Personalities | Louis Moreau Gottschalk | Late Romantic | Classical
(Loo-e’ Mo-ro’ Got’shôk) 1829–69
Gottschalk was a charismatic piano virtuoso distinguished by his New Orleans upbringing and French-Creole ancestry. He dazzled the salons and saloons of New Orleans as a child prodigy, and at the age of only 13 went to study in Paris, where his skill was admired by Chopin and Berlioz. He toured as pianist and conductor until his untimely death in 1869. His piano works – over 300, such as Bamboula (1845), a scintillating rondo on ‘Sweet Potatoes’ – are influenced by Creole-Caribbean folk music. In ballads and variations such as The Last Hope and The Dying Poet, folk themes combine with sophisticated Romantic idioms, as also in larger symphonic poems including La nuit des tropiques (‘Night in the Tropics’, 1859). His works were significant in the development of American music.
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