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Lili Boulanger: An Incredible French Composer & A Former Prodigy

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Lili Boulanger is a talented child prodigy. She achieved being the first female winner of the Prix De Rome composition prize. Her full name was “Marie Juliette Olga Boulanger”. Boulanger was a French composer. She inherited her talent. Here is the life of the prodigy in brief.

Early life:

Born on 21 August 1983, Marie Juliette Olga Boulanger is a Persian Born child prodigy. When she was 2 years old, her family friend discovered her quality of the perfect pitch. She belongs to a family of musicians. Her mother and father both were musicians. They encouraged their daughter’s musical education. Her mother, Raissa Myshetskaya (Mischetzky), was a Russian princess, and she married Ernest Boulanger, her Paris Conservatory teacher. In the year 1835, his father won the Prix De Rome.

Before the age of Five, Boulanger accompanied her 10 years old sister Nadia to classes at Paris Conservatory. She also sang and learn to play violin, piano, cello.

Lili Boulanger -Career & Works:

Boulanger competed in Prix De Rome in the year 1912. During her performance, she collapsed with illness. She returned and won the prize for her composition cantata Faust et Hélène in 1913 at the age of 19. Lili Boulanger became the first woman to won the prize. She got the contract with the publisher Ricordi.

Happy 127th birthday, Lili Boulanger. : classicalmusic
Lili Boulanger

Her sister Nadia was unsuccessful at her four attempts, so she shifts her attention towards her sister Lili. The Persian-born composer was greatly affected by his father’s death in 1900. It can be seen from many of her works that touch themes of grief and loss. The colorful harmony, instrumentation, and skillful text setting make her work noticeable.

  Some of her works includes:

  •  Nocturne (1911) for flute or violin and piano
  • Les Sirènes(1911) for Mezzo-soprano, chorus and piano
  • Reflets(1911) for voice and piano
  •  Pour les funérailles d’un soldat(1912)  composed for orchestra
  • Soir sur la Plaine(1913) for Soprano, tenor, and orchestra
  • D’un Vieux Jardin(1914) for piano
  • Psaume 24(1916) for chorus, organ and orchestra
  •  Three psalms(1916-17) for orchestra
  • Pie Jesu(1918) for Voice, string quartet, harp, and organ

Lili Boulanger memorial fund:

Lili was a child prodigy and a legend also. In March 1939, with the help of her American friends, she established Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund. It was established with two objectives:

1.To perpetuate Lili Boulanger’s music and memory.

2.To financially support the talented musicians.

The Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund does not accept applications for its annual competition rather alist of candidates is produced by a group of nominators selected each year by the Board of Trustees. Each nominator can then propose a candidate for the prize. 


Boungaler suffered from chronic disease. At the age of two, she was diagnosed with bronchial pneumonia. It weekends her immune system leading to the “intestinal tuberculosis” that leads to her death at the age of 24.

Boulanger’s life was not so easy. She got support from her family and every one but the disease take her life at an early age. Her works are admirable. She is the inspiration for people who give up for small reason.

Also read: Norbert Wiener – The father of cybernetics and a former child prodigy

Mansi Satywali
Mansi Satywali Creative Content Writer at GCPA |  Experienced in Content Writing Feel free to contact me at