New Orleans-based Romantic composer and virtuosic pianist. I’ve created a playlist on Spotify, which I’ve been enjoying this lovely afternoon.
Gottschalk was born to a Jewish businessman from London and a Creole mother in New Orleans, where he was exposed to a variety of musical traditions. He had six brothers and sisters, five of whom were half-siblings by his father’s mulatto mistress. His family lived for a time in a tiny cottage at Royal and Esplanade in the Vieux Carré. Louis later moved in with relatives at 518 Conti Street; his maternal grandmother Buslé and his nurse Sally had both been born in Saint-Domingue (known later as Haiti). Gottschalk played the piano from an early age and was soon recognized as a prodigy by the New Orleans bourgeois establishment. In 1840, he gave his informal public debut at the new St. Charles Hotel.
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