Converse, Charles Crozat

(Pen-name Karl Redan)


He was born at Warren, Mass., and after being taught English and the classics, he went to Germany in 1855 and studied at the Leipsic Conservatory. While there he was taught orchestration by Richter and the piano by Plaidy, and made the acquaintance of Liszt and Spohr. The latter took a deep interest in his musical career, and gave him every encouragement. He returned to America, and studied law, graduating from the law department of the Albany University in 1860, with the degree LL.B. Later he was given the degree of LL.D. He declined the professorship of music at the University of Cambridge, tendered him in recognition of the talents he showed in composing a five-voiced double fugue, that ends his psalmcantata on the 126th Psalm. It was performed under the baton of Theodore Thomas in Chicago in 1888. Converse has published a large number of compositions, under his penname, Karl Redan. One of his best known works is the American overture on Hail Columbia, written for the orchestra. He has also written oratorios and many chorals. In manuscript he has a large assortment including two symphonies; ten sonatas; three symphonic poems and an oratorio, The Captivity. Of these manuscript works, three have been produced, the Christmas overture, at one of  the public concerts of the Manuscript Society, under the direction of Walter Damrosch, an overture, Im Fruhling, under the baton of Theodore Thomas, and the American overture, under Gilmore and his band, and by Seidl and Thomas. The last is built on the air Hail Columbia and its instrumentation is brilliant.