Lili Boulanger was the first female composer to ever receive the prestigious Prix de Rome. Her sister Nadia (1887-1979) paved the way for her by being one of the first female participants to win a second prize and teaching her younger sister composition from an early age. Lili died at the age of 24 and after that Nadia stopped composing. She dedicated her life to promoting the music of Lili, who had been particularly productive in her short life (even more than other composers who died young, such as Mozart).
Nadia Boulanger eventually became one of the first female conductors, but above all had an indelible influence on the music of the 20th century as a composition teacher. She taught many of the most famous musicians of the 20th century, including Aaron Copland, Quincy Jones (100 Grammy nominations and 28 Grammy Awards and best known as the producer on Michael Jackson's album Thriller), Philip Glass and Astor Piazzolla. She had a special talent for finding a composer's own voice, allowing her students to represent an enormously wide range of styles. Piazzolla came to Nadia Boulanger with a pile of composed classical symphonies, but threw them all away at the end of the lesson; Nadia Boulanger insisted that his strength was in his self-written tangos, which eventually earned him great fame.
Vercammen and Ivanova present here a program that shows the great scope of the influence of the Boulanger sisters:
Lili Boulanger: Nocturne and Cortège
Gazyna Bacewicz: Sonata for violin and piano no. 3
Sergej Prokofiev: Sonata for piano no.3 in A minor,
Jean Sibelius: Arabesque, Etude, and The Spruce for solo piano
Lili Boulanger: D'un matin de printemps
Leonard Bernstein - Sonata for violin and piano
Astor Piazzolla - Le Grand Tango (arr. Sofia Gubaidulina)
Nadia Boulanger - from Trois Pieces: no.1
Violinist Merel Vercammen (Nijmegen, 1988) graduated cum laude from the Royal College of Music in London. She was prize winner of the London Grand Prize Virtuoso Competition, the National Competition of the Young Music Talent Foundation Netherlands and the Princess Christina Competition. Merel has performed all over the world and played in concert halls such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and the Wigmore Hall in London.
Merel plays a violin from 1820 by the Italian builder Andrea Postacchini, made available to her by the National Musical Instrument Fund.
Pianist Dina Ivanova (Ryazan, Russia, 1994) has won prizes at various competitions, including a second prize at the Liszt Competition in Weimar, a second prize at the Ricardo Viñes Competition in Spain, an Honorary Mention Award at the Paderewski Competition in Poland, and the Artist Recognition Award at the International Keyboard Festival in New York. In 2017 Dina won the public award and the third jury prize at the Liszt Competition in Utrecht.
Dina started taking piano lessons with her mother at the age of four. She studied at the Central Music School in Moscow and the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow with Alexander Mndoyants. Since September 2018, she studies with Grigory Gruzman at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt in Weimar. Dina took master classes with Dmitri Bashkirov, Leslie Howard, Jerome Rose, Leon Fleisher, Awadagin Pratt and Pavel Gililov.