Nadia Boulanger was a French composer, conductor, and teacher who taught many of the leading composers and musicians of the 20th century. She also performed as a pianist and organist.
she was the first woman to conduct the Royal Philharmonic, and broke the gender barrier with almost every other major orchestra. She also taught an entire generation of composers including Aaron Copland.
She knew everything there was to know about music; she knew the oldest and the latest music, pre-Bach and post-Stravinsky. All technical know-how was at her fingertips: harmonic transposition, the figured bass, score reading, organ registration, instrumental techniques, structural analyses, the school fugue and the free fugue, the Greek modes and Gregorian chant.
She never uses a dynamic level louder than mezzo-forte and she takes pleasure in veiled, murmuring sonorities, from which she nevertheless obtains great power of expression. She arranges her dynamic levels so as never to have need of fortissimo.