Edward MacDowell

American composer, pianist. Born 18 December 1860. Died 23 January 1908
Edward MacDowell
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1860-12-18
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Edward MacDowell

Edward MacDowell Biography (BBC)

Edward MacDowell was the leading American Romantic composer, a major international figure in his time, though now largely forgotten.

Born in New York in 1860 into a Quaker family of Scottish, Irish and English descent, he showed early talent as a pianist; the Venezuelan virtuoso Teresa Carreño gave him some lessons, and remained a friend. For any ambitious young American musician at that time, the obligatory next step was Europe, and at 16 MacDowell set off to study in Paris. But, dissatisfied with the teaching at the Conservatoire, he moved on to Stuttgart, Wiesbaden and Frankfurt - where the Principal of the Hoch Conservatorium, the celebrated Joachim Raff, encouraged him to concentrate on composition.

After completing his formal studies in 1880, he remained in Germany, teaching the piano and composing prolifically; the support of Liszt led to the performance and publication of a number of his works.

MacDowell finally returned to the USA in 1888, settling in Boston and rapidly establishing himself not only as a composer but also as a pianist. In 1896 he was invited to become the first professor of music at Columbia University in New York; but the demands of academic administration, and frustration at his inability to realise his high ideals, led to his resignation in 1904. The resulting furore, and an accident in which he was knocked down by a hansom cab, seem to have precipitated a steep mental decline, leading to his death in January 1908, shortly after his 47th birthday.

Following his death, his widow made over his estate in rural New Hampshire to become the MacDowell Colony; this has offered short-term residencies in sympathetic surroundings to, by now, thousands of writers, artists and composers.

MacDowell's music belongs to the European Romantic mainstream; although he occasionally used Native American melodies, he was not an advocate of American musical nationalism. Aaron Copland, a member of a later generation with very different concerns, nevertheless wrote appreciatively of his 'sensitive and individual poetic gift, and a special turn of harmony of his own'.

He composed two piano concertos, the second of them a work of great originality and effectiveness, and for orchestra alone four symphonic poems and two suites. He also wrote numerous sets of songs and part-songs. But the bulk of his output consists of music for solo piano: four sonatas, two 'Modern Suites', sets of studies, and many collections of shorter pieces, which include the handful of treasurable miniatures that chiefly keep his name alive today.


Edward MacDowell Performances & Interviews


Edward MacDowell Tracks

Edward MacDowell
Woodland Sketches: To a wild rose
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Woodland Sketches: To a wild rose

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Edward MacDowell
To a wild rose (Woodland Sketches, Op 51)
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To a wild rose (Woodland Sketches, Op 51)
Edward MacDowell
Witches' Dance, Op.17 no.2
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Witches' Dance, Op.17 no.2
Edward MacDowell
To a wild rose (Ten Woodland Sketches)
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To a wild rose (Ten Woodland Sketches)
Edward MacDowell
To a Wild Rose (10 Woodland Sketches Op.51)
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To a Wild Rose (10 Woodland Sketches Op.51)
Edward MacDowell
Hexentanz (Witches Dance) from 2 Fantasiestucke for piano (Op.17 No.2)
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Hexentanz (Witches Dance) from 2 Fantasiestucke for piano (Op.17 No.2)
Edward MacDowell
Hexentanz (2 Phantasiestucke, op. 17)
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Hexentanz (2 Phantasiestucke, op. 17)
Edward MacDowell
Woodland Sketches: In Autumn
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Woodland Sketches: In Autumn

Woodland Sketches: In Autumn

Performer
Salvatore Camarata & his Orchestra
Last played on
Edward MacDowell
From a Log Cabin (New England Idyls, Op 62)
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From a Log Cabin (New England Idyls, Op 62)
Edward MacDowell
In Deep Woods (New England Idyls, Op 62)
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In Deep Woods (New England Idyls, Op 62)
Edward MacDowell
With Sweet Lavender (New England Idyls, Op 62)
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With Sweet Lavender (New England Idyls, Op 62)
Edward MacDowell
Forest Spirits (Suite No 1)
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Forest Spirits (Suite No 1)
Edward MacDowell
Ophelia [2 Symphonic Poems, Op.22]
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Ophelia [2 Symphonic Poems, Op.22]
Edward MacDowell
To a Wild Rose
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To a Wild Rose
Edward MacDowell
Suite for large orchestra in A minor, Op 42
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Suite for large orchestra in A minor, Op 42
Edward MacDowell
Romance for cello & orchestra, Op.35
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Romance for cello & orchestra, Op.35
Edward MacDowell
Fireside Tales, Op. 61: By Smouldering embers
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Fireside Tales, Op. 61: By Smouldering embers
Edward MacDowell
To a Wild Rose
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To a Wild Rose
Edward MacDowell
From a Log Cabin [New England Idylls]
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From a Log Cabin [New England Idylls]
Edward MacDowell
New England Idylls Op.62 - (v) In Deep Woods
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New England Idylls Op.62 - (v) In Deep Woods
Edward MacDowell
To a Wild Rose
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To a Wild Rose
Edward MacDowell
Lamia (excerpt)
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Lamia (excerpt)

Lamia (excerpt)

Performer
London Symphony Orchestra, Kenneth Klein (conductor)
Edward MacDowell
Lamia, Op. 29
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Lamia, Op. 29

Lamia, Op. 29

Performer
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Karl Krueger (conductor)
Edward MacDowell
To a Wild Rose; To a Water Lily; To an Old White Pine
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To a Wild Rose; To a Water Lily; To an Old White Pine
Edward MacDowell
Woodland Sketches: To a wild rose
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Woodland Sketches: To a wild rose
Edward MacDowell
Suite for Large Orchestra, Op. 42
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Suite for Large Orchestra, Op. 42

Suite for Large Orchestra, Op. 42

Orchestra
Eastman-Rochester Orchestra
Conductor
Ulster Orchestra
Village Festival [Suite No.2 in E minor "Indian", Op.48] (feat. Takuo Yuasa)
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Village Festival [Suite No.2 in E minor "Indian", Op.48] (feat. Takuo Yuasa)
Edward MacDowell
Fireside Tales
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Fireside Tales

Fireside Tales

Performer
Richard Uttley
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