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Bauer, Harold Victor (28 April 1873–12 March 1951), concert pianist and music educator, was born in New Malden, Kingston-upon-Thames, England, the son of Victor Bauer, a public accountant, and Mary Taylor Lloyd. His first piano teacher was his aunt and his first violin teacher his father. After making an initial decision to concentrate on the violin, Bauer began formal study with the prominent London teacher Adolf Pollitzer. At age ten, he made his first “public” appearance as violinist at a private concert in London; for the next decade he gave public appearances both as a violinist and as a pianist. In the musical circles of London he met pianist Graham Moore, from whom he learned about the technique of piano playing, although at the time Bauer had no thought of discontinuing his career as a violinist....

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Birge, Edward Bailey (12 June 1868–16 July 1952), musician and educator, was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, the son of Edward Birge, an amateur musician, and Mary Thompson. Birge began teaching music in the Rhode Island public schools while he was still a student at Brown University. After completing his B.A. in 1891, he was appointed to music teaching positions in Easthampton and West Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1896 he became supervisor of music in the New Haven and New Britain normal schools. Birge’s positions in these two Connecticut institutions of higher learning were the first in a series of appointments that progressively widened his sphere of influence as a teacher of teachers. In 1904 Birge received a bachelor of music degree from Yale University, where he had studied with composer and educator ...

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Bradbury, William Batchelder (06 October 1816–07 January 1868), music teacher, composer, and publisher, was born in York County, Maine, the son of David Bradbury and Sophia Chase. When Bradbury was fourteen years old the family moved to Boston, where William began the study of harmony and decided to become a professional musician. He attended the Boston Academy of Music, sang in ...

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Cowell, Henry (11 March 1897–10 December 1965), composer, pianist, writer, and educator, was born Henry Dixon Cowell in Menlo Park, California, the son of Harry Cowell and Clarissa Dixon Cowell. Both parents were aspiring poets and writers; Harry, an Irish immigrant, worked as a linotypist. At the age of five Cowell began studying violin and showed signs of talent, but the lessons seemed to affect his health adversely and were discontinued. His parents divorced in 1903. Between 1907 and 1910 he and his mother lived in New York, penniless while she tried to earn a living by her writing, and stayed with relatives in Iowa and Kansas. In 1910 they returned to Menlo Park, where Cowell took jobs such as herding cows to support himself and his mother. Around this time Cowell came to the attention of the psychologist ...

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Henry Cowell. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Damrosch, Frank Heino (22 June 1859–22 October 1937), music educator, was born in Breslau, now part of Poland, the son of Leopold Damrosch, a leading violinist and conductor in Europe and later in New York, and Helene von Heimburg, an opera singer in Weimar. As a boy, Frank, who was originally named Franz, for his godfather Franz Liszt, met Liszt, Richard Wagner, violinist Joseph Joachim, and pianist Clara Schumann. Even by German standards the family lived and breathed music, and all the children received thorough grounding in all areas of music....

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DePreist, James Anderson (21 November 1936–08 February 2013), conductor and musician, was born in south Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to James DePreist and Ethel Anderson DePreist. His father died when James was six years old, and he was raised by his mother and her sister, the famous contralto ...

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Dresel, Otto (20 December 1826–26 July 1890), pianist, teacher, and composer, was born in Geisenheim, Germany, the son of Johann Dietrich Dresel and Luise Ephardt, liberal and literate parents who raised him in an intellectual environment. Dresel studied with Moritz Hauptmann at Leipzig; he also had the friendship and guidance of Ferdinand Hiller in Cologne and of Felix Mendelssohn in Leipzig. He visited New York City in 1848, played in a series of concerts there in 1849, and was the first pianist in the chamber music concerts begun by Theodore Eisfeld in 1851. After a brief return to Germany in 1851, Dresel settled in Boston in 1852 and for more than fifteen years held his place as one of that city’s most prominent pianists. In his later years he made several visits to Germany to keep abreast of new activities in its musical centers....

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Farwell, Arthur (23 April 1872–20 January 1952), composer, author, and teacher, was born Arthur George Farwell in St. Paul, Minnesota, the son of George Lyman Farwell, a hardware wholesaler, and Sara Gardner Wyer. Farwell studied electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduating in 1893. Then, as a result of his exposure to high-quality music in Boston during his years at MIT, he studied music with Homer Norris in Boston from 1893 to 1896. He then traveled to Europe where he studied with Engelbert Humperdinck and Hans Pfitzner in Berlin and, briefly, with Alexandre Guilmant in Paris....

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Flagg, Josiah (28 May 1737–30 December 1794), musician and soldier, was born in Woburn, Massachusetts, the son of Gershom Flagg, and Martha Johnson. Sometime before 1747 Josiah moved with his family to Boston, where one of his boyhood friends was Paul Revere. In about 1750 Flagg, Revere, and five other boys formed themselves into a society of bell ringers and petitioned Christ (Episcopal) Church for permission to play on the church’s bells. The exact manner of Flagg’s musical education is not known. It is likely that he attended one or more singing schools in the Boston area and perhaps took lessons from the organist at Christ Church. His subsequent activities reveal him to have been a well-rounded musician who was aware of recent fashions in European music. In 1760 he married Elizabeth Hawkes; they had eight children....

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Foster, Sidney (23 May 1917–07 February 1977), concert pianist and teacher, was born in Florence, South Carolina, the son of Louis Foster, a jeweler, and Anne Diamond. Foster gave his first public performance at the age of five, and he soon became known as the marvel of Florence for his ability to compose music and to perform complete piano pieces based on just one hearing over the gramophone....

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Galamian, Ivan (05 February 1903–14 April 1981), violin pedagogue, was born in Tabriz, Persia, the son of Alexander J. Galamian and Sarah Khounoutz, merchants. The family moved to Russia in 1904, and he began playing violin at an early age. He studied at the Moscow Philharmonia School with Konstantin Mostras from 1916 to 1918. In 1919, at the precocious age of sixteen, he joined the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra. After numerous unpleasant incidents with the new leadership in Russia, Galamian escaped the Bolshevik rule and joined the Russian refugee community in Paris in 1922. Shortly after his arrival, he continued advanced violin studies with the great violinist and teacher Lucien Capet. Capet was the author of ...

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Leopold Godowsky Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1935. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LOT 12735, no. 437 P&P).

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Godowsky, Leopold (13 February 1870–21 November 1938), pianist, teacher, and composer, was born in Soshly, a small town not far from Wilno (now Vilnius) in Lithuania, the son of Mathew Godowsky, a physician, and Anna Lewin, both Polish Jews. When his father died of cholera eighteen months after Godowsky was born, the boy and his mother moved to nearby Schirwinty. There Godowsky came under the influence of Louis and Minna Passinock, who were friends of his mother’s. Neither of Godowsky’s parents was musical; the childless Passinocks, however, were amateur musicians and enthusiastic music lovers, and they immediately recognized Godowsky’s nascent musical ability. Louis Passinock, a violinist who ran a secondhand piano shop, began teaching Godowsky to play the violin when he was seven years old. Passinock discouraged him from learning to play the piano, on the theory that there were too many pianists, but his wife recognized Godowsky’s affinity for the instrument and encouraged his keyboard explorations. Godowsky basically taught himself to play the piano; by the age of five he was so advanced that he could play the transcription of Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor. He later vividly described his early attraction to the piano. “With me,” he wrote in ...

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Goldmark, Rubin (15 August 1872–06 March 1936), composer and teacher of musical composition, was born in New York City, the son of Hungarian Jewish immigrants. His uncle, Karl Goldmark, had been a well-known composer in Vienna. After attending City College of New York, Goldmark studied music in Vienna from 1889 to 1891. There he studied piano with Anton Door and composition with Robert Fuchs. In New York Goldmark did further study at the National Conservatory of Music, where he was a pupil of the Czech composer ...

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Graupner, Gottlieb (06 October 1767–16 April 1836), musician and music publisher, was born Johann Christian Gottlieb Graupner in Verden, Germany, the son of Johann Georg Graupner, an honored Hanover musician, and Anna Maria Agnesa Schoenhagen. He apparently bore no relation to famed composer Christoph Graupner of Darmstadt. At age fifteen Gottlieb followed his father’s profession and joined the nearby Hanover regiment as an oboist. After his father’s death Gottlieb was discharged in 1788 and traveled to London where, in 1791–1792, he performed under Joseph Haydn in the premieres of the first set of his “London” symphonies. Graupner then immigrated to the United States, probably through Prince Edward Island off the coast of Canada. He gained employment as a musician in a traveling Atlantic coast theater company on the West and Rignall circuit. In April 1796 he married Catherine Comerford Hillier, a widow with three children, a professional singer, and a member of the company. The Graupners settled in Boston in the winter of 1796–1797 and worked to improve the musical quality of Boston’s cultural life....

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Herman, Michael (1911–03 May 1996), and Mary Ann Herman (1912–24 March 1992), folk music and folk dance teachers, were born into urban immigrant communities in Cleveland, Ohio, and New York City, respectively. Little is known about Michael's early life, except that he was of Ukrainian descent. Mary Ann Bodnar, the daughter of Matwey and Anna Bodnar, grew up in a New York City ghetto that reflected a melding of many different cultures. She attended a Ukrainian neighborhood school. After graduating from James Monroe High School, she attended several colleges in the New York area but never received a degree. She became a dancing performer in her neighborhood Ukrainian folk group and launched her folk dance teaching career at the YMCA....

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Hommann, Charles (25 July 1803–?), musician, teacher, and composer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John C. Hommann, a musician, and Constantia (maiden name unknown). Hommann grew up in a home in which string music and German chamber music flourished. His father was a violinist, and his elder brother John C. Hommann, Jr., played the violin and cello. Hommann’s elder sister Constantia married ...

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Hughes, Revella Eudosia (02 July 1895–24 October 1987), musician, singer, and educator, was born in Huntington, West Virginia, the daughter of George W. Hughes, a postman, and Annie B. (maiden name unknown), a piano teacher and seamstress. At age five Hughes began studying piano with her mother and, at eight or nine, violin with a musician friend of her father’s. She attended Huntington’s segregated public schools. Disturbed when Hughes was racially harassed, her parents sent her to Hartshorn Memorial College (later part of Virginia Union University) in Richmond, which she attended from 1909 to 1911, graduating with a degree in music and elementary studies. She attended Oberlin High and Conservatory, graduating in 1915. In 1917 she earned a bachelor of music in piano from Howard’s Conservatory of Music, where she studied piano with LeRoy Tibbs and voice with conservatory director ...

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Johns, Clayton (24 November 1857–05 March 1932), composer, pianist, and teacher, was born in New Castle, Delaware, the son of James McCalmont Johns and Eliza Hopkins. Clayton received his early education at public and private schools in Delaware, including Rugby Academy in Wilmington. While his tradition-bound family envisioned for him a career in law or the clergy, he wished to pursue music. He compromised by studying architecture in Philadelphia (c. 1875–1879). He then moved to Boston to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology but after hearing the Boston Symphony Orchestra, decided on music after all. He studied composition at Harvard University with ...