Marguerite Canal began her formal music training at the age of 13 when she entered the Paris Conservatoire. Her composition teacher was Paul Vidal and was awarded First Prizes in harmony, piano accompaniment, and fugue. In 1920, she became only the second woman to win the prestigious Prix de Rome (the first was Lili Boulanger). Canal also was the first woman to conduct public orchestral concerts in France, when she led a series of performances at the Palais de Glace between 1917 and 1918. She had a prodigious output of music in the 1920s, publishing a volume of over 100 songs during the decade. Her vocal writing was described as “solid” and containing “faultless prosody.” Her music bears a clear relation to that of earlier French modernists such as Debussy and Fauré. She started both an opera and a Requiem mass, but WWII and ill health prevented the completion of both. She also wrote a number of works for children.
For more information:
The Dictionary Of Women Composers. New York: 1987.