Boulanger, Nadia, 1887-1979

Alternative names
Birth 1887-09-16
Death 1979-10-22
French, English

Biographical notes:

French composer and music teacher.

From the description of [Letter] 1977 October 27 [to] Dear Mr. Wilson 1977. (Bowling Green State University). WorldCat record id: 755584222

Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) was a Parisian composer, music teacher and conductor.

From the description of Nadia Boulanger American music scores, 1925-1937 and undated. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 612769739

French composer and composition teacher.

From the description of Nadia Boulanger letters : to Docteur D. Parenteau, 1908-1923. (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 63936726

French teacher of composition.

From the description of Nadia Boulanger letter facsimile to Elliott Carter, 1979 Jan. 30. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 636586858

French teacher, conductor, and composer.

From the description of Autograph letter signed, Printed Document signed, and Note signed on her visiting card, dated : [Paris], 11 August 1957, 1957, and 15 September 1957, to Joseph Chouinard, 1957 Aug. 11. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270906416

From the description of Autograph letters signed (11), dated : Paris, Cambridge, Mass., Indianapolis [and other places], 1924-39 [and n.d.], to [Harry Harkness] Flagler, 1924 May 12, 1925 Feb. 7, 1924-1939, and n.d. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270673112

French composer.

From the description of [Album leaf with unidentified music] : autograph manuscript, 1925 Feb. 27. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270561936

b Paris. Sister of Lili Boulanger.

Epithet: teacher and conductor

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001296.0x00034e

Biographical Note

Little is known about Mrs. Cameron (Harriet) Winslow and her relationship with Nadia Boulanger. From 1956-1964, Winslow, then a resident of Washington, DC, received a variety of programs, clippings, and photographs from Boulanger, most signed and dated with simple messages, such as, "Pour Harriet de tout coeur." These items suggest that the two may have been friends, although reference sources on Boulanger bear no mention of her relationship with Winslow.

From the guide to the Harriet Winslow Collection of Nadia Boulanger Materials, 1956-1964, (Music Division Library of Congress)

Harrington Shortall was born to a wealthy Chicago family in 1895. He attended the Thatcher School in Ojai, California and Harvard University. Like many young American composers, Shortall studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. During World War I he served in the U.S. Navy, and afterwards began a life of music composition.

During the 1930s, Shortall’s work was included as part of the Federal Music Project Composer’s Forum, an event sponsored by the Works Progress Administration. In 1939 his "The Night is Well-Nigh Spent," was conducted by Nadia Boulanger at The Library of Congress Coolidge Theater.

Shortall was a composer for most of his adult life, although he rarely had his works published or performed after the 1940s. His work is characterized by its clarity, directness, and an embrace of pre-romantic compositional models. Simultaneously, it is music grounded in the everyday life and holiday celebrations of wealthy Chicagoans.

Shortall’s work as a music educator took two forms. He produced (although never published) a piano method book, and served as a lecturer at The Chicago Theological Seminary and Rosary College (now Dominican University) in River Forest, Illinois. Additionally, Shortall copied music from the collection of Chicago’s Newberry Library and produced his own treatises on music composition and theory.

During the 1940s, Shortall briefly taught courses at the Chicago Theological Seminary, Rosary College, and the Latin School. He died in Evanston in 1984.

From the guide to the Shortall, Harrington. Papers, 1907-1984, (Special Collections Research Center University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.)

Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) was a notable music teacher, conductor, and composer. Born in Paris, France, Nadia Boulanger was the oldest daughter of Ernest Boulanger, a composer and professor at the Paris Conservatory of Music, and Raïssa Myschetsky, an aspiring singer. Ms. Boulanger's musical training began at age 10 at the Paris Conservatory of Music. She excelled in harmony and composition and gained considerable public attention by the age of 17 after winning the second Grand Prix de Rome in Composition for a major work entitled Sirene. After graduating from the Paris Conservatory in 1908 she taught musical composition at various institutions, including the Conservatoire Femina-Musica, and the L'ecole Normale de la Musique.

Following the untimely death of her sister Lili Boulanger, also a gifted musician, and a brief period of mourning, Ms. Boulanger began to expand her professional activities. In 1921 she established the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau where she taught harmony, counterpoint and composition. Many of her students became highly influential in American music, including Joyce Mekeel, Virgil Thomson, Roger Sessions, Aaron Copland, and Philip Glass.

Ms. Boulanger also made several trips to the United States in this period. In 1925 she performed as an organist and in the years that followed, gave lectures and taught composition at many leading U.S. colleges and universities, including the Julliard School, Yale University, Wellesley, and Radcliffe.

By 1935, Ms. Boulanger had earned the distinction of being the first woman to conduct major symphony orchestras in Boston, Washington, D.C. and New York . She was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Maitre de Chapelle awarded by Prince Pierre of Monaco, as well as honorary doctoral degrees from Oxford and Harvard Universities. Ms. Boulanger died in Paris on October 22, 1979.

From the guide to the Boulanger, Nadia, Collector. Scores by American Composers: A Guide., 1925-1972, (Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)


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  • Songs (High voice) with piano
  • Costume--History
  • Musical sketches
  • Women conductors (Music)--France
  • Composers
  • Music teachers
  • Composition (Music)
  • Music teachers--France
  • Music--Manuscripts
  • Composers--Correspondence
  • Music teachers--Correspondence
  • Concert programs
  • Songs (medium voice) with piano
  • Women composers


  • Women composers
  • Collector
  • Composers
  • Women composers--20th century


  • France (as recorded)
  • France (as recorded)
  • France (as recorded)