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COLLECTION Identifier: Ms. Coll. 125

Nadia Boulanger scores by her students, 1925-1972.


This collection contains musical scores submitted by the students of French composer Nadia Boulanger while attending the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, France.


  • Creation: 1925-1972


1 collection (42 Boxes, including 10 oversize)

The Nadia Boulanger collection mainly consists of musical scores in manuscript and print format. These scores were submitted toNadia Boulanger by her students during the years she taught at the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, which she founded in 1921. Her American students included Aaron Copland, Roger Sessions, Virgil Thomson and many other notable composers. Correspondence, programs, greeting cards, sketches and ephemera are also included in the collection.

Biographical Note

Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) was a notable music teacher, conductor, and composer. Born in Paris, France, Nadia Boulanger was the oldest daughter of Ernest Boulanger, a composer and professor at the Paris Conservatory of Music, and Raïssa Myschetsky, an aspiring singer. Ms. Boulanger's musical training began at age 10 at the Paris Conservatory of Music. She excelled in harmony and composition and gained considerable public attention by the age of 17 after winning the second Grand Prix de Rome in Composition for a major work entitled Sirene. After graduating from the Paris Conservatory in 1908 she taught musical composition at various institutions, including the Conservatoire Femina-Musica, and the L'ecole Normale de la Musique.

Following the untimely death of her sister Lili Boulanger, also a gifted musician, and a brief period of mourning, Ms. Boulanger began to expand her professional activities. In 1921 she established the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau where she taught harmony, counterpoint and composition. Many of her students became highly influential in American music, including Joyce Mekeel, Virgil Thomson, Roger Sessions, Aaron Copland, and Philip Glass.

Ms. Boulanger also made several trips to the United States in this period. In 1925 she performed as an organist and in the years that followed, gave lectures and taught composition at many leading U.S. colleges and universities, including the Julliard School, Yale University, Wellesley, and Radcliffe.

By 1935, Ms. Boulanger had earned the distinction of being the first woman to conduct major symphony orchestras in Boston, Washington, D.C. and New York . She was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Maitre de Chapelle awarded by Prince Pierre of Monaco, as well as honorary doctoral degrees from Oxford and Harvard Universities. Ms. Boulanger died in Paris on October 22, 1979.


Arranged alphabetically by composer. To match specific composers with specific boxes, please consult HOLLIS.

Physical Location

Merritt Room.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by the estate of Nadia Boulanger c. 1980s

Processed by:

Carl Leafstedt, Emilyn L. Brown

Nadia Boulanger scores by her students, 1925-1972.
Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library Repository

The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library is the primary repository of musical materials at Harvard. The Music Library’s collecting mission is to serve music teaching and research programs in the Music Department and throughout the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In addition, it supports the musical needs of the broader Harvard community as well as an international scholarly constituency. We collect books, musical scores, serial titles, sound recordings and video formats, microforms, and rare and archival materials that support research in a wide variety of musical disciplines including historical musicology, music theory, ethnomusicology, composition, and historically informed performance practice, as well as interdisciplinary areas related to music. The special collections include archival collections from the 19th, 20th and 21st century.

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