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Eric Gardner

musician, educator, and activist, was born to free parents in Drummondtown, Accomack County, Virginia. His father died when Carter was about eight, and his mother, whose maiden name was probably Drummond, cared for Dennis. When one of his cousins, Henry Drummond, was bound out to an area slaveholder named Thomas R. Joynes because of his status as an orphan, Carter's mother began to fear that her son would also be enslaved should something happen to her. Determined that her son stay free, she moved with him to Philadelphia in about 1825. There Carter's musical talents flowered, in part under the tutelage of the famous black Philadelphia bandleader Francis Johnson.

Carter toured with Johnson's band sporadically during the 1830s, 1840s, and early 1850s, reportedly joining Johnson's 1837 trip to Great Britain and an 1851 trip to Sulphur Springs Virginia In addition to working as a musician Carter ...


Penny Anne Welbourne

Early biographical sources indicated that Francis “Frank” Johnson was originally from Martinique; however, later scholarship established that he was born free in Philadelphia. Little is known about his parentage or early life. In 1818 the major music publisher George Willig produced Johnson's Collection of New Cotillions, and by 1819 Johnson and his dance orchestra were performing throughout the city of Philadelphia. Johnson achieved national recognition when he was commissioned to write music for the occasion of the Marquis de Lafayette's visit to Philadelphia in 1824.

Johnson s involvement with music was all encompassing he was a composer writing more than three hundred pieces throughout his lifetime and bandmaster and also played an instrument called a tortoise shell keyed bugle also known as a Kent bugle He performed for militia units while continuing to lead his dance orchestra In addition to composing and performing he taught music ...


Leila Kamali

Nickname of Francis Johnson (1792–1844), African‐American bandleader, bugler, and composer. Johnson, a free Black from Philadelphia, first achieved local eminence as a fiddler while still in his youth. Around 1815 he was noted for introducing the keyed bugle to the United States. During the 1820s Johnson published compositions, and worked with Philadelphia militia units including the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry and the Washington Grays. In 1824 he received two major commissions, one to compose the music for the return to Philadelphia of the revolutionary hero the Marquis de Lafayette, and another to score the musical The Cataract of the Ganges.

Johnson and his band toured Britain from 1837 to 1838, with a repertoire ranging from Mozart and Rossini to American popular songs They are considered to be the first black American musicians to visit Europe and the first to play for Queen Victoria who ...


Eileen Southern

(b ?Martinique, 1792; d Philadelphia, April 6, 1844). American composer and bandmaster. He is reputed to have settled in Philadelphia in 1809, where he won local recognition as a bandmaster, composer and performer on the keyed bugle. Later his band, which was employed by élite military companies of the city, and his dance orchestra gained a national reputation; in 1837 the band became the first such American group to give concerts in England, reputedly including a command performance for Queen Victoria. When he returned to the USA in 1838 Johnson introduced Philippe Musard’s concept of the ‘promenade concert’ to the American public. His band toured widely, playing promenade concerts chiefly consisting of Johnson’s own compositions; it also shared the concert stage in Philadelphia with eminent white artists, which was unprecedented for a black group at that time.

Johnson wrote in the conventional ...