Born on December 18, 1860 to parents Thomas MacDowell and Frances Knapp MacDowell.
New York City
January 23, 1908 in New York City
Also Known As:
His full name was Edward Alexander MacDowell; he was an American composer, pianist and teacher who was one of the first to incorporate native materials and tunes in his works. He taught piano at the conservatory in Darmstadt (Germany) from 1881 to 1882 and from 1896 to 1904, was the head of the music department of Columbia University. MacDowell was also on the Board of the American Academy in Rome and founded the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Type of Compositions:
Primarily known for his piano works, particularly in small pieces. He wrote choral and orchestral works, piano sonatas, songs, symphonic poems and suites.
Among his music teachers were the violinist Juan Buitrago and the pianist Pablo Desverine. MacDowell was also taught by Teresa Carreño, a celebrated concert pianist, composer, conductor and mezzo-soprano, with whom he studied in New York City. He then studied at the Paris Conservatory from 1876 to 1878. Afterward, he went to Germany to study piano with Carl Heymann and composition with Joachim Raff. It was Raff who introduced MacDowell to the composer and pianist Franz Liszt who became one of MacDowell's supporters.
His notable works include: "Hamlet and Ophelia" (1885), "Lancelot and Elaine" (1888), "Lamia" (1889), "The Saracens" (1891), "Indian Suite"(1892), "Sea Pieces" (1898), "Fireside Tales" (1902) "Tragica" (1893), "Eroica" (1895), "Norse" (1900) and "Keltic" (1901). He also published "Woodland Sketches" (1896) and "New England Idylls" (1902). His "Piano Concerto in A Minor, op. 15" was praised by Liszt and his "Second Piano Concerto in D Minor" is considered his most notable larger work.
In 1884, Edward MacDowell married Marian Griswold Nevins, his former pupil. In 1907, MacDowell and his wife established the MacDowell Colony; a retreat place for American composers, writers and artists, in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
Listen to Edward MacDowell's "Piano Concerto No. 2: First Movement" with Van Cliburn on piano and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (Courtesy of YouTube)