Edward Burlingame Hill (September 9, 1872– July 9, 1960) was an American composer and music educator. Born in Cambridge, MA, on September 9, 1872, Hill came from a distinguished tradition of higher education, which he himself would carry on: His father was a Harvard chemistry professor, his grandfather the president of that university. His formal training in music was extensive and well-rounded. After graduating from Harvard University in 1894, Hill studied music in Boston with John Knowles Paine, Frederick Field de Bullard, Margaret Ruthven Lang, and George Elbridge Whiting, and in Paris with renowned organist/composer Charles Marie Widor. Finally, on his return to Boston, he pursued studies with George Whitefield Chadwick.
Hill made his living as a private teacher in Boston until he was appointed to the faculty of Harvard, his alma mater, in 1908. He became a full professor in 1928 and remained at the university until his retirement in 1940. Among Hill’s later-famous students were several who eventually emerged as central figures in the history of American music, including Leonard Bernstein, Elliott Carter, Roger Sessions, Walter Piston, Ross Lee Finney, and Virgil Thomson. In 1924 he published a book, Modern French Music, Though not as widely remembered as some of his more revolutionary contemporaries, Hill played a not inconsiderable role in the development of American music in the first half of the twentieth century. Throughout Hill’s music, clear design and structural integrity are primary compositional concerns.
Among a range of other works, Hill wrote four symphonies, four symphonic poems, two orchestral pantomimes, two orchestral suites, two piano concertos, one violin concerto, one cor anglais concerto, chamber music, jazz studies for two pianos, one choral ode, and one cantata. Hill’s own music bears the strong influence of French impressionism, an aesthetic he was no doubt exposed to during his studies in Paris. Like many “serious” composers in the early decades of the twentieth century, Hill also exhibited an interest in jazz, whose rhythms and inflections he incorporated into such works as Jazz Studies for two pianos (1924 – 35) and the Concertino for piano and orchestra (1931). Though he produced much choral and chamber music, his best-known works are evocative orchestral essays like The Parting of Lancelot and Guinevere (1915), The Fall of the House of Usher (1920), and Lilacs (1927). He died in Francestown, NH, on July 9, 1960.
My collection includes the following work by Edward Burlingame Hill:
Stevensoniana Suite No. 1, Four Pieces after Poems of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “A Child’s Garden of Verses,” op, 24
—material selected, adapted, and edited from several different sources