Berthier studied piano, organ and composition. From 1953 to 1960 he was organist at the Cathedral of Auxerre and since 1961 at the St. Ignatius Church in Paris.
Together with Fr Robert Giscard and Joseph Gelineau SJ since 1974, he developed the genre " songs of Taizé ." He composed for Taizé 284 ( in the current songbook of Taizé, there are 71) short, polyphonic songs with instrumental accompaniments, often sung by soloists overruling. The most famous include Laudate omnes gentes and Ubi caritas. ( By contrast, comes the often falsely so called Taizé - Alleluia not his. )
In the German -speaking world a couple of songs by Jacques Berthier were included in the hymnal praise of God, some in the Protestant hymnal. Jacques Berthier also composed other church music ( such as fairs and works for organ ), but his " songs of Taizé " are to be regarded with certainty as the most widespread contemporary Christian music.
In 2006, he was posthumously awarded the Jubilate Deo Award. Accepted the award on their behalf, Fr Jean -Marie of Taizé.
Songs in Taizé songbook
( Numbers refer to the songbook 2010/2011)