Influential Pioneers: The Lives and Vocal Works of Nadia and Lili Boulanger

By Loralee Songer.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Nadia (1887-1979) and Lili Boulanger (1893-1918) are two of the best known women composers from the twentieth century as well as influential pioneers in the field of music. The musical works of the Boulanger sisters contain several connections and their compositional careers were closely linked during Lili’s short life. Both women were active composers of several mediums, yet many of their choral and vocal works are rather unknown. This paper presentation will begin with historical information about the lives of Nadia and Lili Boulanger, including their family and educational backgrounds. Next, I will discuss Nadia’s role as an influential teacher in the twentieth century, her impact on American composers, as well as several approaches to her teaching and contents of her classes. Finally, I will thoroughly discuss Nadia and Lili’s productivity and the compositional characteristics of their vocal works. Attente, Reflets, and Le Retour by Lili Boulanger as well as Élégie, Cantique, and Soleils Couchants by Nadia Boulanger will be analyzed (including several musical elements such as melody, harmony, dynamics, rhythm, and form) to support the previous information. I will conclude the presentation with an overview of Nadia and Lili’s reputations in the field of music and the overall importance of their vocal works and lives as women composers.

Keywords: Nadia Boulanger, Lili Boulanger, Vocal Works, French, Women Composers

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.71-80. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.039MB).

Prof. Loralee Songer

Adjunct Professor of Voice, Taylor University, Upland, Indiana, USA

Loralee Songer holds a Master of Music degree from Ball State University and a Bachelor of Music from Taylor University. Loralee is currently pursuing a Doctor of Arts degree in Vocal Performance and Choral Conducting from Ball State University. Ms. Songer is an adjunct faculty member at Taylor University, where she teaches private voice and conducts a 35-members women’s chorus. Recent conference appearances include the Hawaii International Conference of Arts and Humanities and the Festival of Women Composers in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Ms. Songer is an award winning soloist who performs with local and regional orchestras in Indiana. Performance highlights include Julius Caesar (Giulio Cesare in Egitto), Mozart’s Vesperae Solemnes de Confessore, Villa Lobos’s Magnificat-Alleluia, Berstein’s Mass, Handel’s Foundling Hospital Anthem, Duruflé’s Requiem, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Fauré’s Requiem, and Handel’s Messiah.

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