On exhibit November 21, 2007 - November 15, 2009
Philadelphia bandleader and composer Francis Johnson (1792-1844) holds a special place in the history of American music. Although he was a free African American, he lived in an age when racial segregation and prejudice were commonplace. Despite these obstacles, he was able to achieve extraordinary renown and respect among the elite of Philadelphia through performances of his band at balls, parades, and promenade concerts. As a result of a series of concert tours late in his life, Johnson's fame eventually extended through the Midwest and across the Atlantic to London. His music survives today in piano arrangements published during his lifetime, and the Otto E. Albrecht Music Library is pleased to exhibit a selection from the over forty pieces of Johnson sheet music in collection of the late Kurt Stein. The acquisition of this collection was funded, in part, by the Alfred Reginald Allen Memorial Fund of the Savoy Company.
Exhibition reception: Thursday, 10 April 2008, 5:30pm
Lecture by Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr., associate professor of music, University of Pennsylvania, with reception and viewing of the exhibition to follow featuring the performance of music from the exhibit by pianist Tim Ribchester.
A recording of Professor Ramsey's lecture is available on the Penn Libraries Scholarly Commons website.