Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PAINE, John Knowles, musician, born in Portland, Maine. 9 January, 1839. He studied music under Hermann Kotzschmar in his native town, and made his first appearance there as an organist in 1857. In 1858 he went to Berlin, Germany, where he remained three years, studying the organ, composition, instrumentation, and singing under Haupt, Wieprecht, and others. He gave several organ concerts in Germany, made an artistic tom" in 1865-'6, and returned to the United States. In 1872 he was appointed instructor of music at Harvard, and in 1876 received the full title of professor of music, being the first occupant of the chair at that university. He directed his " Mass" at the Singakademie in Berlin in February, 1867, and his oratorio of "St. Peter" at Portland on 3 June, 1873. His first symphony was brought out by Theodore Thomas in Boston, 6 January, 1876. Many of his orchestral works have been performed in the principal cities in the United States. He composed the Centennial Hymn, to the words of John G. Whittier, that was sung at the opening of the exhibition in Philadelphia, 1876. One of his most remarkable works is the music to the "Edipus Tyrannus" of Sophocles, as performed in Greek at the Sanders theatre, Cambridge, in May, 1881. No attempt was made to reproduce, in an antiquarian spirit, the crude music of the ancient Greeks, about which very little is really known; but the most complete resources of modern chorus and orchestra were brought to bear upon the task of rendering the peculiar and subtle religious sentiment of the Greek tragic drama. The result is a work of wonderful sublimity. Among his later compositions may especially be noticed the cantata "Phoebus, arise," words by Drummond, of Hawthorne on (1882); Keats's "Realm of Fancy," for chorus, quartet, and orchestra (1882) ; Milton's "Nativity," for chorus, solos, and orchestra, composed for the Handel and Haydn festival in Boston (1883); "A Song of Promise," cantata composed for the Cincinnati festival, May, 1888, being a grand national hymn. He is now (1888) composing an opera, upon a mediaeval theme, to libretto written by himself. His other works include the second or "Spring" symphony, an overture to "As you Like It," a symphonic fantasia on Shakespeare's "Tempest," and many songs, motets, organ-preludes, string quartets, trios, duos, sonatas, and lighter pieces for the piano. By eminent critics in Germany, Professor Paine is ranked among the foremost living composers.
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