MacDowell, Edward Alexander (1861–1908), a United States composer, pianist, and teacher. His orchestral works and piano compositions won him an international reputation. Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor (1889) and Woodland Sketches (10 pieces, including “To a Wild Rose,” 1896) are typical of his individual, lyrical works.
MacDowell was born in New York City. He began studying the piano as a child, and in 1876 went to France to attend the Paris Conservatory. Not satisfied with his progress, MacDowell went to Germany, where he studied at Frankfurt Conservatory, 1879–81. He remained in Germany, teaching and composing, until 1888 when he settled in Boston.
In 1896 MacDowell became head of the newly created music department at Columbia University. Disagreements with university officials over the curriculum led to his resignation in 1904. Shortly after his death the MacDowell Colony, an artists' retreat in Peterborough, New Hampshire, was established in his memory.
MacDowell was elected to the Hall of Fame for Great Americans in 1960.
His other works include: Hamlet and Ophelia (1885), a symphonic poem; Suite No. 2 (“Indian Suite,” 1895), for orchestra; Fireside Tales (1902) and New England Idyls (1902), for piano.