Nadia Boulanger

Adhiti Chundur, Staff Writer

Born in Paris in 1887, Nadia Boulanger grew up around music. Her father was a distinguished professor at the Paris Conservatory. At the age of ten, she started her formal training in composition with renowned composer Gabriel Faure.

According to, “[Boulanger] in 1908 won second place in the Prix de Rome competition with her cantata La Sirene,” and a couple years later, her sister Lili Boulanger became the first woman to win first place, but died prematurely in 1918.

After the death of her sister, Boulanger stopped composing music and focused on teaching.

In 1921, Boulanger was appointed a professor at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau. During her time there, according to she became “the first woman to conduct an entire program of the Royal Philharmonic in London.”

Boulanger also became the first woman to conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

She had a huge impact on her pupils, and taught many well- known figures, such as Aaron Copland, Walter Piston, Thea Musgrave, Quincy Jones, and Philip Glass.

Boulanger died on October 22, 1979 in Paris.