Penn Library Department of Special Collections

William Penn

Keffer Collection of Sheet Music,
ca. 1790-1895

Content and design by John Bewley

Collection History
Guide Statistics
Focus on Philadelphia
Composers Publishers Lithographers Imagesand Music
List of Topics
Related Resources

Philadelphia Composers: Benjamin Cross (1786-1857)

Photograph of portrait of Benjamin Cross by Thomas Sully, 1861
Benjamin Cross

Benjamin Cross, conductor, singer, organist, and composer, was born in Philadelphia and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He studied with two of the leading musical figures in Philadelphia, Benjamin Carr and Raynor Taylor. His skills as a vocalist made him a fixture on Philadelphia concert programs between 1810 and 1830. Among his many notable performances were Haydn's Creation on June 10, 1822 at Washington Hall, Handel's Dettingen Te Deum on December 29, 1824 at the opening of Musical Fund Hall, and in Handel's Messiah on April 30, 1828.

In 1820 Cross was a founding member of the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia and one of its first Directors of Music. He conducted the society's first operatic production on February 8, 1841, the American premiere of Mozart's Magic Flute. During the 1840s Cross also served as the conductor of the orchestra at the Walnut Street Theatre. Cross succeeded Carr in 1831 as organist at St. Augustine's Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia.

Benjamin Cross' musical legacy in Philadelphia was continued by his son Michael H. Cross (1833-1897). The younger Cross was a dominant force in the field of choral conducting in Philadelphia. He conducted the most prestigious choral groups in the city, including the Orpheus Club, the Abt male chorus, the Arion men's singing society of Germantown, the Euridice women's chorus, and the Cecelian mixed chorus. He also served as organist at the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul (1862-1880) and at Holy Trinity (1880-1897).

Compositions by Cross in the Collection

Item No.TitleImprintPlate No.Illustration
Box 4
no. 7
Strike the Harp in Praise of God : treble solo & chorus / composed & most respectfully inscribed to the Right Rev. Dr. Francis P. Kenrick by B. Cross Philadelphia : Barclay & Culver, 183?. None None
Box 4
no. 6
A Mother's Love : as sung by Mrs. Rowbotham in The Wept of the Wish-ton-Wish / arranged for the piano forte by B. Cross Philadelphia : Geo. Willig, 1836. None None


Back to Top

Send mail concerning this page to: