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Charles Wakefield Cadman

cw cadmanCharles Wakefield Cadman

Charles Wakefield Cadman (December 24, 1881 - December 30, 1946) was an American Composer.

Cadman’s musical education, unlike that of most of his American contemporaries, was completely American. Born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, he began piano lessons at 13. Eventually, he went to nearby Pittsburgh where he studied harmony, theory, and orchestration with Luigi von Kunitz and Emil Pautz, then concertmaster and conductor, respectively, of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

sonata in gHe was greatly influenced by American Indian Music and went so far as to travel to Nebraska to make cylinder recordings of tribal melodies for the Smithsonian Institution. He lived with the Omaha and Winnebago tribes and learned to play their instruments and later was able to adapt it in the form of 19th century romantic music. He wrote several articles on Indian music and was regarded as one of the foremost experts on the subject. He toured both the States and Europe giving his then celebrated "Indian Talk.” But his involvement with the so-called Indianist Movement in American music made it difficult for  his works to be judged on their own merits.

His early works enjoyed little success until the famous soprano Lillian Nordica  sang one of his Indian songs, "From The Land of The Sky-Blue Water.” Another Indian song which became well-known in the 1920s was "At Dawning.”

We are all proud of our school’s name sake, Charles Wakefield Cadman.