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Edward MacDowell

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Edward Alexander MacDowell (December 18, 1860[1] - January 23, 1908) was an American composer and pianist of the Romantic period. He was best known for his second piano concerto and his piano suites “Woodland Sketches”, “Sea Pieces”, and “New England Idylls”. “Woodland Sketches” includes his most popular short piece, “To a Wild Rose”. In 1904 he was one of the first seven Americans honored by membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Edward MacDowell was born in New York City. He received his first piano lessons from Juan Buitrago, a Colombian violinist who was living with the MacDowell family at the time. He later received lessons from friends of Buitrago, including Teresa Carreño, a Venezuelan pianist.

His family later moved to Paris, France, where in 1877 he was admitted to the Paris Conservatoire. He then continued his education at Dr. Hoch’s Conservatory in Frankfurt, Germany where he studied piano with Carl Heymann and composition with Joachim Raff. When Franz Liszt visited the conservatory in 1879 and attended a recital of student compositions, MacDowell performed some of his own compositions, along with a transcription of a Liszt symphonic poem. MacDowell also taught piano at “Schmitt’s Akademie für Tonkunst” in Darmstadt (now known as the “Akademie für Tonkunst”) for a year.

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