Maurice André was born on May 21, 1933, in Alès, near Nimes, France. His father was a trumpet-playing coal miner. The younger learned to play trumpet from his father, and he became an apprentice coal miner at the age of 14, remaining in that job until he was 18. (He reported that his father played the instrument with great endurance.) Maurice's brother Raymond was also a trumpeter and had appeared in concert with Maurice. André was accepted into the Paris Conservatory in 1951. He studied with Sabarich and Barthélémy. After both his first and second years he won first prize in cornet and in trumpet. He joined the Lamoureux Orchestra (1953-1960), the French Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (1953-1962), and the orchestra of the Opéra-Comique (1962-1967). He also played in jazz groups. In 1955 he won first prize in an international competition in Geneva. A similar and even more brilliant victory in the International Music Competition of the German Radio, in Munich in 1963, launched his unprecedented solo trumpet career.
He made his American debut as a soloist with the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra as it toured. After then, he had an active concertizing, touring, and recording career that embraces virtually the entire period of trumpet solo music from Baroque to avant-garde. He was a particular champion of the Baroque repertoire and important in popularizing the use of the small piccolo trumpet (in the keys D or E flat) in such music. He made nearly 300 recordings, including recordings of over 30 concertos. Among the composers from whom he commissioned trumpet works are Jolivet, Blacher, and Tomasi. His trumpet playing had the expected virtues of brilliance, power, and endurance, and he combined his technical skills with a warm, even jolly, stage presence. He had a strong interest in the various varieties and makes of trumpets, had built a collection of nearly 100 instruments, and designed a four-valved piccolo trumpet, made by Selmer, which proved to be exceptionally successful among top-rate players. He remained a consultant for Selmer until January 1973. He succeeded his teacher Sabarich as a professor of trumpet at the Paris Conservatory in 1967.