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Charles Tomlinson Griffes (9/17/1884 - 4/08/1920)

Charles Tomlinson Griffes was born in Elmira, New York, in 1884. His talents recognized and shaped by a devoted piano teacher, the gifted boy early determined to become a musician. Like virtually all other American musicians of that era, upon reaching young manhood he went to Europe to become properly "finished." In his case, he went to Berlin for four years to continue his piano studies, work on musical composition with Englebert Humperdinck, and generally absorb modern European culture. Upon his return to the United States in 1907, he secured a job as music director at the Hackley School in Tarrytown, New York, a private boys’ preparatory school. He was 23 years old, an accomplished pianist, well-trained composer, cultured, worldly, fluent in four languages, sensitive, curious and ambitious. He was a voracious reader, particularly of poetry, had a fascination with Asian art and culture, painted, mostly watercolours, and was eager to throw himself into the creative fray of nearby New York City.



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