Louis Moreau Gottschalk (May 8, 1829 ? December 18, 1869) was an American composer and pianist, best known as a virtuoso performer of his own romantic piano pieces. Although he is regarded as an American composer and musician, he spent most of his working career outside of the United States. Gottschalk was born of a Jewish businessman from London and a white Creole Haitian in New Orleans, where he was exposed to a wide variety of musical traditions. His family lived for a time in a tiny cottage at Royal & Esplanade in the Vieux Carré, and Louis subsequently moved in with relatives at 518 Conti Street. His Grandmother Buslé and his nurse Sally were both natives of Saint-Domingue. He played the piano from an early age and was soon recognized as a wunderkind by the New Orleans bourgeois establishment. In 1840, he gave his informal public debut at the new St. Charles Hotel.
Only two years later, he left the United States and sailed to Europe, realizing that a classical training would be required to fulfill his musical ambitions. The Paris Conservatoire, however, initially rejected his application, and Gottschalk only gradually gained access to the musical establishment through friends.
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