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Ms. Coll. 125

Boulanger, Nadia, Collector. Scores by American Composers: A Guide. 1925-1972

Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge MA 02138

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Merrit Room
Call No.: Ms. Coll. 125
Repository: Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979)
Title: Boulanger, Nadia, Collector. Scores by American Composers: A Guide.
Date(s): 1925-1972
Quantity: 1 collection (42 Boxes, including 10 oversize)
Abstract: This collection contains musical scores submitted by the students of French composer Nadia Boulanger while attending the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, France.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Donated by the estate of Nadia Boulanger c. 1980s

Processed by:

Carl Leafstedt, Emilyn L. Brown

Biographical Note

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.


Arranged alphabetically by composer

Scope and Content

The Nadia Boulanger collection mainly consists of musical scores in manuscript and print format. These scores were submitted toNadia Boulanger by her students during the years she taught at the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, which she founded in 1921. Her American students included Aaron Copland, Roger Sessions, Virgil Thomson and many other notable composers. Correspondence, programs, greeting cards, sketches and ephemera are also included in the collection.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Composition (Music).
Women composers–20th century.
Greeting cards.
Boulanger, Nadia, 1887-1979.
Boulanger, Lili, 1893–1918.
Chanler, Theodore (Ward), 1902–1961.
Copland, Aaron, 1900–1990.
Diamond,David L. 1915–2005.
Mekeel, Joyce, 1931-1997.
Rodriguez, Robert Xavier, 1946–.
Rorem, Ned, 1923–.
Sessions, Roger, 1896–1985.
Talma, Louise, 1906–1996.
Thomson, Virgil, 1896–1989.
Wagner, Joseph Frederick, 1900–1974.
American Conservatory.