Nadia Boulanger
February 22, 2012 12:24 AM   Subscribe

"Nadia Boulanger was a French composer, conductor and teacher who taught many composers and performers of the 20th century." She is particularly well-known for her American composition students, including Aaron Copland (you remember this, don't you?), Elliott Carter, and David Conte (who has uploaded to YouTube an excerpt of a lecture he gave reflecting on what he learned from Nadia).
posted by MattMangels (8 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
(you remember this, don't you?)

Food Fair for the Common Man?
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:41 AM on February 22, 2012

Also known as "Chow-down".

If you think that joke was bad I also considered making a bad pun about "ballet"/"buffet".
posted by MattMangels at 12:49 AM on February 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Were you inspired by Boulanger's devotion?
Philip Glass: Boulanger set herself up as an incomparable model of discipline and dedication, and she expected you to be just like her. And that was almost impossible, because she seemed beyond what any human being could really hope to be. Yet, she did it in a very simple way—I would not say gracious, no one ever said that Boulanger was gracious—but she did it in a simple, dear way. When I studied with her, for example, the only way to live up to her standards and to turn out the amount of work she expected every week was to get up between 6 and 7 in the morning and work all day long. And if I did that every day, I would turn up at my lesson and Boulanger gave me the impression that I had done just about the very minimum.
You have also referred to Boulanger as a monster.
Philip Glass: In the sense that she was a relentless, unwavering example that she expected you to follow. One day I came to a harmony lesson. She saw an error in something called "hidden parallel fifths." She studied the page in silence and then turned toward me. With a look of understanding and compassion she asked how I was feeling. I said, "I'm feeling fine, Mademoiselle." She asked, "Do you have a fever? Do you have a headache?" And I didn't get what was going on. "I know of a good psychiatrist. Seeing a therapist can be very confidential, and one need not be embarrassed at all." I explained that I didn't need that kind of help.
Finally, she said, "Well I don't understand." And I said, "You don't understand what?" And she said. "This!" Then she wheeled around and pointed at the mistake I had made. "How else do you explain the state of mind that produced this error? You're so distracted, so out of touch with reality; if you were really conscious of what you were doing, this could not have happened. How can you live such a distracted, unconscious life that you would bring this in here?" That was Mademoiselle Boulanger.
posted by misteraitch at 1:00 AM on February 22, 2012 [10 favorites]

(Source for the above quote).
posted by misteraitch at 1:01 AM on February 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Academic sadism. She did not think for a second that Glass was ill.
posted by thelonius at 3:59 AM on February 22, 2012

I have studied with 2 separate former Boulanger students in my life. Both told me she was a nasty piece of work.
posted by spitbull at 4:21 AM on February 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Quincy Jones was also a student of Boulanger.
posted by ceremony_1968 at 6:22 AM on February 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

In the interest of full disclosure I took AP Music Theory in high school with a former student of David Conte's, which makes me a student of a student of Nadia Boulanger.
posted by MattMangels at 2:36 PM on February 22, 2012

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