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E. Power Biggs

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Biography

E. Power Biggs studied music at the Royal Academy of Music, emigrating to the U.S. in 1930 and becoming a citizen in 1937. He concertized widely, eventually broadcasting a weekly radio program from 1942-1958 on a classic Aeolian-Skinner organ from the Musch-Reisinger Museum at Harvard University. This program alone brought the sound of organ music, particularly that of the Baroque, to an unprecedented large audience. Biggs' inexhaustible energy as a performer was instrumental to the popularization of both the organ and Baroque music, and his activities extended well beyond these broadcasts. He toured and recorded widely, playing a huge variety of modern and historic organs and the music best suited for them, eventually expanding his repertory into every period of music. A series of LPs Biggs recorded for Columbia in the 1960s did much to make Bach's organ masterpieces familiar to a variety of listeners that ranged well beyond the traditional classical audience. Biggs also courted crossover listeners with a recording of Scott Joplin rags made on the pedal harpsichord. He also worked with a number of contemporary composers on commissions, including Walter Piston and Roy Harris. After the onset of arthritis, which led to a forced retirement, Biggs concentrated on editing and publishing early organ music. By the time of his death in 1977, the name E. Power Biggs had become synonymous with the organ for several generations of music lovers.

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Birth Name:

Edward Power Biggs

Born:

29 March 1906 in Westcliff, England

Genre
Years Active:

'40s, '50s, '60s, '70s