University of Pittsburgh
October 15, 2010

Pittsburgh Native Son and Songwriter Stephen Foster to be Inducted Into Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Oct. 17

Ceremony features acceptance remarks by Deane Root, director of Pitt’s Center for American Music, principal repository of Foster materials

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—Pittsburgh native Stephen Foster, widely regarded as America’s first professional songwriter, will be inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17, during the 40th Anniversary Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel, 611 Commerce St., Nashville. 

Following Foster’s induction, a Hall of Fame representative will read acceptance remarks written by Deane Root, Pitt professor of music, director of Pitt’s Center for American Music, and Fletcher Hodges Jr. Curator of Pitt’s Foster Hall Collection. 

The principal repository of materials relating to Foster, the collection includes Foster’s manuscripts and personal letters and possessions. The centerpiece of the collection is the composer’s sketchbook, which includes early drafts of many of his most popular songs and some never published pieces. The center consulted on Beautiful Dreamer, a Nashville-produced compilation album of 18 Foster songs that won the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album. 

Nashville’s songwriters can trace their professional lineage to Foster, the first to establish the concept of full-time songwriting as a vocation. The Lawrenceville native, born July 4, 1826, wrote compositions that portrayed life in mid-19th America—“Oh! Susanna,” “Camptown Races,” and “Beautiful Dreamer,” among many others—that became world renowned. Two became official state songs—“My Old Kentucky Home” for Kentucky and “Old Folks at Home” for Florida. 

Foster will be inducted along with three other musicians—songwriters Pat Alger and Steve Cropper and pop/country star Paul Davis. As part of the ceremonies, three-part harmony vocal group Mockingbird Sun will perform a medley of Foster songs, and Jim Lauderdale will perform Foster’s “Hard Times Come Again No More.” 




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