LILI BOULANGER (1893 - 1918)
Music was second nature for Lili Boulanger who was born on 21 August 1893 in Paris. She had perfect pitch and a love of singing as a child. Fauré himself used to come to her home to read his latest songs with her. From the age of six to sixteen, she studied harmony, played a little piano, violin, cello and even the harp, while discovering new scores, such as Debussys Pelléas et Mélisande. Her very poor health kept her away from school and from practising too hard. She studied composition with Paul Fidal and Georges Caussade and at the age of nineteen, she was the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Premier Grand Prix de Rome for composition. After the great Parisian success of her cantata Faust et Hélène, she travelled through Italy and wrote some of her best works in the Villa Medici in Rome.
Returning to France, she devoted herself to caring for wounded soldiers during the First World War. Knowing that her days were numbered, she worked feverishly. Towards the end of her life, she dictated to a composition, Pie Jesu for her sister. She died on 15 March 1918.