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Chadwick, George Whitefield

american cons music symphonic

Chadwick, George Whitefield, eminent American composer and teacher; b. Lowell, Mass. Nov. 13, 1854; d. Boston, April 4, 1931. He began musical training with his brother. From the time he was 15, he was active as an organist, and in 1872 he became a Congregational church organist. He also pursued organ training with Dudley Buck and Eugene Thayer at the New England Cons. of Music in Boston. After serving as a prof. of music at Olivet Coll. in Mich. (1876–77), he went to Leipzig to study privately with Jadassohn, and then entered the Cons, there in 1878. His Rip Van Winkle overture and his Second String Quartet were selected as the finest works at the annual Cons, concerts in 1879. He then pursued training with Rheinberger at the Munich Hochschule für Musik (1879–80). Upon his return to Boston in 1880, he devoted himself mainly to composing and teaching. He also was active as an organist, as a pianist (prinicipally in programs of his own works), and as a symphonic and choral conductor. He served as director and conductor of the Springfield (1890–99) and Worcester (1897–1901) festivals. In 1882 he became a teacher at the New England Cons, of Music. In 1897 he became its director, and proceeded to make it one of the most distinguished conservatories in the U.S. Many noted American composers were Chad wick’s pupils. In 1898 he was elected a member of the National Inst. of Arts and Letters, and in 1909 of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which awarded him its gold medal in 1928. Chadwick was one of the leading American composers of his day. While he is usually regarded as a pillar of the “Boston Classicists,” his most important works actually reveal attempts to find a new American style, albeit one reflecting the tenets of late Romanticism. Among his most important works were the verismo opera The Padrone (1912–13), the Second Sym. (1883–85), the Symphonic Sketches (1895–1904), the symphonic ballad Tom O’Shanter (1914–15), the Fourth String Quartet (1896), and various songs.

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