Master Musician And Teacher Of Famed Composers Celebrated At CU-Boulder Symposium Oct. 7-9

first_imgNote to Editors: Members of the media are invited to all symposium events and should check in at the event registration desk, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Imig Music Building lobby. Photographers should contact Professor Tom Riis in advance. Photography during concerts is not permitted. Nadia Boulanger, the master musician and teacher of luminaries like Aaron Copland, Philip Glass, Elliott Carter and Quincy Jones, said the biggest question ever asked of her came from a young boy in Boston. He wanted to know what constituted a masterpiece. “It is so fortunate that no answer exists,” Boulanger said later. “To me, genius is the greatest mystery of our existence. I can give you a few hints, but no firm answer.” Twenty-five years after her death, more hints of Boulanger’s genius will be shared Oct. 7-9 at a memorial symposium hosted by the American Music Research Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “Nadia Boulanger and American Music” will offer three full days of public concerts, discussions and events celebrating the French composer, conductor and teacher who had a profound effect on American music in the 20th century. Born in 1887 to a Parisian family of musicians, Boulanger entered the Paris Conservatory at age 10 and at 21 was already teaching harmony at the school. In 1921 she became professor of harmony, counterpoint and composition at the American Conservatory of Music in Fontainebleau, France. She taught there until her death in 1979. During her long and storied career, she became the first woman to conduct the major symphony orchestras in New York, Philadelphia, Boston and other cities. Dozens of noted musicians and composers attest to Boulanger’s far-reaching influence on American music. On Oct. 9, a free “Reminiscence Roundtable” panel discussion will feature former Boulanger students sharing their experiences. The discussion begins at 10:30 a.m. in room C-199 of the Imig Music Building. “This is a unique opportunity for the public to hear personal memories of this master musician and teacher, known for her demanding yet compassionate nature,” said Professor Tom Riis, director of the American Music Research Center. “Our symposium could be the last major celebration of Boulanger’s work to feature former students, the youngest of whom are in their 40s and 50s.” “Boulanger’s Pedagogy: A Panel Discussion and Mini-Concert” takes place Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Imig Music Building’s Grusin Recital Hall. The free session will include scholars from Harvard University, Indiana University and the Manhattan School of Music. Two evening concerts are scheduled during the symposium, each with $10 general admission tickets available at the door. “Choral and Organ Music By and For the Sisters Boulanger” will be held Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. inside St. John Episcopal Church of Boulder, on the corner of Pine Street and 14th Street. “This program has an interesting mix of choral, vocal and organ music,” Riis said. The symposium concludes Oct. 9 with “The Florestan Recital Program,” at 8 p.m. in Grusin Recital Hall. A quartet of musicians from Boston will perform piano and vocal music composed by Daniel Pinkham, a former Boulanger student and noted choral composer and teacher at the New England Conservatory. The weekend’s events are a fitting tribute to a teacher who devoted her life to drawing out the best in other artists, Riis said. “You must be a flaming passion if this music demands it,” she once told a student. “Ask, ask, ask. You cannot be satisfied by simply being here.” Registration for all symposium events is $125, but pre-registration is not required and tickets will be available for individual events and concerts. Several events are free. A full schedule of events and more information can be found on the Web at or by calling (303) 492-8008. Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail Published: Sept. 21, 2004 last_img read more