 1948 to 1955 she taught organ at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleu, and at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris. Then, from 1955 to 1986, she succeeded her teacher, Marcel Dupré, as professor of organ at the Paris Conservatory where 66 of her students won 1st prizes. The majority of her former students are presently cathedral organists, professors at major conservatories, and concert artists.
During the course of her concert career she gave performaces in the U.S.A., Canada, and throughout Europe. Her extensive catalogue of compositions comprises vocal, chamber, piano and orchestral works in addition to those for organ.