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Edward Burlingame Hill: Edward Burlingame Hill (b Cambridge, MA, 9 Sept 1872; d Francetown, NH, 9 July 1960). American composer. Edward Burlingame Hill's father was an accomplished lieder singer and a friend of the distinguished Boston music critic William F. Apthorp. While attending Harvard University, Hill pursued his interest in music and studied with John Knowles Paine. After graduation (1894) he spent two years in New York, where he studied the piano with Arthur Whiting; he also received lessons in composition from Widor in Paris in 1898 and took a course in orchestration from Chadwick at the New England Conservatory in 1902. He taught theory and the piano in Boston until 1908, when he accepted a post in the department of music at Harvard. There he was made full professor in 1928, and later chair of the department, a position he held until his retirement to New Hampshire in 1940. Among his students at Harvard were Leonard Bernstein, Elliott Carter, Virgil Thomson, Ross Lee Finney and Randall Thompson.
Edward Burlingame Hill’s interest in French Impressionist music was reflected in his own compositions and in his book Modern French Music (Boston and New York, 1924). Material for the book originated in a series of lectures he gave in 1921 at the University of Strasbourg and at the Congrès d’Histoire et de l’Art at Lyons. His early compositions carry traces of MacDowell’s influence, but contemporary critics found the mature style of the tone poem Lilacs (1927) evocative of French Impressionism. His style, although eclectic in this sense, had a highly individual stamp that featured clear details and specificity of structure. His later works tended towards more propulsive rhythms and simpler textures; in Jazz Studies for two pianos (1924–35) and the Piano Concertino (1931), he gently parodied the jazz idiom.
Edward Burlingame Hill was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters (elected 1916) and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur.
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