Remembering Two Women of Note

The Atlantic Reed Consort came to Ellicott City in November 2023, and two of the works performed were written by remarkable women composers of the late 19th/early 20th century. Let’s learn more about these two trailblazers!

Born in 1893, Lili Boulanger came from a very musical family. Her father and sister were also composers, her grandmother was a singer, and her grandfather a respected cellist. But it was Lili who became the first woman to win the prestigious Prix de Rome composition prize.

Boulanger’s talent was evident when she was barely a toddler: by the time she was two years old, she could sing melodies by ear. When she was five, she accompanied her sister to classes at the Paris Conservatoire. And she was just 19 when she won the Prix de Rome prize.

Sadly, Boulanger died at the young age of 24 after years of chronic illness. The Atlantic Reed Consort performed her work “Nocturne,” which she composed for violin and piano.

Have we piqued your interest? Learn more about Lili Boulanger and her music in this video.

Florence Price was born in 1887, and by the time she was just four years old, she was giving her first piano recital. She would go on to become the first female Black composer whose symphony was performed by a major U.S. orchestra.

She published her first composition when she was just 11 years old and continued composing throughout her career. By the time she died in 1953, she had written a whopping 300 symphonic works.

Despite being both talented and prolific, Price’s works were nearly forgotten after her death. In fact, the manuscripts themselves might have been lost, if not for the couple who bought her former summer home in 2009. Luckily, they recognized the significance of the numerous manuscripts they found in the dilapidated fixer-upper and contacted the University of Arkansas.

Fortunately, Price’s works are once again beginning to get the attention they deserve. Her work “Sonata in E major” was performed by the Atlantic Reed Consort on Nov. 5.

Learn more about Florence Price’s life and legacy in this video.