Music: La Boulanger

The world has yet to produce a great woman composer. But some of today's most brilliant and brilliantined names in music went to a dame school to get their shine.

For 25 years, U.S. composers have crossed the Atlantic to study with austere Nadia Boulanger at Fontainebleau's American Conservatory. Among them: Aaron Copland, Walter Piston, Roy Harris, Virgil Thomson. Another Boulanger alumnus, Marc Blitzstein, was recently commissioned by Boston's Serge Koussevitzky to write an opera. Last week Teacher Boulanger made news in her own way—quietly.

It was the anniversary of her sister's death. Sister Lili died in 1918, a few years after winning...

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