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BOULANGER, Lili (1893-1918)

An undisputed star of French music, Julie-Marie Olga Boulanger, known as Lili, was born into a family of musicians: her grandfather played cello at the Chapelle Royale, her father was a composer and professor of singing at the Paris Conservatoire (Ernest Boulanger, Prix de Rome in 1835), her mother was a singer (the Russian countess, Raïssa Mychetska) and her sister was an organist and composer (Nadia). She suffered frail health from a very young age: she caught pneumonia when she was two and remained sickly until the end of her life.  She studied music with her sister and received guidance from time to time from the great names in French music who surrounded her family (particularly Fauré and Pugno). In 1909, she entered the Paris Conservatoire and studied composition under Caussade, Vidal and Emmanuel. Her first cantatas date from 1911 and she was awarded a Premier Prix de Rome in 1913 for Faust et Hélène, becoming the first woman to win this competition since its foundation in 1803. The renown she enjoyed as a result allowed her to obtain an exclusive contract with the Italian publisher, Ricordi. Despite her health problems, she left for the Villa Medici in 1914, but the outbreak of World War One forced her to leave Rome rapidly for Nice. There she composed the song cycle Des clairières dans le ciel as well as some psalms and instrumental pieces. After a second stay in Rome in 1916, she returned to France and died of tuberculosis in the Paris area (in March 1918) having had the time to complete some major works, including the Pie Jesu for voice, organ, string quartet and harp.

    Images - 22
  • Les lauréats du prix de Rome 1913
  • Nadia et Lili Boulanger
  • Lili Boulanger (croquis de François Flameng)
  • Lili Boulanger dirigeant sa cantate (Dagnan-Bouveret)
  • Attente (Maeterlinck / Boulanger)
  • Clairières dans le ciel (Jammes / Boulanger)
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    Works - 14
  • Attente (Maeterlinck / Boulanger)
  • Clairières dans le ciel (Jammes / Boulanger)
  • D’un soir triste et D’un matin de printemps (Lili Boulanger)
  • Dans l'immense tristesse (Galeron de Calonne / Boulanger)
  • Faust et Hélène (Adenis / Boulanger)
  • Pie Jesu (Lili Boulanger)
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    Themes - 2
  • Compositrices
  • The French mélodie with orchestra
  • Symposia - 1
  • Les compositrices au siècle de Pauline Viardot (2013)