Arguably America’s most beloved and popular melodist, Stephen Foster became the nation’s first truly great professional songwriter, managing to compose over 200 songs in his tragically short life. Many of his works (“Oh! Susanna,” “Old Folks at Home,” “Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair”) are so familiar and effortlessly crafted that they seem to be folk songs.
January 13, 2014 was the 150th anniversary of Stephen Foster’s death. Foster’s importance in the history of American, and world, music cannot be overestimated. The Hampsong Foundation has created many projects to honor Foster’s memory and help educate visitors about Foster’s life and legacy. Check out some of these projects and pages below.
“Stephen Foster’s music is the trunk of the tree of American song, sturdy with songs we love to sing,” says Thomas Hampson. In this program we explore Foster’s music, the varied artistic roots he drew from, and the musical branches that grew from his work.
…and listen to some of Stephen Foster’s timeless songs:
Jan. 13, 2014: Stephen Foster Celebrated in Pittsburgh
PBS’s American Experience: Stephen Foster
Library of Congress: Stephen Foster Biography and Resources
The Center for American Music in Pittsburgh, PA, the principal repository for all materials pertaining to Stephen Foster
But for the opera I could never have written Leaves of Grass. […] My younger life was so saturated with the emotions, raptures, uplifts, of such musical experiences that it would be surprising indeed if all my future work had not been covered by them. A real musician running through Leaves of Grass – a philosopher musician – could put his finger on this and that anywhere in the text no doubt as indicating the activity of the influences I have spoken of. — Walt Whitman, With Walt Whitman in Camden