Feminine Musique

Nadia Boulanger

Nadia Boulanger entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 10 and by the time she was 16 she had won every applicable award there. Her sister Lili (1893-1918) followed in her footsteps, in fact studying with Nadia for a time, and became the first woman to win the coveted Prix de Rome for composition, in 1908. After Lili's death at the age of 25, Nadia withdrew from composing. She became one of the most influential teachers of composition in the 20th century, as well as being a pioneering female conductor. When asked what it was like to be a woman in a position traditionally held only by men, she famously replied: 'I've been a woman for a little more than fifty years, and I've gotten over my original astonishment.'

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