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Biography of Henri G. Blaisdell

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Henri G. Blaisdell, an accomplished musician of Concord, N.H., was born in Dorchester, N.H., October 23, 1850, son of Pettingill and Laurette (Lillis) Blaisdell. He is originally of Scotch descent. His paternal grandfather was Sanborn Blaisdell, who was long a resident, and presumably a native, of Dorchester, in which town he was engaged in farming and where he spent his last years. He married Mehitable Sanborn.

Pettingill Blaisdell, father of Henri G., was born in Dorchester in 1824. He received his education in the district schools and subsequently engaged in the business of manufacturing and selling lumber, for many years conducting a large saw-mill on Baker’s River. He was Postmaster of Dorchester for a long time, and still resides on his farm in that town. He and his wife, Laurette Lillis Blaisdell, reared three children-Henri G., Pettingill S., and Ella Mabel. Pettingill S. Blaisdell, a young man of marked musical ability, entered into business with his father and met his death by accident in the mill. Ella Mabel studied music, became a skilled violinist, and travelled extensively throughout the country in company with her brother Henri. She became the wife of Dr. Charles E. Fowler, of Bristol, and died April 19, 1882.

Henri G. Blaisdell obtained his general education in the district schools of his native town and at the academies at Wentworth and Keene. When but nine years old he manifested a decided talent for music, and not long after began its systematic study. That he might become proficient as a violinist, he was placed under the instruction and guidance of Carl Schultze and other well-known masters of the violin, and in course of time, by hard, conscientious work, did full credit to his teachers. Since reaching the age of fourteen, he has followed music as a profession, having travelled extensively through the United States and conducted orchestras, in connection with musical festivals and operatic presentations, in all the leading cities. He was the first to give to the people of New Hampshire an efficient orchestra, organized especially with a view to the performance of symphonies and other high-class musical works, and which he has himself conducted on various important occasions. Mr. Blaisdell has a well-established reputation as a capable and very successful teacher of the violin, and his knowledge of voice culture has caused his advice to be sought by singers from many parts of the country. He is also well versed in the history of music, has an intimate acquaintance with the works of the great masters, and is a frequent contributor to the leading magazines of the country on this and kindred topics. For ten years he was concert-master of the Handel and Haydn Society, under the management of Carl Zerrahn. The conductorship of Gilmore’s concert chorus was offered to him for the three years immediately preceding Mr. Gilmore’s death, but his strong attachment Concord. He has devoted some time to composition, but subordinates his practice in that branch of musical art to his work as teacher and conductor. He has a large acquaintance among the leading musicians of the country, many of whom are his warm friends.

In 1869 Mr. Blaisdell was united in marriage with Lilly D. Leonard, of Glover, Vt. He and his wife are the parents of two promising boys: Carlysle, who has already given evidence of having inherited much of his father’s musical talent; and Victor J. Mr. Blaisdell is a Republican politically. Like all true artists, he loves nature, and in summer he spends much of his time at his beautiful country seat on the shores of Lake Winnepesaukee and in navigating its waters in his steam yacht. He is a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at Concord.


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