Currently Gabriel Pierné is primarily known as a conductor. From 1910 till 1933 he was the principal conductor of the concert series Concerts Colonne. He also led the premiere of Stravinsky's ballet The Firebird, performed by the Ballets Russes, for whom he also composed three succesful ballets.
Most of Pierné's compositions are forgotten today. Yet he was he striking figure of the French organ school, who succeeded César Franck as organist at the Sainte-Clotilde Basilica in Paris in 1890, where he displayed his talent on the organ of the influential builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.
Besides a modest number of organ works, his oeuvre consists of operas, ballets, oratorios, orchestral works and chamber music. All of his works are marked by the influences of his teachers Franck and Massenet and a clear technique. His most famous works are the oratorio La Croisade des Enfants, Introduction et variations sur une ronde populaire for saxophone quartet and the Marche des petits soldats de plomb for piano.