William Billings

While Billings is best known as America's first choral conductor and composer, many of his choral compositions were arranged for voice and piano as songs.

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About

Billings was a largely self-taught musician. Most of his compositions were written for four-part choir singing accapella, and because of primitive copyright laws, Billings’ compositions were reprinted in various hymnals and other publications throughout the new nation of America. He achieved great popularity in his lifetime, but his compositions fell out of favor near the end of his life, and he died virtually penniless.

Related Information

Recordings

Sweet Seraphic Fire

(William Billings, Oliver Holden and Abraham Wood)

2004

George Washington: Portrait in Song

(William Billings, Philip Phile, John Stafford Smith and Traditional)

1999

Make a Joyful Noise: American Psalmody

(William Billings and Oliver Holden)

1996

An American Journey

(William Billings, Andrew Law and Traditional)

1995

Paul Sperry Sings an American Sampler

(Samuel Barber, Robert Beaser, William Bolcom, William Billings, Elliott Carter, Celius Dougherty, John Woods Duke, Stephen Foster, Charles Griffes, John Musto, Ned Rorem, May Swenson, Louise Talma, Hugo Weisgall and Kurt Weill)

1995

Early American Choral Music Vol. 2

(William Billings, Oliver Holden and Abraham Wood)

1994

I Am the Rose of Sharon

(Andrew Law, William Billings and Traditional)

1973

Songs

Sheet Music

IMSLP: William Billings Sheet Music

Find via IMSLP

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