Monday September 04, 2017

How Nadia Boulanger changed the way the world sounded

Nadia Boulanger was a highly influential French composer and instructor who taught everyone from Aaron Copland to Quincy Jones. Boulanger is pictured here in 1975.

Nadia Boulanger was a highly influential French composer and instructor who taught everyone from Aaron Copland to Quincy Jones. Boulanger is pictured here in 1975. (Erich Auerbach/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Listen 9:29

Nadia Boulanger was a French composer and teacher whose influence extended to some of the best-known musicians of the 20th century. 

The fact she taught students as varied and influential as Aaron Copland and Quincy Jones shows the scope her foundational tutorial skills brought to the fields of classical and popular music.

Earlier this year, a compilation bringing together all of Boulanger's compositions heightened awareness of her work as a female composer in a male-dominated field.

Composer and chair of the composition department at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, David Conte, who was a student of Boulanger's, speaks to q about the influence she had on some of music's most important figures. 

— Produced by Dawna Dingwall