Nadia Boulanger

16/09/1887 Paris, 22/10/1979 Paris  

Nadia Boulanger (1887–1979) was a pedagogue, conductor, and composer, as well as one of the most influential figures in 20th-century music history. After studying at the Paris Conservatoire, she won several awards, including the famous Prix de Rome, but then concentrated more and more on teaching. In 1920 she became professor of composition at the École normale de musique in Paris and taught at the Conservatoire américain in Fontainebleau. During World War II, she lived in the United States, where she held courses at the Juilliard School and elsewhere, before returning to Paris. Many great composers and musicians were her students: Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Jean Françaix, Darius Milhaud, Daniel Barenboim, Dinu Lipatti, Philip Glass and more. She was also conductor of the Princely Chapel of Monaco and performed in concerts in France and abroad as a performer and conductor; her sister Lili Boulanger also became known as a composer. In 1924 Boulanger, who also wrote an opera La Ville Morte, was the soloist in the premiere of Aaron Copland’s Symphony for Organ and Orchestra, Igor Stravinsky entrusted her with the premiere of his Dumbarton Oaks concerto in Washington in 1938. Boulanger was one of the first woman to conduct a symphony orchestra (Nov. 4, 1937, in London) and received numerous honors, such as an honorary doctorate from Harvard University.

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