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
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.
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
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,
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.
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,
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.
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,
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.
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
Anna Maria Mendieta
Concert Variations on “Adeste Fidelis” (Frederick
Oakley/John Francis Wade)
Arranger – Carlos Salzedo