Redwood Empire

Last updated: April 7, 2016 at 14:12 pm

Message from the Dean 

The Redwood Empire Chapter of the American Guild of Organists Presents

The Boulanger Sisters: Lili & Nadia

Lenore Alford, presenter

Sunday, 24 April, 2016, 2 to 4 pm

Church of the Incarnation, 550 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

The intertwined lives and careers of the Boulanger sisters make for both a fascinating story and a glimpse into French culture and musical life in the early 20th century. My presentation will focus first on the Boulanger family, followed by a discussion of Lili’s early success as a composer especially through her success in the Prix de Rome competition, and her early death. We’ll then focus on Nadia—her early career as a composer, her struggle with the Prix de Rome competition, her decision to devote herself to pedagogy and the lasting legacy of her teaching on American music, especially in the 20th century. We’ll touch briefly on some of her most famous students, including Copland, Thomson, and others. I will perform some of Nadia’s organ works and we’ll listen to at least one of Lili’s vocal compositions.

REAGO flyer Lenore Alford the Boulanger Sisters  REAGO flyer Lenore Alford the Boulanger Sisters-middle  REAGO flyer Lenore Alford the Boulanger Sisters-right

Following organ studies in Montreal with internationally acclaimed Bach interpreter M. Bernard Lagacé, Lenore Alford moved to Austin, Texas, where she completed her DMA in Organ Performance under the late Dr. Gerre Hancock. Alford’s doctoral dissertation is titled “Able fairy: the feminine aesthetic in the compositions of Rolande Falcinelli”, and she has presented her research on Falcielli at an interdisciplinary conference in Gottenheim, Germany, for the National Convention of the AGO in Boston, 2014, and for the Peninsula AGO Chapter in 2012. Dr. Alford has been music director at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ross since 2009, where she created a full-time position now made up of an adult SATB choir, a women’s choir devoted to the plainchant of Hildegard of Bingen, and two children’s choirs, following the RSCM curriculum. She continues to promote women’s music both in recital and worship contexts. Recent recitals include programs at St. Thomas 5th Ave, NYC, and the Legion of Honor, San Francisco.


The purposes of the American Guild of Organists are:

  • To advance the cause of organ and choral music, to increase their contributions to aesthetic and religious experiences, and to promote their understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment.
  • To improve the proficiency of organists and choral conductors.
  • To evaluate, by examination, attainments in organ playing, choral techniques, conducting, and the theory and general knowledge of music, and to grant certificates to those who pass such examinations at specified levels of attainment.
  • To provide members with opportunities to meet for discussion of professional topics, and to pursue such other activities as contribute to the fulfillment of the purposes of the Guild.


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Our chapter Dean’s Letter is published via the internet at frequent intervals. Request e-mail copy from the Dean.



Contact Janice Timm, to join. Choir directors, organists, and those who like to hear the organ are invited.



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Beth Zucchino, Dean –
Janice Timm, Administrator & Treasurer –
Paul Blanchard, Sub-Dean  –


AGO National website