Nadia Boulanger
Guy Lochhead, 27/08/10
The most famous teacher of composition of the 20th Century. Boulanger began as a composer and conductor, defeating sexism to win many prizes and awards. She started focussing on teaching from 1922, and continued her Wednesday lessons until her death, aged 92. I struggled with whether or not to include this, because I think structured arts teaching and ‘progressiveness’ is irrelevant, but Boulanger’s character won me over. She didn’t let a domineering mother ruin her. She had a brilliant attitude towards music and tuition. She didn’t encourage modern composition’s tendency to slip into dissonance, believing there was enough ‘inquietude’. She was more progressive than the progressives, and more useful. I’ll read Jerome Spycket, Léonie Rosenstiel and Alan Kendell’s biographies and include the most comprehensive one.

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