Caroline Butini (b. Geneva, 2 May 1786, d. Geneva, 17 March 1836) was the eldest child of Pierre Butini (1759-1838) and Jeanne-Pernette, née Bardin. Her father, a doctor with a Europe-wide reputation, was an enlightened amateur musician and probably the most important promoter of her music-making. No one else in her close family seems to have engaged in a musical activity that could explain Caroline’s vocation. Aged 20 she wrote in her diary: “have devoted a third of my life to music.” Caroline Butini’s origins placed her in the upper echelons of society. She therefore grew up in an environment that encouraged education, even for girls, and received a broad general education. When she was 22, a marriage was arranged to Auguste Boissier (1784-1856). At his side, she was able to develop into an independent (artistic) personality. It seems clear that Auguste, himself a passionate amateur violinist in the time left over from managing his estates, was unstintingly supportive of his wife's activities as pianist and composer. In 1810 Edmond was born to the couple; three years later Valérie. The family spent winters in Geneva, and summers at their country estate in Valeyres-sous-Rances, between Orbe and Yverdon. The two children received much attention and encouragement, which was later re?ected in their life’s work. Edmond became a renowned botanist and Valérie — under her married name de Gasparin — became famous beyond Switzerland's borders as a writer and as the founder of the ?rst secular school for nursing, “La Source” in Lausanne. Like her mother, she would become an excellent pianist, studying the piano with Franz Liszt and composition with Anton Reicha in the winter of 1831-1832 in Paris. According to current research — and here there are great gaps — Caroline Boissier-Butini was one of the most multifaceted Swiss composers of her generation. She must have enjoyed an excellent training both as a pianist and as a composer. The only name she mentions in her writings is Mansui; but whether this refers to Mansui senior (Claude-Charles, dates unknown) or junior (Francois-Charles) is unknown. Bernard Scherer (1747-1821), organist of the Cathedral in Geneva, and himself a composer, may also have been one of her teachers. The many indications of independent learning by Boissier-Butini, who was by now over 30, also suggest that her education was largely autodidactic. What her parents intended by allowing their daughter to acquire such a depth of musical skill, thus enabling her to play at the highest level and to compose in the spirit of her times, is also unknown. Her social standing meant that practising a profession of whatever kind was out of the question. Her extensive diary entries from the period before her marriage (1808) show her own ideas of a good wife, and what Geneva society expected of a woman of her class. We can conclude from this that there was theoretically no room for creative activity in the daily routine of a female Genevois citizen, and de?nitely not for a lasting pursuit of music, at that time quite a disreputable art form. It therefore appears all the most extraordinary that for years after marrying she composed much and often. In spring 1818 Caroline Boissier-Butini measured her musical ability against the best pianists in Paris and London. She played to Marie Bigot, Ferdinand Paer, Friedrich Kalkbrenner and Johann Baptist Cramer, and garnered unfettered praise, both for her own pieces and for her interpretations. It has been shown that she wanted to publish her works through lgnaz Pleyel in Paris, although this was unsuccessful; she did, however, sign a contract with the publisher Leduc. In Geneva, where middle-class musical life developed only haltingly in the early 19th century, she played several times in 1825 and 1826 in the concerts of the Société de musique, sometimes performing her own works. The great number of purely instrumental works in her surviving oeuvre is notable. Her early engagement with folk music from her own environment is also worth noting. In a letter of 1811, Caroline Boissier describes how in Valeyres she transcribed folksongs that a woman from the village sang to her. We may assume that some of them also found their way into the 6th piano concerto, “La Suisse”. During her lifetime, Caroline Boissier»Butini was a musical household name throughout Switzerland. After her death, her family carefully preserved her musical works and personal writings (diaries, letters, further documents). In 1923 her descendents brought her a certain fame by publishing her record of the piano lessons that her daughter Valérie took from Franz Liszt in Paris 1831, under the title “Liszt pédagogue” and with the author given as “Madame Auguste Boissier” (Reprint Champion, Paris 1993 ; numerous translations). Caroline Boissier-Butini’s compositions and the circumstances of her musical practice give a glimpse of the early 19th century in Geneva and in Switzerland, the age of great political, social and cultural upheavals, which has barely been researched from a musical point of view.