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Ebook Information

Bound for America

Three British Composers

Shedding light on three immigrant composers in an overlooked period of American music

In Bound for America, Nicholas Temperley documents the lives, careers, and music of three British composers who emigrated from England in mid-career and became leaders in the musical life of Federal-era America. William Selby of London and Boston (1738-98), Rayner Taylor of London and Philadelphia (1745-1825), and George K. Jackson of London, New York, and Boston (1757-1822) were among the first trained professional composers to make their home in America and to pioneer the building of an art-music tradition in the New World akin to the esteemed European "classical" music. The three composers all began their work in London, one of Europe's greatest centers of music. Why, in middle age, would they emigrate and start over in uncertain and unfavorable conditions? How did the new environment affect their lives and careers? Seeking answers, Temperley compares their lives, careers, and compositional styles in the two countries and reflects on American musical nationalism and the changing emphasis in American musical historiography.


"A fascinating account of what happens when minor musicians are transplanted from routine careers in their native land to a New World fertile with opportunities for music-making. . . . The value of Bound for America not only as a work of first-rate scholarship but also as 'a good read' is clear."--Music and Letter

"Through fastidious research, a knack for objective and yet sympathetic criticism, and an intimate knowledge of the conventions of British as well as Federal-era American society, Temperley has drawn well-balanced and detailed profiles . . . . Selby, Taylor, and Jackson have thus become, somehow, more American."--Nineteenth-Century Music Review

"Temperley's study demonstrates what can be accomplished when traditional scholarly methods are applied with creativity, restraint, and elegance. . . . Temperley's careful analysis of [the composers'] careers and their music tells us much about a relatively unexplored time in the history of American music."--Eighteenth-Century Music

"A much-needed work, filled with detailed analysis and valuable insights on the changes in style, acceptance, and cultural milieu that early composers experienced when they crossed the Atlantic. This revealing book will be an invaluable contribution to the literature on American and British music."--Anne Dhu McLucas, past president of the Society for American Music


Nicholas Temperley is a professor emeritus of music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of The Music of the English Parish Church, Haydn: The Creation, The Hymn Tune Index, and several other books.

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