Germaine Tailleferre

Though she is often remembered as the only female member of Les Six, the history books often neglect the life and work of Germaine Tailleferre (1892-1983) beyond that point.

French by birth, she changed her name from Taillefesse to Tailleferre as a young woman in protest to her father who refused to offer his support in her interest in music. She did receive support and encouragement from her mother, and Tailleferre studied at the Paris Conservatory, which is where she met Francis Poulenc, Darius Milhaud, Arthur Honegger and the other fellows who with Tailleferre would make up Les Six. She spent her life traveling between France and the United States, composing wherever she was and exploring a wide range of genres and orchestrations. The 1920’s and 1930’s where especially important decades for her large and experimental works.

She was a rather prolific composer, and continued to create new works until her death – an extensive list of her compositions can be found here. Much of her work is still being published today. In 1992 The Women’s Philharmonic made the first recording of Tailleferre’s Harp Concertino – the CD was reissued in 2008 and is available for purchase through the WPS store.

Tailleferre often drew from nature for inspiration. The work below for solo piano is titled Fleurs de France (1930):