Bound for America
Three British Composers
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Series: Music in American Life
In this book I tell the stories of three British-born composers who, although well established in their native country, decided in middle life to change their domicile and to begin a second composing career in the United States. They are William Selby (1738–98), who arrived in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1773 and made his career in Boston; ...
One: Emigrants and Immigrants
American musical life in the early federal period was active and varied, but it harbored few professional musicians. The term “professional” can be used either to indicate a certain level of training and proficiency or to denote a musician who expects payment and attempts to make a living by his art. ...
Two: William Selby
William Selby (1738–1798) gave up a moderately successful career as a London organist and composer, and emigrated to New England in 1773, where, after Independence, he achieved a position of musical leadership. He represented the styles and aesthetics of British, and hence European, art music, as opposed to the country or “native” school, ...
Three: Rayner Taylor
Rayner Taylor (1747–1825) was already forty-four years old when he crossed the ocean, and had come closer to achieving eminence in Great Britain than any other America-bound musician. Possibly the most gifted of our three composers, he arrived in Philadelphia too late in life to make the mark he deserved in the competitive musical world of that thriving city. ...
Four: George K. Jackson
George Knowil Jackson (1757–1822) was one of the most talented composers among the group of British immigrants. In America he was venerated as a learned musician, but he failed to translate this reputation into financial success, and his motive for coming to America is hard to discern. ...
To migrate to America in the eighteenth century was not a step that any musician would take lightly. One who had a secure niche in the Old World would not be inclined to give it up for the unknown risks of the New, where earning a living was hard and unpredictable, and permanent appointments were virtually unknown. ...