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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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Bauer, Marion Eugenie (15 August 1887–09 August 1955), composer, teacher, and advocate of modern music, was the daughter of Jacques Bauer and Julie Heyman. Her father was an amateur musician who earned his living as a grocer, and her mother was a language teacher. Born in Walla Walla, Washington, Bauer began her musical study in Portland, Oregon, where the family moved after the death of her father in 1890. Soon after her high school graduation in 1903, Bauer moved to New York City to live with her eldest sister, Emilie Frances, a pianist and music critic, who provided her with financial support and encouragement. During this period, Bauer studied piano and composition with Henry Holden Huss....

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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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Bonds, Margaret Jeannette Allison (03 March 1913–26 April 1972), composer, pianist, and teacher, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Dr. Monroe Alpheus Majors, a pioneering black physician, medical researcher, and author, and Estelle C. Bonds, a music teacher and organist. Although legally born Majors, she used her mother’s maiden name (Bonds) in her youth and throughout her professional life. She grew up in intellectually stimulating surroundings; her mother held Sunday afternoon salons at which young black Chicago musicians, writers, and artists gathered and where visiting musicians and artists were always welcomed. Bonds first displayed musical talent in her piano composition “Marquette Street Blues,” written at the age of five. She then began studying piano with local teachers and by the time she was in high school was taking lessons in piano and composition with ...

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Boulanger, Nadia Juliette (16 September 1887–22 October 1979), composer and teacher, was born in Paris, the daughter of Ernest Boulanger and Princess Raissa Mychetsky. Her family was musical: her father and grandfather had taught singing at the Paris Conservatoire; her mother, a singer who had been one of Ernest Boulanger’s students, gave Nadia her first music lessons; and her sister, Lili (1893–1918), was regarded during her brief lifetime as a talented composer....

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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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Brown, Gertrude Foster (29 July 1867–01 March 1956), suffragist, concert pianist, and music educator, was born Gertrude Marion Foster in Morrison, Illinois, the daughter of Lydia Ann (or Anna) Drake and William Charles Foster, an agricultural commodities trader and real estate investor. At the early age of five, Gertrude displayed a talent for music by teaching herself to play short piano pieces that she had heard her older brother practicing. When she was twelve years old, she was hired as the organist for the local Presbyterian church, the first organist for that church ever to be paid a salary....

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Childers, Lulu Vere (28 February 1870–06 March 1946), founder and director of the School of Music at Howard University and singer, was born in Dryridge, Kentucky, the daughter of former slaves Alexander Childers and Eliza Butler. She studied voice at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and in 1896 was awarded a diploma that was replaced by a bachelor’s degree in 1906 when the conservatory began granting degrees. The Oberlin Conservatory chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda, a national honor society, elected her a member in 1927. She studied voice further with Sydney Lloyd Wrightson at the Washington Conservatory of Music, with William Shakespeare, and with Oscar Devries at Chicago Musical College....

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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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Crawford-Seeger, Ruth Porter (03 July 1901–18 November 1953), composer, teacher, and scholar of American folk music, was born in East Liverpool, Ohio, the daughter of Clark Crawford, a Methodist minister, and Clara Alletta Graves. Her father moved the family to Jacksonville, Florida, in 1911. After his death in 1914, the family supported itself by running a rooming house. Crawford-Seeger began piano study in Jacksonville with her mother and later studied at the city’s School of Musical Art. In 1920 she enrolled at the American Conservatory in Chicago, where she studied piano with Heniot Levy and Louise Robyn, and theory and composition with John Palmer and Adolf Weidig. After a year at the conservatory, she earned a teaching certificate and continued her composition studies with Weidig, earning a master’s degree in 1929. During this period, Crawford-Seeger continued her piano study with Djane Lavoie-Herz and became a member of the faculty at both the conservatory and Elmhurst College of Music near Chicago. The children of poet ...

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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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Diller, Angela (01 August 1877–30 April 1968), pianist and music educator, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of William A. M. Diller, a church organist and choirmaster, and Mary Abigail Welles. As a child, she played piano by ear; when she was twelve she began studying with Alice Fowler, whom she described as “an inspiring teacher” and with whom she studied until she was seventeen. Soon after that she took her first teaching position at St. John the Baptist School for Girls, a New York boarding school, where some of her pupils were her own age. Diller took students to New York Philharmonic concerts, first educating herself about the works to be played by studying scores borrowed from the public library so that she could discuss the music with her students....

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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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Fay, Amy Muller (21 May 1844–28 February 1928), pianist and musical activist, was born in Bayou Goula, Louisiana, the child of Charlotte Emily Hopkins and Charles Fay, both descended from prominent New England families. (She was christened Amelia but was known as Amy.) Her father, an Episcopalian minister, was the son of a leading judge, while her mother, the daughter of the first Episcopal bishop of Vermont, was herself a woman of great intellect. Amy grew up in St. Albans, Vermont, where her father opened a private school. She received her first musical instruction from her mother. After her mother’s death when Amy was twelve, she continued her music study with her older sisters, except for the summer of 1861, when she studied for a few weeks with Jan Pychowski at the normal school in Geneseo, New York....

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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 ...