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Born in 1829
Inducted in 2002
Louis Moreau Gottschalk spent his early boyhood in New Orleans where he absorbed the Afro-Caribbean nuances so abundant in the Creole music of that city. At age three when he played little tunes at the piano, his mother hired a music teacher and the die was cast. By age thirteen, he was an emerging virtuoso and his father sent him to Europe for serious study. The brilliant teen-age studied piano with several of Europe’s finest teachers, and took lessons in composition from his mentor and friend Hector Berlioz?who said,“He has an exquisite grace in his manner of phrasing, a boldness, brilliancy, and originality.” Frederic Chopin said the sixteen year old might well be a future “king of pianists.” During his eleven years in Europe, Gottschalk composed dozens of works that revealed his New Orleans next roots: the famous Bamboula, La Savane a Creole Ballade, The Banjo, the Chanson nigre, and The Siege of Saragossa among them. Finally, he came back to America, and spent his last sixteen years giving sensational concerts throughout the entire Western Hemisphere. He died in 1869, one of the most famous composer-pianists of the nineteenth century.