Born: April 6, 1885; Arcachon, France
Died: August 17, 1961; Waterville, ME
Carlos Salzédo was the foremost harpist of the first half of the twentieth century, and is considered the single most significant composer for the harp to the present time. Salzédo 's music is evocative of French impressionism and is technically demanding for the performer; it breaks new ground in terms of the basic sound world of the harp and the techniques employed.
While Salzédo was born in Arcachon, heRead more studied in Bordeaux and, later, at the Paris Conservatoire, from which he graduated with an unprecedented two first prizes: one in harp, and one in piano. Salzédo moved to New York in 1909, where he was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra through 1913. Salzédo later performed with various chamber music ensembles, for which he also composed works, including the Sonata for Harp and Piano (1925) and his Concerto No. 1 for Harp and Seven Winds (1925-1926). One of these ensembles was the flute-cello-harp Trio de Lutèce, with Georges Barrère and Paul Kéfer; another was the Salzédo Harp Ensemble. The Trio was on tour in Europe, combining a tour with Salzédo's honeymoon with his first wife, when World War I broke out. Salzédo briefly served in the French army, surprisingly as cook for his unit.
In 1921, Salzédo helped Edgard Varèse to establish the International Composer's Guild, and from 1921 to 1932 served as editor of the Eolian Review, a publication which focused on new music. In 1924, Salzédo established the harp department at the Curtis Institute for Music in Philadelphia, and was responsible several years later for founding the Salzédo Harp Colony in Camden, Maine. Among pupils who studied with Salzédo at Curtis were Edna Phillips, Alice Chalifoux, Lynne Wainwright Palmer, Marilyn Costello, Judy Loman, Edward Druzinsky, Reinhardt Elster, Carol Baum and Margarita Montanaro.
would spend winters teaching in Philadelphia and in New York, and then the summers in Maine. One of Salzedo's youngest pupils, and his most outstanding protegee after Lucile Lawrence, is Heidi Lehwalder. After Salzédo's death, the summer school in Maine was taken over by his protégée Alice Chalifoux.
Salzédo's compositional output is almost exclusively devoted to the harp, and as an exceptional performer, he knew well how to write for the instrument. In addition to his original compositions, Salzédo contributed several pedagogical works to the harp literature, including his Modern Study of the Harp (1921, revised 1948) and the Method for Harp (1929), written with his duet partner and second wife Lucile Lawrence. He left unfinished a second Concerto for Harp, which was completed in 1966 by the gifted American musician Robert Russell Bennett. Read less