Hill, Edward Burlingame

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Hill, Edward Burlingame

Hill, Edward Burlingame, eminent American composer and teacher; b. Cambridge, Mass., Sept. 9, 1872; d. Francestown, N.H., July 9, 1960. A member of a distinguished family of educators (his father was a prof. of chemistry at Harvard, and his grandfather, president of Harvard), he pursued regular courses at Harvard Univ., studying music with J. K. Paine and graduating in 1894 summa cum laude. He took lessons in piano with B. J. Lang and A. Whiting, in composition with Chadwick and Bullard, and (for 1 summer) studied with Widor in Paris. He became greatly interested in the new tonal resources of the impressionist school of composers and wrote articles in the Boston Evening Transcript and other publications dealing with French music. He also publ, a book, Modern French Music (Boston, 1924). In 1908 he joined the faculty of Harvard Univ. as an instructor in music, becoming assoc. prof, in 1918, prof, in 1928, and then was the James E. Ditson Prof. (1937-40). He was a member of the National Inst. of Arts and Letters and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was a Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur. In his music, Hill reveals himself as a follower of the French school, with clarity of design and elegance of expression his chief characteristics. His best works are for orch., but he also composed some fine chamber and choral music.


dramatic:Ballet-pantomime: Jack Frost in Midsummer (1908). ORCH.: The Parting of Lancelot and Guinevere, tone poem (St. Louis, Dec. 31, 1915); Stevensoniana Suite No. 1 (1916-17; N.Y., Jan. 27, 1918) and No. 2 (1921-22; N.Y., March 25, 1923); The Fall of the House of Usher, tone poem (Boston, Oct. 29, 1920); Prelude to the Trojan Women (1920); Waltzes (Boston, Feb. 24, 1922); Scherzo for 2 Pianos and Orch. (Boston, Dec. 19, 1924); Lilacs, tone poem (Cambridge, Mass., March 31, 1927); 3 syms.: No. 1 (1927; Boston, March 30, 1928), No. 2 (1929; Boston, Feb. 27, 1931), and No. 3 (1936; Boston, Dec. 3, 1937); Ode for the 50th Anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for Chorus and Orch. (Boston, Oct. 17, 1930); Piano Concertino (1931; Boston, April 25, 1932); Sinfonietta for Strings (1932; N.Y., April 3, 1936); Violin Concerto (1933-34; rev. 1937; Boston, Nov. 11, 1938); Concertino for Strings (Boston, April 19, 1940); Music for English Horn and Orch. (1943; Boston, March 2, 1945); Concerto for 2 Flutes and Small Orch. (1947); 4 Pieces for Small Orch. (1948); Prelude (N.Y., March 29, 1953). CHAMBER: Flute Sonata (1926); Clarinet Sonata (1927); Sextet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, and Piano (1934); String Quartet (1935); Piano Quartet (1937); Sonata for 2 Clarinets (1938); Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet (1945); Diversion for Chamber Ensemble (1946); Bassoon Sonata (1948); Cello Sonatina (1949); Violin Sonatina (1951). Piano: Poetical Sketches (1902); Country Idyls, 6 pieces; Jazz Study for 2 Pianos (1924). VOCAL: Nuns of the Perpetual Adoration, cantata for Women’s Voices and Orch. or Piano (1908); Autumn Twilight for Soprano and Orch.; The Wilderness Shall Rejoice, anthem for Chorus (1915).


L. Tyler, E.B. H.: A Bio-Bibliography (N.Y., 1989).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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