MARIANA WHITMER AND DEANE ROOT Stephen Collins Foster (July 4, 1826January 13, 1864) was the first fulltime songwriter in the United States, and still one of the most significant in the nation's history. As the editors of the chapter titled "Stephen Foster's Legacy" wrote in Music in the USA: A Documentary Companion, "A broad multicultural public heard itself in the songs written by Stephen Foster . . ., who forged a synthesis among a variety of styles--from Thomas Moore's Irish parlor songs and bel canto Italian opera to blackface minstrelsy and revival hymns . . . FosStephen Foster ter's songs were as common as bread on the table."1 Another musicologist summed up the wide spread of Foster's songs throughout the country thus: "Never before, and rarely since, did any music come so close to being a shared experience for so many Americans."2 American Music Fall 2012 © 2013 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois Foster's legacy and the documentation of his life and works have been the object of some of the most remarkable philanthropic acts in American music history, manifest in the building, library, and programs of the Stephen C. Foster Memorial at
American Music – University of Illinois Press
Published: Apr 24, 2012
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