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6.8.04

Teacher of America

Marc Chagall, Orpheus and Euridice, 1967An interesting announcement arrived in my mailbox yesterday. Twenty-five years ago, a great conductor and composer—who was the teacher of Aaron Copland, Elliot Carter, Quincy Jones, Philip Glass, Virgil Thomson, David Diamond, Roy Harris, Thea Musgrave, Daniel Pinkham, Walter Piston, and many others—died. Her name was Nadia Boulanger, and her influence on the development of American music is the subject of a symposium this fall. Nadia Boulanger and American Music will be held on October 7 to 9, 2004, in the American Music Research Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder. There will be performances of her music, lectures by composer David Conte and others, and an exhibit of art and other Boulanger materials at the CU Art Museum (September 9 to October 22). The exhibit will include the lithograph by Marc Chagall, shown here, commissioned by Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco in 1967, in honor of Nadia Boulanger's 80th birthday. Chagall signed it in the lower left corner, with the words "Pour Nadia Boulanger."

Nadia was a famous organist, too: she studied in her youth with Louis Vierne and was assistant organist to Gabriel Fauré at the Église de La Madeleine in Paris. She had a Mutin-Cavaillé-Coll organ installed in her apartment at 36, Rue Ballu. You can find out more about her at the Fondation Internationale Nadia et Lili Boulanger, which conserves a large portion of her personal papers. Another of Boulanger's students, composer Albert Alan Owen, has published his personal recollections of his studies with her on the Internet as Nadia Boulanger Remembered. Another appreciation was written by Leon Botstein, for the American Symphony Orchestra's 1997 to 1998 season.

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