Edward Alexander MacDowell (1860-1908) was an American composer and pianist of the late Romantic period. He was best known for his second piano concerto and his piano suites Woodland Sketches, Sea Pieces and New England Idylls. Woodland Sketches includes his most popular short piece, "To a Wild Rose.” In 1904 he was one of the first seven Americans honored by membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
MacDowell was also a noted teacher of the piano, and was appointed professor of music at Columbia University, the first music professor in the university's history. He was personally invited to Columbia by its president to create a music department. He stayed at Columbia until 1904. In addition to composing and teaching, he directed the Mendelssohn Glee Club. MacDowell composed some music for the group to perform.
In 1896, MacDowell purchased Hillcrest Farm, to serve as their summer residence in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He found his creativity flourished in the beautiful rural setting. His compositions included two piano concertos, two orchestral suites, four symphonic poems, four piano sonatas, piano suites, and songs. He also published dozens of piano transcriptions of mostly 18th century pre-piano keyboard pieces.