EDWARD MACDOWELL (1860 - 1908)
The American pianist and composer Edward MacDowell was one of the first American composers to achieve any degree of international fame. He studied in Paris, eventually at the Conservatoire, before moving to study the piano with Carl Heymann at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt, where he had composition lessons with Joachim Raff. There was encouragement from Liszt and further years spent in Europe until his return to the United States in 1888. There he succeeded in establishing himself as a teacher, pianist and composer, with appointment as the first professor of music at Columbia, a position he held until 1904. His last years were clouded by mental illness.
MacDowell’s two piano concertos were a useful vehicle for his own performance. These and other compositions are in the style that he had studied in Europe.
Piano music by MacDowell is effective if not innovative. It includes four sonatas (Sonata tragica, Sonata eroica, Sonata No. 3 ‘Norse’ and Sonata No. 4 ‘Keltic’), studies, and a quantity of genre pieces.
Songs by MacDowell include settings of poems by Heine, Goethe and other German poets, with solo songs and works for male voices with English texts, the latter written for his New York Mendelssohn Glee Club.