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Edward Alexander MacDowell Program Notes and Sheet Music

Edward Alexander MacDowell (December 18, 1860 – January 23, 1908) was an American composer and pianist of the late Romantic period. He was best known for his second piano concerto and his piano suites Woodland Sketches, Sea Pieces and New England Idylls. Woodland Sketches includes his most popular short piece, "To a Wild Rose". In 1904 he was one of the first seven Americans honored by membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

MacDowell was born in New York City to a wealthy family. He began studying piano at the age of five and composition at the age of 12. In 1876, he went to Paris to study with the French composer Antoine Marmontel. After two years in Paris, MacDowell moved to Frankfurt, Germany, to study with the German composer Joachim Raff.

In 1881, MacDowell returned to the United States and began teaching at the New England Conservatory of Music. He also began composing full-time. In 1888, he married Marian Nevins, a pianist and composer. The couple had two children.

MacDowell's music was influenced by a variety of sources, including the Romantic composers of Europe, American folk music, and Native American music. He was one of the first American composers to achieve international success. His music is known for its lyrical beauty, its use of American themes, and its technical virtuosity.

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