Edward Burlingame Hill

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Born: September 9, 1872; Cambridge, MA   Died: July 9, 1960; Francestown, NH  
Though not as widely remembered as some of his more revolutionary contemporaries, composer and educator Edward Burlingame Hill played a not inconsiderable role in the development of American music in the first half of the twentieth century. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on September 9, 1872, Hill came from a distinguised tradition of higher education, which he himself would carry on: His father was a Harvard chemistry professor, his Read more grandfather the president of that university. His formal training in music was extensive and well-rounded, including studies with leading American musicians like Arthur Whiting, John Knowles Paine, and George Chadwick. He also studied composition in Paris with renowned organist/composer Charles-Marie Widor.

Hill made his living as a private teacher in Boston until he was appointed to the faculty of Harvard, his alma mater, in 1908. He became a full professor in 1928 and remained at the university until his retirement in 1940. Among Hill's students were several who eventually emerged as central figures in the history of American music, including Leonard Bernstein, Elliott Carter, and Virgil Thomson.

Hill's own music bears the strong influence of French impressionism, an aesthetic he was no doubt exposed to during his studies in Paris. Like many "serious" composers in the early decades of the twentieth century, Hill also exhibited an interest in jazz, whose rhythms and inflections he incorporated into such works as Jazz Studies for two pianos (1924 - 35) and the Concertino for piano and orchestra (1931). Though he produced much choral and chamber music, his best-known works are evocative orchestral essays like The Parting of Lancelot and Guinevere (1915), The Fall of the House of Usher (1920), and Lilacs (1927); he also wrote three symphonies. Throughout Hill's music, clear design and structual integrity are primary compositional concerns. Read less

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