Penn Library

Hidden in Plain Sight:
Musical Treasures in the Penn Library

Curated by Marjorie Hassen

Otto E. Albrecht Music Library
University of Pennsylvania

Francis Johnson, 1792-1844

Francis Johnson, 1792-1844
Favorite Waltz, or Spanish Dance; Favorite hop waltz arranged for the piano "for Mrs. J. Reed"
Autograph Manuscript, ca. 1830
In: Keffer Collection of Music Manuscripts
Ms. Coll. 126, no. 10

Frank Johnson was a pioneer African-American composer and bandmaster whose prolific output exceeded 300 pieces, including salon music, sentimental ballads, marches, quadrilles, and the music played by his band. Born in Martinique, Johnson moved to Philadelphia around 1809 and first came to widespread public notice in 1818 when George Willig published his Collection of New Cottillions. By the following year Johnson was well-known in Philadelphia as a leader of a dance orchestra. His band shared the stage with eminent white artists, which was unprecedented for a black group at that time. He was also the first black American composer to have works published as sheet music, the first black American to give public concerts, and the first American, black or white, to present concerts abroad, during his 1837 tour of England in conjunction with Queen Victoria's ascent to the throne. He is also credited with introducing the concept of the "promenade concert" to the United States, a practice he came to know during his tour of England.

Table of Contents
Manuscript Collections:
Manuscript Collections:
Sheet Music
Conducting Scores
Music Manuscripts:
15th-18th Centuries
Music Manuscripts:
19th & 20th Centuries
Landmarks of Music Theory

Last update: Monday, 03-Feb-2003 11:09:52 EST
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