Nadia and Lili Boulanger on Learning to Listen

Learning to Listen: Nadia and Lili Boulanger
nadia lili boulanger 1913
Nadia and Lili Boulenger, photographed in 1913.
Agence Meurisse (public domain)

Nadia Boulanger was born in the late 19th century and lived well into the 20th. After several failed attempts to win an international composition prize known as the Prix de Rome, Nadia set aside her own composing ambitions and turned her focus to teaching composition instead.

Her younger sister, Lili, did win the Prix de Rome, at the young age of 19. Lili was the first woman to win the prize.

Lili died quite young — at 24 — from Crohn's disease. Nadia lived for 92 years.

Nadia ended up teaching hundreds upon hundreds of students, several of whom became famous composers, like Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson, Roy Harris, Philip Glass and Astor Piazzolla.

Nadia taught at schools like the French School for Americans in Fontainebleau near Paris, Juilliard, the Yehudi Menuhin School and the Royal College of Music.

On today's Learning to Listen, hear works from Nadia and Lili, as well as a couple of Nadia's famous students.

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