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"Study by Candlelight"

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Piano manufacturing boomed in the 19th century. Steinway, Mason and Hamlin, Wurlitzer, and Strong & Clark were only a few of the companies that manufactured pianos to suit different tastes and budgets. Parlor music, and piano playing in particular, epitomized gentility throughout the Victorian period. Its link to the female-dominated domestic sphere cast the piano as primarily a female accomplishment, but boys could and did excel at the instrument. Blair Fairchild (1877-1933) came from a family of talented artists and musicians. In 1891 his sister, Lucia Fairchild (1870-1924), painted Blair playing a high-end piano made by the Steinway Company. After studying music at Harvard University, Blair went on to Italy to continue his work. In 1905, he turned to full-time music studies and composition. He was the first American composer to have his work presented at the Paris Opera in 1921.


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