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    Salzedo, Carlos (6 April 1885 – 17 August 1961)

    Composer, educator, harpist and pianist from Arcachon, France, who was born into a musical family—his father was a singer and his mother played piano for the Queen of Spain—and who could play piano at three years of age.  When he was five years old, he penned the first of many compositions he would write throughout his lifetime, “Moustique”, which was lost but later resurfaced as the polka in “Suite of Eight Dances”. 


    His mother fell down some stairs and died before he reached his sixth birthday.  The Salzedos relocated to Bordeaux and hired Marthe Bideberripe as a governess, housekeeper, and nurse.  Carlos was very close to her and remained in contact with her well after the fact, often enclosing checks with his correspondence. 


    When he was six years old, he enrolled in the St. Cecilia School of Music and the Salzedos relocated again, to Paris, where he studied at the Conservatoire.  His father, who taught voice, encouraged him to expand his musical I.Q. by taking on another instrument, the harp.  He studied with Marguerite Achard and Alphonse Hasselmans and graduated from the Conservatoire in 1901. 


    Concomitantly, he performed second harp duties with the Concerts Lamoureux, Folies-Bergere, and Olympia orchestras.  After graduation, he was contracted by the New Casino at Biarritz as their first harpist, solo harpist, and solo pianist.  He moved to The Big Apple and became the Principal Harpist with at the Met in 1909, a post he would occupy for four years. 


    In 1913, he, along with flautist Georges Barrere and cellist Paul Kefer, co-founded Trio de Lutece.  Around the same time, he was courting fellow pianist, and vocalist, Viola Gramm, and they wed on 30th April 1914.  They decided to put down stakes in Menthon-Saint-Bernard, France, but Carlos was conscripted into the army as a chef.  He got sick, however, with a combination of paralysis and pneumonia, and was discharged after spending several months in the hospital. 


    Carlos and Viola decided to move stateside in 1916, and it was a prolific time for Carlos as a composer—he penned at least fifteen pieces between 1917 and 1921—and in 1924, he set up the harp department at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music.  They were already going their separate ways, however, and in 1926, divorced. 


    In 1928, Carlos wed one of his students, virtuosa Lucile Lawrence.  They wrote Method for Harp together and headlined their own groups, the Lawrence Harp Quintette and the Salzedo Harp Ensemble.  In 1931, they established the Salzedo Harp Colony, which is located in Camden, Maine. 


    Balancing a busy performing and teaching schedule, he still found time to write a considerable amount of music throughout the next four decades, including:  “The Art of Modulating”; “Breaking in the New Year for Piano”; “Cadenza (and editing) for the Berezowsky Concerto for Harp”; “Conditioning Exercises”; “Diptych, Two Pieces for the Right Hand Alone”; “Elyze”; “Enigme for Piano”; “Marya Freund for Piano”; “Mimi Suite”; “Offrian for Cello”; “Panorama Suite”; “Prelude for a Drama”; “Scintillation”; “Second Harp parts for Short Stories in Music”; “Short Stories in Music, harp”; “Sketches for Harpist Beginners, two series”, “Suite of Eight Dances”; “Tiny Tales for Harpist Beginners, two series”; “Vieni, Vieni”; “Volute and Rondel for Flute”; and, “Wedding Presents”. 


    He died before having a chance to complete his second harp concerto, in Waterville, Maine, on 17th August 1961.  It was later finished by Robert Russell Bennett in 1966, and premiered by the American Chamber Orchestra and Jennifer Hoult in 1985. 


    His music is still very much alive and plays an active role in the modern harp repertoire.  In 2007, Yolanda Kondonassis released Salzedo’s Harp:  Music of Carlos Salzedo on the Telarc label.  The University of Texas Harp Ensemble performed his “Tango & Rumba” at their concert in the autumn of 2009.  On 17th May 2010, Floraleda Sacchi performed his “Tango for Harp” at the Auditorium della Camera del Lavoro in Milan, Italy. 


    Other examples of his work can be found on the following recordings:  Harp Recital by Marion Hoffman; Lullabies and Carols for Christmas; The Romantic Harp; Serenade—Best of Romantic Piano Music; and, The Virtuoso Harp.


    Anna Maria Mendieta recordings

    Concert Variations on “Adeste Fidelis (Frederick Oakley/John Francis Wade)

    Arranger – Carlos Salzedo



    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Salzedo
    2. http://www.yourharpist.com/carlos5.html
    3. http://www.naxos.com/person/Carlos_Salzedo/26327.htm
    4. http://www.classicalarchives.com/composer/3268.html#tvf=tracks&tv=about
    5. http://judywolterbailey.com/salzedo.htm
    6. http://www.amazon.com/Salzedos-Harp-Music-Carlos-Salzedo/dp/B000W1V8BM
    7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnsuQZDxSss
    8. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1jSl1zSDNI












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