Born in Salem, Massachusetts, Foote spent most of his life in the Boston area. At the age of 14, after only two years of piano lessons, Foote was accepted into the New England Conservatory and began to study harmony. While studying at Harvard, Foote led the Harvard Glee Club and decided to pursue music as a career instead of law.
Foote has been identified as a member of the Second New England School, a group of composers who sought to separate American music from European music. (Other members of this group include Amy Marcy Beach and Charles Ives.) Foote's first composition, a piece for cello and piano, was published in 1882. He continued to compose and have his works published steadily for the next 45 years. Foote often published under the pseudonyms Ferdinand Meyer and Carl Erich. Adhering to the Romantic tradition, his works follow formal structures and expressiveness in phrasing and melody. Many of his works were premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Also a prominent teacher and pedagogue, Foote published many teaching manuals and instructional tools throughout his life.
Source: New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians