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Fri, 09.16.1887

Nadia Boulanger, Music Teacher born

Nadia Boulanger

*Nadia Boulanger was born on September 16, 1887. She was a white French music teacher, conductor, and composer.

From a musical family, from the age of seven, Juliette Nadia Boulanger studied in preparation for her Conservatoire entrance exams, sitting in on their classes and having private lessons with its teachers. She achieved early honors as a student at the Conservatoire de Paris. Believing that she had no talent as a composer, she gave up writing music and became a teacher.

There, she influenced generations of young composers, especially those from the United States and other English-speaking countries. Boulanger accepted pupils from any background; her only criterion was that they had to want to learn. She treated students differently depending on their ability: her talented students answered the most rigorous questions and performed well under stress.

Among her students were many important composers, soloists, arrangers, and conductors, including Grażyna Bacewicz, Daniel Barenboim, Lennox Berkeley, İdil Biret, Elliott Carter, Aaron Copland, David Diamond, John Eliot Gardiner, Philip Glass, Roy Harris, Quincy Jones, Dinu Lipatti, Igor Markevitch, Julia Perry, Astor Piazzolla, Laurence Rosenthal, Virgil Thomson, and George Walker.

Boulanger was the first woman to conduct many major orchestras in America and Europe, including the BBC Symphony, Boston Symphony, Hallé, and Philadelphia orchestras. She conducted several world premieres, including works by Copland and Stravinsky. Boulanger taught in the U.S. and England, working with music academies, including the Juilliard School, the Yehudi Menuhin School, the Longy School, the Royal College of Music, and the Royal Academy of Music.

Still, her principal base for most of her life was her family's flat in Paris, where she taught for most of the seven decades from the start of her career until her death at 92. Nadia Boulanger, who taught many of the leading composers and musicians of the 20th century and performed occasionally as a pianist and organist, died on October 22, 1979.

To Become a Conductor or Composer
To Become a professor


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