Classical Music Playlist, August 23, 2021

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Even a hundred years after the Declaration of Independence, American music education was still in its infancy. But just as “the gunshot heard around the world” in 1775 occurred in New England, so did formal music education in America begin about a hundred years later. During the 1800s, American composers were still largely receiving formal musical education in Europe or from European immigrants. But in the increasingly fertile musical life in Boston, as with the founding of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1881 and earlier events, new traditions of composition, composers and education were flourishing. “The Boston Six” was an unofficial group (so labeled today by historians) of composer friends based in the region. The eldest of them was John Knowles Paine. Born in Maine in 1839, Paine studied in Europe and returned to the United States in 1861, settling in Boston where he soon began an association with Harvard University first as an organist with an academic chapel. In 1869 he received an honorary degree in music which enabled him to join Harvard faculty, and to be appointed full professor in 1874. This made him the first university professor of music at an American university and Paine developed the first program. music scholar in the United States. which would become a model for subsequent American universities. His first symphony of 1876 is also the first composed by an American. Symphony No. 1 by the American father of music education, John Knowles Paine, is today the masterpiece from noon to 2 p.m.


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