About Stephen Foster

Stephen Foster (1826 – 1864) was America’s first great songwriter.

Considered one of the earliest published American composers to write songs based on American themes, Foster drew inspirations from the realities of life in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and throughout United States in the mid 1800’s, in addition to the same European influences of his contemporaries.

The composer of classics such as Oh! Susanna, Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair, Beautiful Dreamer, Camptown Races and My Old Kentucky Home. Foster virtually invented popular music as we recognize it today.

Foster’s life was riddled with contradictions. Although his songs celebrated the rural South, he scarcely set foot there, spending most of his life In Pittsburgh, the smoky cradle of America’s industrial revolution.


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