Lili Boulanger was on 2 years old when composer Gabriel Faure discovered she had perfect pitch. From that moment on, young Lili's path was set. She was barely five years old when her musician parents sent her along with big sister Nadia to classes at the Paris Conservatory to sit through lessons in music theory. By 16, Lili had her mind set on a career as a composer and her eyes set on the Conservatory's coveted Prix de Rome. Three years later, she became the first woman to win the prize. But Lili Boulanger was also chronically ill, and died at the age of 24, long before she could establish herself completely in her generation of composers. Nadia, always Lili's protector in life, became her champion in death, encouraging performances of Lili's work and ensuring that Lili's legacy not be forgotten. And when Nadia died, she was buried with her beloved sister.
Lili Boulanger wrote the Nocturne and Cortege three years part, although they feel like a perfect set. Violinist Federico Agostini and pianist Chiao-Wen Cheng perform them from "Mozart in France," a Society for Chamber Music in Rochester concert from December 16, 2018.