Gottschalk, Louis Moreau
- Irving Lowens
- , revised by S. Frederick Starr
(b New Orleans, May 8, 1829; d Tijuca, Brazil, Dec 18, 1869). American composer and pianist. His considerable reputation as a composer of virtuoso piano pieces did not long survive his death, but a renewed interest in his life and works began in the 1930s and he is now generally acknowledged as one of the most significant 19th-century American musicians, and his music as a direct precursor of ragtime.
Moreau (as he was called in the family) was the first of eight children born to Edward and Marie-Aimée (Bruslé) Gottschalk. His London-born, German-Jewish father went to New Orleans in the early 1820s and established himself there as a merchant; his mother was the daughter of a prosperous Catholic baker of French ancestry who had fled from St Domingue in Haiti to Louisiana following the slave rebellion in the 1790s. The child showed an aptitude for music before his fourth birthday, and when he was five his parents engaged François Letellier, organist and choirmaster of St Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, to give him private lessons. By ...