Benjamin Carr

Born in England, Benjamin Carr emigrated to Philadelphia in 1793 and opened a notable music shop. Not only did Carr find success as a publisher, but he was also a notable tenor, organist, and composer. He published 71 songs throughout his lifetime and played an important role in the development of early American musical life.

Photo: Benjamin Carr, portrait by J.C. Darley, ca. 1840.

Print This Page


Studying organ with Charles Wesley and composition with Samuel Arnold in England before his move to America, Carr opened his music shop upon his arrival in Philadelphia. Soon after his arrival, Car began to arrange and compose for Philadelphia’s New Theatre. In 1794, he made his stage debut in Philadelphia as a tenor with the Old American Company and accompanied the ensemble to New York later that year. Carr spent a few years in New York, opening another music shop and continuing to perform and compose.

Upon his return to Philadelphia in 1797, he became known at the “Father of Philadelphia Music,” thanks to his involvement with so many aspects of musical life in the city. He served as organist at several churches for the rest of his life and helped found the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia.

–Christie Finn

Source: New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians

Related Information



Paul Robeson - The Complete EMI Sessions

(Charles Wakefield Cadman, Henry T. Burleigh, Benjamin Carr, Will Marion Cook, Stephen Foster, Langston Hughes, Carrie Jacobs-Bond, Ethelbert Nevin, Oscar Rasbach and Oley Speaks)


The Enlightenment in the New World

(Benjamin Carr and James Hewitt)


Christmas in Early America

(Benjamin Carr and Samuel Holyoke)


Music of the Federal Era

(Benjamin Carr, Samuel Holyoke and Philip Phile)


The Flowering of Vocal Music in America

(Benjamin Carr and Anthony Philip Heinrich)



Sheet Music

IMSLP: Benjamin Carr Sheet Music

Find via IMSLP

Three Poems of Robert Frost

Composer(s): Elliott Carter

Buy via Sheet Music Plus

Support us and help us grow

Dear friends, Thank you for helping us build a comprehensive online archive of American song. Your gift is greatly appreciated.