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William Foden

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William Foden


William Foden (23 March 1860, St. Louis, Mo. – 9 April 1947, Missouri) was an American composer, educator and guitarist.

Foden initially started with the violin at age 7, changing from age 16 to the mandolin and classical guitar. He studied guitar with William O. Bateman.

By the age of sixteen, he became the head of the local mandolin orchestra. His professional career began in the 1880s, gaining national notoriety from the early 1890s. Having an aversion to traveling and leaving his family, he did not fully capitalize on his growing fame until 1904, when he was invited to play at Carnegie Hall for the 3rd annual convention of the American Guild of Banjoists, Mandolinists and Guitarists.

In 1911, Foden and his family moved to Englewood, New Jersey, near New York City, after a successful eight-month tour of the United States and British Columbia together with mandolinist Giuseppe Pettine and banjoist Frederick Bacon. From Englewood, he commuted to New York City where he taught guitar and other fretted instruments at a studio at 42nd Street.

For the publisher Wm. J. Smith he arranged numerous works for mandolin orchestra, guitar, banjo, ukulele, and Hawaiian steel guitar. His Grand Guitar Method in two volumes (1920, 1921) contains numerous original compositions, in addition to nearly 50 solo compositions published independently. He also left more than a hundred compositions and arrangements in manuscript.

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