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Featured Composer: Lili Boulanger

Lili Boulanger (1893-1918) was a French composer whose career was tragically cut short by a lifetime of dealing with illness. Yet, despite her short life, Boulanger produced some astounding music and was the first female winner of the Prix de Rome for her cantata Faust et Hélène.

Recognized as a prodigy from the age of 2, she began attending classes at the Paris Conservatoire with her sister Nadia at the age of 5, eventually studying theory, organ, piano, violin, cello, harp, harmony, counterpoint, and composition.

Her music was influenced by Debussy and other contemporaries, and is perhaps best remembered for her several cantatas and other large scale symphonic pieces. She has several smaller pieces for solo piano, comprised mostly of preludes and character pieces that are very effective.

Her legacy is continued through the Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund, a competition began in 1939 by Nadia Boulanger and now hosted at the University of Massachusetts Boston.


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