Lili Boulanger

From Wind Repertory Project
Lili Boulanger


Lili Boulanger (21 August 1893, Paris – 15 March 1918, Mézy-sur-Seine) was a French composer.

Boulanger was born into a family of musicians and showed her gifts at the age of two. It was the same year that she contracted pneumonia, which permanently weakened her immune system, an event that would condition the rest of her life, during which she contracted numerous infections until tuberculosis caused her premature death at 24.

Lili Boulanger showed prodigious musical talent from a young age. It was Gabriel Fauré, a family friend and mentor, who first discovered Lili’s perfect pitch when she was still a child. With the guidance of family and formal training, Lili’s compositional skills quickly blossomed. She began her musical study with her sister Nadia Boulanger. She was also a student of Paul Vidal at the Paris Conservatory. Her top place finish at the highly competitive Prix de Rome in 1913 (the first time a top prize was awarded to a woman) cemented her stature as a rising giant in the French, if not European, musical landscape.

However, fame and fortune tragically eluded Lili. Her first stay in Rome was interrupted by the First World War, and she returned home to Paris to found the Franco-American Committee at the Paris Conservatory to help musicians who had been sent off to Rome. Her childhood bout with pneumonia left her immune system compromised, and she would battle illness her entire life. Nevertheless, Lili continued writing through her illness until it consumed her entirely. With the help of her sister, Nadia (a famous composer and teacher in her own right), Lili composed right up until her death in 1918 at the age of 24.

Works for Winds


  • Notes from score of D'un Matin de Printemps