Archive for June 26th, 2011


Nadia Boulanger was one of the great women of the 20th century…one of her students called her, “the most influential teacher since Socrates”…when “L’ecole De Fountainbleu” opened in Paris on June 26, 1921 she was its first teacher…among her hundreds of students were legends like Aaron Copeland, Philipp Glass, Quincy Jones, Dinu Lapatti,  and Igor Markevitch…one day in walked a young Astor Piazzolla his soul brimming with Mozart and Bach and dreaming of a classical music future but when he played one of his tango compositions she screamed at him…“You idiot, that’s Piazzolla”…looking back on a story book career many years later he would say “in a mere matter of ten seconds, she had sent to hell ten years of work”…more than any one else, it was Nadia Boulanger, who was responsible for the eventual emergence of the genius Astor Piazzolla…Nadia Boulanger came from a family of accomplished musicians; her grandfather Frederic Boulanger was a renown cellist in the 1790s…her father Ernest Boulanger was a composer, violinist and pianist


While performing in Russia, he met a young Russian princess Raisaa  Myschetsky whom he would later marry; she was twenty and he was 62 years old…out of the marriage would be born two daughters, Nadia and Lilli…when her father died unexpectedly, Nadia was forced to begin teaching at the age of thirteen to help support the family…it was an activity which she would continue in the same family house for the next seventy-five years…it is said that one day in walked George Gershwin but when he played she rejected him as a student saying to him, “I have nothing to teach you”….one her of her first students was her sister Lilli who was early on recognized as a musical prodigy but Lilli was of frail health and died at age 24; Nadia would never quite recover from the pain….she was the first woman to conduct several major symphony orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, The Boston Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra…she was fond of saying, “the essential condition of everything you do is choice, love, passion”


  • CLICK HERE – to see Nadia Boulnager teach a ten-year old child prodigy  Emile Naoumoff who was Nadia’s last disciple and would go on to become a renown concert pianist