program notes by composition > F > Foster On My Mind

Foster On My Mind

Stephen Foster/arr. Takashi Hoshide

Foster On My Mind This medley of seven famous melodies by Stephen Foster brings many soloists to the fore. Selections include “Camptown Races” (originally titled "Gwine to Run All Night",) “Beautiful Dreamer,” “Old Folks at Home” (known also as "Swanee River,") “Old Black Joe,” “Oh! Susanna,” “My Old Kentucky Home,” and “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair.”

Stephen Foster (1826–1864) has been called "the most famous songwriter of the nineteenth century," and may be the most recognizable American composer in other countries. He wrote over 200 songs, many in the blackface minstrel show tradition that was acceptable and popular during his time.

Foster was the youngest of nine children. He taught himself to play the clarinet, violin, guitar, flute and piano. He studied briefly at Jefferson (now Washington & Jefferson) College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. He was influenced greatly by Henry Kleber, one of his few formal music instructors, and Dan Rice, an entertainer, clown, and blackface singer. Foster lived in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and for the last four years of his life, New York. Although many of his songs had Southern themes, he never lived in the South and visited it only once. Foster died at age 37 from fever and a fall.

Takashi Hoshide (b.1962) is a contemporary Japanese composer and arranger.