FREDERICK SHEPHERD CONVERSE (1871 - 1940)
Frederick Shepherd Converse was born on 5th January 1871 at Newton, MA, and died on 8th June 1940 at Westwood, MA. The youngest of seven children, he began lessons on the piano at the age of ten. His unusual talent was spotted very early on, in particular a gift for composition. In turn, he pursued advanced musical studies at Harvard, from which he graduated summa cum laude. He then tried his hand in business, although it was not long before his passion for music reforged the course of his life. Converse began serious study in composition with George W Chadwick in Boston and followed with work under Joseph Rheinberger in Munich. In a relatively short time, his music began to attract considerable attention. In fact Converse's The Pipe of Desire of 1905 became the first American opera ever to be performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Today he is best known for a small but hearty collection of orchestral tone poems.