A Chronology of Music in Philadelphia to 1900 (Part 1)
Swedish organist Jonas Auren settles in Philadelphia; plays the (new?) organ by 1703 at the Old Swede's Church, in Wicaco, southwest Philadelphia.
Johannes Kelpins begins compilation of the Hermit's hymn book, with hymns composed by members of the community.
Christopher Witt, keyboardist and organ-bulder, joins the German pietists; purchases virginals from the Wilderness community in 1725; builds a large pipe organ in his home in Germantown.
Friends, or Quakers, issue a statement condemning plays, music, and dancing in Philadelphia. Music will play no role in the well-known Friends Schools of Philadelphia until the 20th century (Germantown Friends School purchases its first piano in 1914 and appoints its first music teacher in 1927).
Early records of "English and Negro Servants" receiving instruction in psalmody at Trinity Church (to 1751).
Pipe organ installed in Christ Church.
First music printed in Philadelphia, a psalm book, by the Franklin Press.
Goettliche Liebes und Lobes Gethoene, 1st of three hymnbooks printed by Benjamin Franklin's printshop for the Ephrata Community (other volumes followed in 1732 and 1736).
First published advertisement for music lessons in a Philadelphia newspaper, including "playing on the spinet".
Francis Hopkinson born; will become Colonial composer and promoter of concerts, a delegate to the Continental Congress, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Early publications of sacred music by Andrew Bradford and Christopher Saur.
The American Band, an ensemble of German immigrants, formally constituted.
(or 1737?) Johann Klemm (or John Clemm) of Philadelphia completes first pipe organ built wholly in the Colonies; will be installed at Trinity Church, New York.
George Whitfield, noted traveling preacher, gives several public sermons in the city, resulting in the cessation of public music-making; Alexander Hamilton notes in his diaries that the effects of those sermons were still felt in 1744.
Members of the American Band found first Association for the support of concerts in the Colonies.
Gustavus Hesselius, Swedish organ builder, established; builds first American spinets and virginals.
Two organs, as well as brass and string choirs, in use by Philadelphia Moravian Congregation at Broad and Race Streets.
Philadelphia Music Club sponsors private concerts in coffee house, as recorded by Alexander Hamilton on visit to the City.
Congregational song noted at newly founded synagogue by the community Mikve Israel.
Organ heard at St. Joseph's Church in Willing's Alley, Philadelphia's first Catholic church. John Adams later remarked on the quality of the chant singing here, in his diary of 1774.
Philadelphia Dancing Assembly formed at City Tavern, on 2nd Street, north of Walnut.
John Beals advertises as teacher of several musical instruments (Pennsylvania Gazette March 21).
The Kean-Murray Company presents musical plays (ballad operas?) at Plumstead's Warehouse, King Street.
First music printed in Philadelphia from movable type, the hymnbook of Christopher Saur, Kern alter und neuer, in 700 bestehender, geistreicher Lieder.
Flora, or Hob in the Well, British ballad opera, previously performed at Charleston, SC, presented (at College of Philadelphia); the first specific identifiable music drama performance in Philadelphia.
Visiting Hallam Troupe of London stages ballad operas at Plumstead Warehouse--against opposition of the Friends and the Governor.
Thomas Arne's masque, Alfred, produced by Francis Hopkinson at College of Philadelphia (later named University of Pennsylvania).
First Philadelphia Public Concert, January 25, at the Assembly Room, in Lodge Alley (advertisement in January 20 Pennsylvania Gazette, but no programs survive); under the direction of John Palma. At the second concert, March 17, George Washington is in attendance. Appears to be the first known chamber music subscription series in the Colonies.
The Hallam Troupe, reconstituted as The Old American Opera Company, returns to Philadelphia; also some performances at Society Hill in 1759.
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, Philadelphia branch, offers training to slaves in singing of the psalms.
Francis Alberti advertises as teacher of the violin "according to the new Italian method" (Pennsylvania Gazette December 13).
Michael Hillegas operates first music store in the American Colonies (to 1774), offering instruments, tutors, ruled paper, strings, and sheet music. (He later becomes the first treasurer of the United States.)
Probable founding of The Orpheus Club, the earliest forerunner of the glee club music societies at the University of Pennsylvania.
Organ installed at College Hall; will be played often by Francis Hopkinson.
Publication of Urania, or A choice collection of Psalm Tunes, Anthems and Hymns, with 198 pages of music, by James Lyon, printed partly in 1760, sold by subscription in 1761, advertised for sale to general public in 1762; most successful of all the English language tune books.
Benjamin Franklin modifies the European conception of musical glasses, turning them sideways on a rod, thus inventing what he calls the "glass armonica"; Mozart, Haydn, and others will subsequently write compositions for it.
Collection of Psalm Tunes compiled by Francis Hopkinson.
James Bremner, Scottish organist and concertmaster, settles in Philadelphia, to become organist at both St. Peters and Christ Church.
Reaction against the Quaker opposition to music, in anonymous pamphlet, "The Lawfulness, Excellences, and Advantage of Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of God."
Subscription concerts advertised in the Pennsylvania Journal, held at the Assembly Room, Lodge Alley.
Old American Opera Company opens the Southwark Theatre, the first venue in the Colonies to become known by the phrase Opera House; the same season also offers Thomas Arne's Thomas and Sally.
First ballad opera composed by an American (Andrew Bartón) is announced, aptly named The Disappointment; the performance is canceled on account of its satyrical plot.
Hallam Company presents the Masque of Comus of John Milton, presumably to the music of Henry Lawes.
Peter Erben born in Philadelphia; will become well-known organist and composer of church music in New York City.
Hopkinson assumes post of organist at Christ Church.
One Vidal, guitarist and mandolinist, concertizes in Philadelphia.
H. Viktor, German inventor, settles in Philadelphia (invents "trumpet with drums" instrument).
(or 1774?) John Behrent, piano maker, established; manufactures the first American piano.
Revolutionary period and British occupation. American theatrical works banned to 1779. British entertainments flourish privately, including a flotilla from the Delaware to the City with musicians on barges in May 1778, just before the British evacuate; Daniel Smith, operator of City Tavern, must flee with them, as a Tory loyalist.
The Philadelphia Dancing Assembly reconstituted; dance orchestra music begins a new ascent in popularity.
Hopkinson's Temple of Minerva performed, an "oratorial" entertainment.
German flutist Wilhelm Braun settles in Philadelphia.
Alexander Juhan, violinist from Charleston, settles in Philadelphia.
Arrival of Andrew Adgate, singing teacher, who founds the Institute for the Encouragement of Church Music.
Urania Society founds Adgate Free School, a singing school operating to 1793; Andrew Adgate publishes Lessons in music instruction.
Henri Capron, French cellist, settles in Philadelphia.
Alexander Reinagle, English harpsichordist and singer, settles in Philadelphia.
Hopkinson prepares music portions of The Book of Common Prayer for Philadelphia's Protestant Episcopal Church.
New concert series initiated at Pennsylvania Coffee House; music of Haydn, Vanhal, Stamitz, J.C. Bach, Toeschi, Gossec, and other composers of the European vanguard are presented to Philadelphia audiences (to 1793).
John Aitken and Thomas Dobson, music publishers, established. The only sheet-music publishing in the country between 1787 and 1793 takes place in this Philadelphia shop.
George Washington attends concert organized by Reinagle at City Tavern; he will later engage Reinagle as music teacher for his granddaughter. The concert includes music by Haydn, Martini, and local Philadelphia composers Lewis and Henry Hallam establish Old American Opera Company (to 1794).
Adgate's school singing society reconstituted as the Urania Society, to provide support of choral music performance (to 1800).
Charles Taws, piano maker, moves to Philadelphia from New York.
Choral concert given at Reformed German Church, advertised to have orchestra of 50 and chorus of 200.
First publication of songs by American composer, Hopkinson's Seven Songs.
Collection of psalmody, A Selection of Sacred Harmony, published (compiler anonymous), the 1st of three editions; its preface contains an early recognition of the importance of the Boston composer William Billings.
Charles Albrecht, piano maker, established (or earlier).
"Grand Concert, Vocal and Instrumental" held in the new U.S. Capital by Company of French Musicians.
The New American Opera Company, or The New Company, presents several productions in Haymarket Concert Hall, mainly British musical plays. It is this troupe for which the Chestnut Street Theatre will later be built. Reinagle becomes comanager and chief composer, supplying overtures, ballet-pantomimes, entr'actes, and songs.
Victor Pelissier, French composer and hornist, settles in Philadelphia.
Moller and Capron Music Store established.
New Theatre Opera House, also called Chestnut Street Theatre (at the time the grandest theater in the country), opens.
Benjamin Carr, British singer and composer, settles in Philadelphia; debuts as singer in following year.
Raynor Taylor also arrives, British organist and composer who had worked at the Chapel Royal under Handel.
George Gillingham, English violinist, performs with Carr and Taylor at the Chestnut Street Theatre.
Chestnut Street Theatre Orchestra, of 20 musicians, is formed; ballad operas titled Robin Hood (composer unknown) and Tammany, by James Hewitt, on an American Indian theme, are given.
George Willig, German-born music publisher, established; will later publish Stephen Foster's first song, "Open thy lattice, love" (1844).
Performance of Paisiello's Barber of Seville (at the New Theatre?).
The New Theatre presents Reinagles' The Volunteers, and the following season Carr's The Archers (music now lost); works by American composers assume a regular presence.
Gretry's Richard Coeur de Lion performed by visiting French Company of Comedians.
The psalmodist Andrew Law provides singing instruction in his Philadelphia school, advertising the cost at $2 per quarter. To 1803.
John Hawkins of Philadelphia applies for first United States patent on an upright piano; demonstrates the instrument at the Franklin Institute in 1802. (He is also the inventor of coiled strings for bass notes.)
Publication of A Collection of Spiritual Songs and Hymns by Richard Allen, the first hymnal designed specifically for an all-black congregation; by the minister of the American Methodist Episcopalian Church.
George Blake, music publisher, established.
Rodeph Shalom synagogue founded; in the 19th century its locally built organ will become widely appreciated.
First African Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia founded.
First African Baptist Church of Philadelphia founded.
Francis Johnson, bandleader and music educator, settles in Philadelphia; he will become the most sought-after bandmaster of his time, will take his ensembles to Europe, and introduce popular European traditions to Philadelphia in turn.
Haydn Society of Philadelphia founded.
The New Music School is opened by Peter Dupre (26 Spruce St.)
Significant collection of sacred music, Vocal Harmony, published by George Blake.
The first of several year-long residences of Lorenzo da Ponte, formerly Mozart's librettist, and opera impresario.
Thomas Loud (Jr.), son of English piano maker, settles in Philadelphia.
William Henry Fry born; will become important American composer of opera.
The New American Opera Company produces Taylor's The Aethiop.
Handelian Society founded to support choral concerts.
Edwin Pearce Christy born in Philadelphia (November 28); will found one of the earliest known blackface singing troupes (1843), the Christy Minstrels.
Allyn Bacon, music publisher, established.
The Bohemian violinist and composer Anton Philip Heinrich settles in Philadelphia; conducts the Southwark Theatre Orchestra; will dedicate an 1834 orchestral work, The Treaty of William Penn with the Indians, to the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia.
A Chronology of Music in Philadelphia to 1900 (Part 2)
John Cromwell, black singing-school teacher, begins training church musicians.
First Musical Fund Society public concert; includes Beethoven's 2nd Symphony.
Musical Fund Society-spnsored performance of Haydn's Creation, at Washington Hall (Chestnut Street Theater)
First American performance of Rossini's Barber of Seville (by the Henry Phillips Company).
An operatic singing school, The American Conservatorio, founded by Filippo Trajetta, son of the famous Italian opera composer Tomaso.
The four Loud Brothers expand piano manufacture in Philadelphia (to 1854).
Ball held for visit of General LaFayette, with the band of Francis Johnson.
Musical Fund Society Hall built, on Locust Street, west of 8th Street (part of the facade still stands); designed by member of the Society, architect William Strickland.
St. Cecelia Society organized, conducted by Thomas Carr (to 1830).
Founding of Historical Society of Pennsylvania, to safeguard colonial and later manuscript collections, including music.
Musical Fund Society Academy founded, to offer music instruction.
African Harmonic Society of Philadelphia founded, to promote church music in the black community.
Septimus Winner born, May 11; will become one of Philadelphia's most well-known popular song composers.
French Opera Company of New Orleans presents French music theater works (the first of eight visits).
German violinist Henry Dielman settles in Philadelphia, plays in the Chestnut Street Theatre Orchestra, and begins career as a composer.
Apollo Society formed to give chamber music concerts.
Leopold Meignen, French conductor, settles in Philadelphia.
Charles Stieff, German piano-maker, settles in Philadelphia.
Da Ponte again in residence; acts as impresario for the Montressor Troupe (1833) and the Rivafinoli Opera Company (1834), Italian traveling companies that bring Italian opera, including Bellini's Il pirata and Rossini's Otello.
Mozart's Die Zauberfloete possibly presented (March17) in its first American performance (unconfirmed).
Anacreontic Society, music society for senior musicians, founded (to 1860).
Mozart's Marriage of Figaro performed by The Wood Company, newly founded local opera troupe, at Chestnut Street Theatre.
Following upon Italian opera craze in New York City, The Wood Company presents hugely successful production of Bellini's La Sonnambula (on February 14). In the wake of Italian opera, English ballad opera is nearly abandoned over night.
Philadelphia Maennerchor founded by Philip Wolsiefer (cont. to 1962), the oldest German singing society in the United States.
Leopold Meignen and Augustus Fiot found music publishing firm (to 1839).
Charles Jarvis, English pianist, settles in Philadelphia.
Prussian piano maker Johann Heinrich Schomacher established.
Francis Johnson introduces English-style promenade concerts to Philadelphia (to 1844), including "Voice Quadrilles" in which band members sing.
First confirmed American performance of Mozart's Magic Flute, (in English) by the Musical Fund Society, conducted by Benjamin Cross, billed as its "Grand Musical Festival"; visitors from New York and Boston come to the premiere.
First American performance of Bellini's Norma (January 11) by The Wood Company (in English). The opera was translated and staged by the Fry brothers, especially William Henry Fry, for whom the opera was inspiration to compose Leonora (see 1845).
Performance of Haydn's The Creation at the First African Presbyterian Church, by fifty-piece orchestra and 150-voice chorus.
Fry's opera Aurelia the Vestal completed; is thought to have remained unperformed.
Lucy McKim Garrison, born in Philadelphia (October 30); will conduct pioneering work in collecting slave songs in the Sea Islands in the 1860s.
Musical Fund Society Concert Series brings the Norwegian violinist Ole Bull (first of five appearances).
Frank Johnson Brass and String bands continued by Joseph Anderson (to 1860).
Meignen assumes post of conductor of the Musical Fund Society Orchestra (to 1857).
Premiere of W. H. Fry's Leonora (June 4), first grand opera by an American composer to be performed; at the Chestnut Street Theater, conducted by Leopold Meignen.
Premiere, with the MFS Orchestra, of Meignen's Grand Military Symphony (17 April).
Winner Brothers Music Store opens.
Rise to prominence of Philadelphia school of black popular song composers, including Aaron Connor, James Hemmenway, Isaac Hazzard, William Appo--among first black composers to publish music in the United States.
Havana Italian Opera Company brings Rossini and Verdi to Philadelphia, including Rossini's Mose in Egitto (first version of Moise) in 1847 and Verdi's Luisa Miller in 1852.
John Albert, violin-maker, established (to 1921).
Germania Orchestra from Berlin gives a series of six concerts.
Lee & Walker, music publisher, established.
Eight recitals given at Musical Fund Society Hall by Jenny Lind, to great acclaim.
G. Andre & Company, music publisher established at 19 South 9th Street (later moved to Chestnut Street; to 1879).
Recital of Adelina Patti, age 7 (September).
The Pyne and Harrison English Opera Company visits Philadelphia at the start of a three-year tour of American cities.
Philadelphia's first black minstrel theater, The 11th Street Opera House, opens (in former Presbyterian Church); the minstrel performer and popular song composer James Bland will later become associated with it.
Germania Orchestra constituted under directorship of Carl Lenschow (to 1895); named after visiting ensemble (see 1848).
Philadelphia Musical Journal and Review begins publication (26 nos., through 1857).
Opening of the Academy of Music, with a production of Verdi's Il Trovatore by the La Grange Opera Company. At this time it is considered the finest opera house in the country, modeled after La Scala, with 2900 seats.
Philadelphia premiere of Rigoletto at the Academy of Music.
Revised version of Fry's Leonora performed, now in Italian as Giulio e Leonora, at the Academy of Music (29 March).
Black Opera Troupe founded; directed by Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, a former slave brought to Philadelphia as a child, and a self-taught instrumentalist and singer.
New Chestnut Street Theatre built, near site of original; continues its concert traditions (to 1940).
Kellog Opera Troupe founded by the singer Clara Kellog to promote and perform French opera.
The great German-American conductor Theodore Thomas organizes an orchestra (1861) that will make regular visits to Philadelphia to 1878.
First American performance of Gounod's Faust at the Academy of Music.
First American performance of Spohr's Jessonda at the Academy of Music.
Premiere of W. H. Fry's third grand opera, Notre Dame de Paris, a benefit for Civil War wounded, at the Academy of Music (4 May).
Philadelphia Beethoven Society founded
The blind organist David Wood, of Pittsburgh, becomes choirmaster at St. Stephen's Church.
Founding of Philadelphia Musical Academy by John Himmelsbach; in 1876 directorship transferred to Richard Zeckwer (to 1917, when Academy merges with Hahn conservatory).
Performance of the revised version of the New York composer George Bristow's opera Rip van Winkle (orig. 1855) at the Academy of Music (November 21).
Orpheus Club, a male-voice choral society, founded (to present).
Composer and organist William Wallace Gilchrist moves to Philadelphia, becomes choirmaster of St. Clement's Church; will become greatly honored in Philadelphia, and head of voice instruction at the Philadelphia Musical Academy (1882).
Aimee French Opera Company brought to Philadelphia for the first of eight visits.
By now a prominent conductor, published theorist, and admired teacher, Leopold Meignen dies (in June).
Philadelphia Mendelssohn Club founded (to present).
University of Pennsylvania establishes first chair of music and composition (held by Hugh Clarke).
Theodore Presser founds Music Teacher's National Association.
J.W. Pepper, music retailer, established; will become largest of its kind in the country.
American premiere of Wagner's Der Fliegende Hollander (in Italian).
Theodore Thomas introduces Wagner's Grosser Festmarsch written for the bicentennial of the United States.
Jacques Offenbach brings concerts of operetta selections.
Founding of Philadelphia Conservatory, the earliest chartered music school in Pennsylvania, thus the first to be able to award degrees (will merge with Philadelphia Musical Academy in 1962-63).
Earliest student orchestra of the University of Pennsylvania founded; their rehearsals are discouraged by the University, and another is only established after 10 years.
Audience at Academy of Music assembles to hear piano recital by telephonic transmission from New York (April 13; the pianist "Boscovitz" has not been identified).
J.W. Pepper's Musical Times begins publication (title varies; to 1912).
The Church Choir Company formed to attract amateur musicians to secular concert groups; becomes training ground for singers in operettas conducted by John Philip Sousa, resident in Philadelphia 1876-1881.
Catalogue of printed music in the Musical Fund Society Library is published (304 titles with full part sets).
Philadelphia Musical Academy moves to 1617 Spruce Street.
Performance of Uncle Tom's Cabin by the New York composer Caryl Florio (pseudonym of William James Robjohn) at the Academy of Music; this opera was then his most famous work, but he is remembered now as composer for and promoter of the saxophone. He wrote many works for the Dutch-born saxophonist Edward Lefebre, who introduced the instrument to the United States in the 1870s.
Theodore Presser, music publisher, established.
The Etude magazine begins publication in Philadelphia by Theodore Presser (moved from Lynchburg, Va., 1883)
Treble Clef Club, a women's choral society, founded (to 1934).
Combs Conservatory, the third most important of Philadelphia music schools, founded by Gilbert Raynolds Combs.
North's Philadelphia Musical Journal--from 1889 The Philadelphia Musical Journal--begins publication (6 vols., to 1891).
David Wood, 19th-century America's greatest organist, becomes Director of Music at the Philadelphia School for the Blind (to 1910; school moves to Overbrook in 1899).
Debut of violinist Arthur Hartmann, age 6, son of Hungarian immigrants; would find fame in Europe and perform with Debussy.
The Grand Opera House, built by John Betz, opens at Broad and Montgomery Streets; Gustav Hinrichs, German protege of Theodore Thomas, founds resident company (to 1896). American premieres include Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana, (1891) and Puccini's Manon Lescaut (1894).
First of visits to Philadelphia of Metropolitan Opera Company of New York, with production of Verdi's Otello (May 4).
Violin maker Carmen Primavera established.
Metropolitan Opera brings first full performance of Wagner's Ring of the Niebelungen, on four consecutive nights (March 26-29), conducted by Anton Seidl. (Afterwards, Met visits are suspended until 1896, owing to lack of interest.)
The visiting Boston Festival Orchestra is conducted by Peter Tchaikovsky; program includes Tchaikovsky's B-flat minor piano concerto.
William Wallace Gilchrist's First Symphony performed (manuscript survives at the Free Library).
Founding of the Philadelphia Symphony Society, under the leadership of Gilchrist (to 1900); though staffed by amateur players, it forms a principal connection to the later founding of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Ferruccio Busoni performs on the occasion of another visit of the Boston Orchestra.
Berliner Gramophone Company founded in Philadelphia by Emile Berliner, marking the birth of commercial phonodisc production and sale; represented in Europe by the Gramophone Company (London) and Deutsche Gramm-ophon Gesellschaft (Hanover). Initial list for sale (issued in November) contained 52 titles.
Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel given American premiere by the (Gustav) Hinrichs Company, at the Academy of Music.
Visiting Her Majesty's Opera Company from London gives American premiere of Giordano's Andre Chenier.
Philadelphia Choral Society founded; conducted by Henry Thunder (to 1946).
Marian Anderson born in south Philadelphia (February 27)
Philadelphia public schools formally include music in the city's elementary curriculum.
Philadelphia Free Library makes first purchases to establish a music collection, five years after its founding.
Victor Talking Machine Company founded in Camden; with the Berliner Company, places Philadelphia area in leading position in manufacture of phonodiscs and phonographs (and later of radio). Will consolodate with Berliner in October 1901; disc pressing begins in Camden in 1902. Company's recording Studio located at 10th and Lombard Streets, Philadelphia.
Two orchestral "Philippine Concerts" organized to benefit families of soldiers killed in the war with Spain; leads to discussions on founding a permanent orchestra.
Interest on the part of musicians in various local orchestras and the efforts of the Musical Fund Society lead to founding of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The first performance on November 16, conducted by Fritz Scheel, included music by Goldmark, Beethoven (the Fifth Symphony), Tchaikovsky, Weber, and Wagner.
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