University of Pittsburgh
January 11, 2012

University of Pittsburgh Marks Annual Stephen Foster Day Jan. 13 With Program at Songwriter’s Gravesite

Contact: 

Sharon Blake

412-624-4364

Cell: 412-277-6926

 

PITTSBURGH—The life and accomplishments of Pittsburgh native Stephen Foster will be celebrated Jan. 13 as the region marks the 147th anniversary of the composer’s death. 

Foster was born in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh on July 4, 1826, and became a world-renown songwriter, portraying life in mid-19th century America through such legendary compositions as “Old Folks at Home,” “Oh! Susanna,” “Camptown Races,” and “Beautiful Dreamer.” He died at age 37, on Jan. 13, 1864, and is buried in Allegheny Cemetery in Lawrenceville. 

At 11 a.m. Jan. 13, students from St. Raphael Elementary School in Pittsburgh’s East End will gather to sing Foster songs at the Temple of Memories Mausoleum, Allegheny Cemetery, 4734 Butler St., Lawrenceville. They will be accompanied by Joe Negri, Pittsburgh jazz legend and guitar instructor in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Music at Pitt. Deane Root, Pitt professor of music and director and Fletcher Hodges Jr. Curator of Pitt’s Center for American Music, will deliver remarks.

Foster’s music is still widely used in television and films. The CD Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster (American Roots Publishing, 2004) won the 2005 Grammy Award in the category Best Traditional Folk Album. 

“People all over the world see Foster as epitomizing American music,” says Root. “He launched what we think of today as popular music, and his influence is still being felt.” 

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