James Hewitt

Composer of over 84 songs, James Hewitt played an important role in the early New York musical scene.

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About

Born in England, Hewitt arrived in New York in 1792 and from his arrival to 1808, he conducted the orchestra of the Park Street Theatre and arranged and composed music for the theatre as well.

From 1811 until 1816, Hewitt and his family moved to Boston and Hewitt conducted the Federal Street Theatre. Though he returned to New York in 1816, he began to tour heavily until an operation in 1826 that was unsuccessful and lead to his death in 1827.

Of particular note is Hewitt’s devotion to publishing music and throughout his life published over 639 compositions, including those of British composers and at least 160 of his own. His own compositions are largely based on American patriotic tunes and ballads, essential publications in establishing a unique American musical language.

–Christie Finn

Source: New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians

Related Information

Recordings

The Enlightenment in the New World

(Benjamin Carr and James Hewitt)

2001

American Piano Music of the 18th Century

(James Hewitt)

1992

Books

America’s Music: From the Pilgrims to the Present

By Gilbert Chase

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