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Howard Hanson


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Howard Harold Hanson (October 28, 1896 – February 26, 1981) was an American composer, conductor, educator, music theorist, and ardent champion of American classical music.

Hanson was born in Wahoo, Nebraska to Swedish parents, Hans and Hilma (Eckstrom) Hanson. In his infancy he studied music with his mother. Later, he studied at Luther College in Wahoo, receiving a diploma in 1911, then at the Institute of Musical Art in New York City, where he studied with the composer and music theorist Percy Goetschius in 1914. Afterwards he attended Northwestern University, where Hanson studied composition with church music expert Peter Lutkin and Arne Oldberg in Chicago. Throughout his education, Hanson studied piano, cello and trombone. Hanson received his BA degree in music from Northwestern University in 1916, where he began his teaching career as a teacher’s assistant.

That same year, Hanson got his first full-time position as a music theory and composition teacher at the College of the Pacific in California, and only three years later, the college appointed him Dean of the Conservatory of Fine Arts in 1919. In 1920 Hanson composed The California Forest Play, his earliest work to receive national attention. Hanson also wrote a number of orchestral and chamber works during his years in California, including Concerto da Camera, Symphonic Legend, Symphonic Rhapsody, various solo piano works, such as Two Yuletide Pieces, and the Scandinavian Suite, which celebrated his Lutheran and Scandinavian heritage.

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  • robotkarel


    21 Apr 2012 Reply
  • ouwho

    I can't believe MMMBop isn't in his top 15 - it's definitely my favourite

    19 Mar 2011 Reply
  • paigeespicha

    Symphony #2 Romantic is absolutely astounding

    14 Oct 2009 Reply
  • Vasilievich

    Hanson is one incredible composer, John Williams takes after him like a chameleon does with its surroundings. The second symphony is amazing! the finale and its powerful brass sections are quite overwhelming.

    17 Jun 2009 Reply

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