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Margaret Ruthven Lang

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Margaret Ruthven Lang (27 November 1867, Boston, Massachusetts — 29 May 1972, Boston) was an American composer and centenarian affiliated with the "Second New England School." The Boston Symphony Orchestra premiered her Dramatic Overture in 1893, marking Lang as the second woman (after Amy Beach) performed by a major US orchestra.

She was the eldest child of a notable conductor and composer, Benjamin Johnson Lang (1837—1909). Many renowned musicians and composers frequented Margaret's family house on Bimmer Street in Boston, such as Maud Powell, Antonín Dvořák, and Ignacy Jan Paderewski. B.J. Lang was also a friend of Franz Liszt and his daughter Cosima, Richard Wagner's second wife, and Margaret often played with Wagner's children in her early years. In 1886, nineteen-year-old Margaret traveled to Munich with her mother to study with Ludwig Abel (1835—1895) and Viktor Gluth (1852—1917). She was barred from entering Musikhochschule München, as women weren't allowed to learn counterpoint and composition until 1898.

After returning to Boston, Margaret Lang studied with George Whitefield Chadwick, a Professor at the New England Conservatory Of Music, and privately with John Knowles Paine and James Cutler Dunn Parker (1828—1916). She was a prolific composer, authoring over 200 songs, many of them published by A.P. Schmidt. In April 1893, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, under Arthur Nikisch's baton, premiered her "Dramatic Overture," Op. 12 — the second-ever work by a woman performed by a major US orchestra. Lang was tightly associated with "New England Classicists," also known as the "Boston Six," a group of prolific composers heavily inspired by German Romantic tradition: John Knowles Paine (1839—1906), Arthur Foote (1853—1937), George Whitefield Chadwick (1854—1931), Amy Marcy Cheney Beach (1867—1944), Edward MacDowell (1861—1908), and Horatio William Parker (1863—1919); other notable composers with ties to the "Second New England School" were Edgar Stillman-Kelley (1857—1944), George E. Whiting (1861—1944), and Arthur Batelle Whiting (1861—1936).

Lang held a curious distinction as the longest-consecutive Boston Symphony Orchestra subscriber, holding the season pass for 91 years. In 1967, BSO performed a concert in honor of Margaret's 100th birthday, with a commemorative plaque installed on her B1 seat at the Symphony Hall's 1st balcony.

Sites:margaretruthvenlang.com , Wikipedia , adp.library.ucsb.edu
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