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Saunders County Historical Society and Museum | 240 N. Walnut Street | Wahoo, NE 68066 | 402-443-3090


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Five Famous Sons

Take Note of Howard Hanson, Our Music Man

Thank you Dr Scott Watkins, an expert on the life of Howard Hanson, for the visit to Wahoo.

About Scott Watkins, American Classical Pianist and Guest Lecturer

Mr Watkins is a classical pianist and associate professor of piano at Jacksonville University and since 2011, he has held the position of Visiting Foreign Scholar at Beifang University's Conservatory of Music and Dance in Yin Chuan, China, where he performs, teaches and lectures.

In 2016, Watkins discovered the unpublished manuscript of Howard Hanson's "Symphonic Rhapsody" composed in 1919. Carl Fischer published Watkins' edition of hte work in December 2017.

Mr Watkins is now writing a book about the Wahoo born Pulitzer Prize winner and long time director of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. The book is entitled "Before Eastman".

We invite you to follow us on Facebook on the "Howard Hanson House" or contact the Saunders County Museum, 402-443-3090.

Background on Howard Hanson

Howard Hanson was nominated to the Nebraska Hall of Fame. His childhood home is available for tours. Contact the Saunders County Historical Society at 402-443-3090 to schedule a day and time for individuals or groups.

Born Oct. 28, 1986 to Hans and Hilma (nee Eckstrom) Hanson, Howard attended Luther College in Wahoo before attending Juilliard School in New York City before moving on to Northwestern University. Howard was first taught music by his mother. By 1919, Howard became the Dean of the Conservatory of Fine Arts. In 1921, he was awarded the first American Prix de Rome in Music for his "California Forest Play of 1920".

Howard had a long lasting impact on music education when in 1924 George Eastman selected Howard to be director of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. Hanson ran the school for 40 years, retiring in 1964. In 1925, Hanson began a series of orchestral concerts to showcase American Composers.

His career highlights include:

  • Symphony No. 1
  • Symphony No. 2
  • Merry Mount, an opera
  • Symphony No. 4 which won the 1944 Pulitzer Prize

Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester has even named a music hall after the legendary director who led the Eastman School from 1924-1964.

The childhood home of Howard Hanson is preserved and available for tours. Contact the museum at 403-443-3090 to schedule a viewing.

For more information

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We are open while Chestnut Street is under construction.
Come Visit! Location: 240 N. Walnut, Wahoo, NE 68066
Hours: Sunday and Monday - closed | Tuesday through Saturday - 10am - 4pm; Closed on major holidays
Group tours and special requests can be made by calling our office at 402-443-3090. We look forward to seeing you soon.

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