Carlos Salzédo

Carlos Salzedo (6 April 1885 – 17 August 1961) was a French harpist, pianist, composer and conductor. His compositions presented the harp as a virtuoso instrument. He influenced many composers with his new ideas for the harp's sounds, and was influential in New York's new music scene through his work leading the International Composers' Guild with Edgard Varèse.

Salzedo started studying at the Paris Conservatory at age nine and won the premier prix in harp and piano when he was just 16. He started his solo recital career at age 18, and was brought to the United States of America six years later, to perform as solo harpist with the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. He toured extensively with the Trio de Lutèce, with Georges Barrère, flute and Paul Kéfer, cello. After being drafted into the French Army during World War I, Salzedo returned to the United States and continued touring with the trio.

In consultation with Vaslav Nijinsky during a summer in Maine, together they developed a system of esthetic gestures to be used while performing on the harp. Subsequently, he was instrumental in raising money to save Nijinsky by funding his residence in a Swiss Sanatorium. Aside from touring with his trio, he organized The Salzedo Harp Ensemble, utilizing his students, which toured extensively, often in collaboration with singers from the Metropolitan Opera.

He co-founded the International Composers' Guild with Edgard Varèse in 1921, and founded the National Harp Association to promote the harp. In addition to forming a summer harp colony, first in Seal Harbor, then later in Camden, Maine, he founded the harp department at the Curtis Institute of Music in 1924. He continued to teach privately in New York City until his death. He developed new techniques and notations for these techniques, which he used extensively in his compositions after 1919.

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