Arthur William Foote (March 5, 1853 - April 8, 1937) was an American pianist, composer and pedagogue. Educated at the New England Conservatory and Harvard College, where he studied with John Knowles Paine, he is often associated with other members of the so-called "Second New England School" including Paine, George Whitefield Chadwick, Amy Beach, Horatio Parker and Edward MacDowell, the first generation of composers to be educated primarily in the U.S. In fact, Foote has the distinction of being awarded the first masters degree in music from an American university.
Throughout his career Foote traveled extensively in Europe and America, attending some of the first performances of Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle at Bayreuth in 1876 and in 1883 traveling to France to study piano with Stephen Heller. In his early years he was thought a radical for promoting performances of the works of Wagner and Johannes Brahms. Foote never stopped adapting and exploring his style, producing, for example the lyrically Impressionistic "Night Piece" in the style of Claude Debussy in 1918.
In his later years, Foote was extremely active in American music and music education, lecturing at the University of California, Berkeley, teaching piano the New England Conservatory, and was a member of the American Guild of Organists, the Music Teachers National Association, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Foote's most-appreciated compositions are chamber works that include two Piano Trios, three String Quartets, a Piano Quartet, an outstanding Piano Quintet and the Nocturne & Scherzo (Night Music) for flute & string quartet.