CNSMD©B. Adilon

Nadia Boulanger Media Resources Centre

The Boulanger Collection

Annette Dieudonné, executrix of Nadia Boulanger, distributed all collections between several establishments of which the CNSMD of Lyon.

The collection is first and foremost that of the family of Nadia Boulanger, that is to say of her grandmother, Marie-Julie Halligner (1786-1850), an opera singer who was famous in her time at the Opéra-Comique, and of her father Ernest Boulanger (1815-1900), who won the Prix de Rome in 1836, a singing teacher at the Paris Conservatoire who composed comic operas and counted among his friends Gounod, Massenet and Saint-Saëns.

The donation is extremely representative of the 19th century, notably with regard to operas, melodies for voice and piano and treatises on singing. Nadia Boulanger had added to the collection throughout her life, thus constituting an imposing collection covering the complete panoply of Western classical music, from the organa of Pérotin and the Harmonices Musices Odhecaton of Petrucci right up to the works of Iannis Xenakis, Luciano Berio and Ton That Thiet.


The Nadia Boulanger collection comprises about 8000 scores:

Monumental editions

  • Johann Sebastian Bachs Werke (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1851-1899. 46 vols)
  • Oeuvres complètes de François Couperin (Paris: Oiseau-Lyre, 1932-1933. 12 vols)
  • Werken van Josquin des Prés / uitgegeven door Prof. Dr A. Smijers (Amsterdam: G. Alsbach & Co, 1921-1969)
  • Orlando di Lasso sämtliche Werke (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1894-1926. 20 vols)
  • Claudio Monteverdi: tutte le opere (Wien: Universal-Edition, 1926-1942. 3 vols)
  • Pierluigi da Palestrina’s Werke / herausgegeben von Franz Xaver Haberl (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1862-1907. 33 vols)
  • The Works of Henry Purcell / edited by the Purcell Society (London: Novello, 1878-1928. 23 vols)
  • Jean-Philippe Rameau: oeuvres complètes / edited under the direction of Camille Saint Saëns (Paris: Durand, 1895-1924)

Corpus editions

« Hispania schola musica sacra » collection revised by Philippo Pedrell (Barcelona: Juan Bta Pujol y Ca, Editores, 1894-1898. 8 vols), « Les Archives des maîtres de l’orgue des XVIe, XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles » edited by Alexandre Guilmant with the collaboration of André Pirro (Paris: Durand, 1898-1909. 9 vols) and « Les maîtres musiciens de la Renaissance française » edited by Henry Expert (Paris: A. Leduc, 1844-1908).

953 books about music

Works by Lili and Nadia Boulanger (including orchestral parts)
114 manuscripts of pupils of Nadia Boulanger have been found (notably Jean Françaix and Marcelle de Manziarly for the French school, David Barlow and Edwin Roxburgh for the British school,   Robert Russell Bennett and Walter Piston for the American school and Bernadetta Matuszczak, Krzystof Meyer and Zygmunt Mycielski for the Polish school).


Following an invitation in 2006 by the Ministry of Culture and Communication to submit projects, the media resources centre is now in the course of digitising part of the Nadia Boulanger collection. The principal monumental editions have already been digitised with a view not only to improving the conservation of the original documents but to facilitating their dissemination and exploitation by musicians and research workers.

The digitised scores are accessible to all, either via the catalogue or the digital database.

The digitised collection

  • Johannes Sebastian Bachs Werke. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel. [1851-1896]. 59 volumes
  • Œuvres complètes de François Couperin. Paris: L’Oiseau Lyre. [1932-1933]. 12 volumes.
  • Orlando di Lass : Sämmtliche Werke. Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel, 1932. 19 volumes.
  • Pierluigi da Palestrinas Werke. Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel, 1932. 29 volumes.
  • Musica religiosa di Claudio Monteverdi. G. Francesco Malipiero, scientific edition. Asolo: Universal Edition [1926-1932]. 16 volumes.
  • The Works of Henry Purcell. Catalogue of Nadia Boulanger.
  • The Works of Henry Purcell. London: Novello & Co. [1878-1928]. 26 volumes.
  • Jean-Philippe Rameau: Œuvres complètes. Paris: Durand et Fils. [1895-1924] 17 volumes.
  • Extraits des maîtres musiciens de la Renaissance. Edited by Henry Expert. Paris: Editions Maurice Senart, undated.
  • La Fleur des Musiciens de P. de Ronsard: Sonnets, Odes et Chansons à quatre voix, suivis de diverses pièces à voix seule et de deux dialogues à huit. Collected by Henry Expert. Paris: Cité des Livres, 1923.
  • Florilège du concert vocal de la Renaissance. Edited by Henry Expert. Paris: Cité des Livres, 1928.
  • Répertoire de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire de Paris: Extrait des Maîtres musiciens de la Renaissance française. Edited by Henry Expert. Paris: Alphonse Leduc, 1905.
  • Répertoire populaire de la musique française. Edited by Henry Expert. Paris: Editions Maurice Senart, undated.
  • Monuments de la musique française au temps de la Renaissance. Edited by Henry Expert. Paris: Editions Maurice Senart. [1924-1929]. 9 volumes.
  • Les Maîtres musiciens de la Renaissance française. Edited by Henry Expert. Paris: Alphonse Leduc. [1894-1900]. 25 volumes.
  • Tudor Church Music. London: Oxford University Press. [1922-1929]. 10 volumes.


The BN (Bibliothèque nationale) – Opale Plus catalogue and the collections of the Department of Music at the French National Library

“After the death of Nadia Boulanger in October 1979, Annette Dieudonné, the executor of her will, donated the documents and objects from the apartment in the rue Ballu to  several different institutions. The Lili and Nadia Boulanger Foundation, the Library of the University of Harvard, the Polish Library of Paris, the Musée de la Musique, the Library of the Lyon Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique and the French National Library (Bibliothèque Nationale) were some of the beneficiaries.

This great musician, who was a composer, a conductor and a teacher, owned a quite exceptional library. A large part of her French music and research library now forms the core of the library at the Lyon Conservatoire National Supérieur Musique et Danse. A considerable number of valuable documents, 1,745 in all, were added to the collections of the Music Department of the French National Library in 1980. As well as books and periodicals concerning music, there is printed music from abroad, with a remarkable collection of works by Stravinsky’s but also Paul Hindemith and editions of French music that are mostly unique copies because they have been annotated and/or signed with a personal dedication. Perhaps the most interesting are the many original manuscripts, notably those of her sister Lili Boulanger and various composers such as Fauré, Jean Françaix, Raoul Pugno, Poulenc, Roger-Ducasse, Lutosławsky, Stravinsky, and so on.

The collection of original manuscript copies of correspondence testifies to her wide circle of acquaintances and her faithful friendships. The sixty-nine volumes reflect the musical world of almost a century, with some particularly noteworthy items such as letters from Roger-Ducasse and Stravinsky. We also have some of her more personal documents: family letters, her own and Lili’s diaries, various notebooks, lists of pupils and even books of accounts, which are often striking and moving reflections of this astonishing person. But there is one suitcase that we will not be allowed to open until December 2011. Perhaps its contents will finally reveal to us the secret of this austere and reserved woman.”

By Elisabeth Villatte, Director of the Music Department of the French National Library (9th January 2003)

The BN (Bibliothèque nationale) – Opale Plus catalogue and the collections of the Audio-Visual Department of the French National Library

This collection, which was acquired by the Audio-Visual Department in 1981, reflects the many different facets of this accomplished musician, who kept her own recordings, which illustrate her activity as a performer and a musicologist. It also includes a large number of recordings of works composed by her friends (Igor Stravinsky, Darius Milhaud, and others) and her students of composition (Aaron Copland) and of piano (Dinu Lipatti).
The published recordings consist of about 200 78 rpm records and 650 long-playing records. The collection of 78s also includes some test recordings that preceded recordings not always subsequently released, for example J.S. Bach’s Cantata BWV 4 recorded on six one-sided gramophone records.

80 tape-recordings complete the collection. They are mainly unreleased recordings of concerts given under the direction of Nadia Boulanger, either at the residence of the  Princesse de Polignac, at Fontainebleau or abroad. Most of the works performed are by her sister, her students (Walter Piston) and her composer friends. One of the recordings is of Poulenc’s “Litanies à la Vierge noire” under the direction of Nadia Boulanger. There are also radio and television interviews and recordings of the concerts given in memory of Lili Boulanger on the 50th anniversary of her death and the concert organised by the Principality of Monaco on the occasion of Nadia Boulanger’s ninetieth birthday.

Bruno Sebald, French National Library Audio-Visual Department – Early Documents Section.

International Nadia and Lili Boulanger Centre

« The International Nadia et Lili Boulanger Centre is a registered charity recently created by the merger of the Association of the Friends Nadia and Lili Boulanger and the International Nadia and Lili Boulanger Foundation, dating respectively from 1965 and 1983. The centre acts as executors of the estates of the two sisters and aims to perpetuate their memory by endeavouring to disseminate their works and archives as widely as possible. »

American Music Research Center, University of Colorado at Boulder

The American Music Research Center of the University of Colorado at Boulder organised a symposium in memory of Nadia Boulanger from 7th to 9th October 2004 to mark the 25th anniversary of her death. The symposium was the first stage of a project to create a specialised collection of documents concerning Nadia Boulanger and her extraordinary contribution to the development of American music.

Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library – Isham Memorial Library, Harvard University

The Isham Memorial Library is specialised library within the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library at Harvard. The collections kept at the Isham Memorial Library include microform and facsimile documents, rare books, manuscripts and theses in music from the University of Harvard. The Isham Memorial Library also houses archive collections of the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, including a collection of the manuscripts of the pupils of Nadia Boulanger, bequeathed by Annette Dieudonné in 1979.

Aaron Copland Collection of the Library of Congress, Washington

The Aaron Copland collection of the Library of Congress includes about seventy-five letters from Aaron Copland to Nadia Boulanger, photographs of Nadia Boulanger and unpublished texts about her.

Fontainebleau Schools of Music and Architecture (Ecole des Beaux-Arts and American Conservatory at Fontainebleau)

The American Art Schools at Fontainebleau were founded in 1921 by Walter Damrosh (1862-1950) Nadia Boulanger taught there from the outset. She was appointed director of the American Conservatory in 1949 and she took over as general director of both schools in 1953.


Nadia Boulanger (16th September 1887 – 22nd October 1979) was an artist with inexhaustible energy and exceptional skill as a teacher. She entered the Paris Conservatory at the age of nine and left it seven years later with first prizes in all her subjects, namely harmony, composition, piano accompaniment, organ, and others. From then on she devoted her life to teaching. Over a period of more than seventy-five years she was to teach a host of performing and non-performing musicians, conductors and composers throughout the world. Her pupils included, for example, the composers Elliott Carter, Marius Constant, Jean Françaix and great pianists such as Miguel Angel Estrella, Noël Lee, Dinu Lipati and Emil Naoumoff. Among her friends were Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein, Yehudi Menuhin, Paul Valéry and St John Perse.

Her sister Lili Boulanger (1893–1918) was a child prodigy and the first woman to win the First Grand Prix de Rome with the cantata « Faust et Hélène « . She died at the age of twenty-four. Works such as her Psalms 24, 129 et 130 and her final composition, « Pie Jesu » for solo voice, string quartet, harp and organ, which she dictated to Nadia, ensure Lili Boulanger a place of honour among the great names of the history of music at the beginning of the twentieth century.