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date: 12 December 2019

Pelham, Peter locked

  • H. Joseph Butler


(b London, Dec 9, 1721; d Richmond, VA, April 28, 1805). American organist, harpsichordist, teacher and composer of English birth . He was the son of Peter Pelham, a mezzotint portrait engraver who settled in Boston in 1726. The earliest recorded public concert of secular music in the New World was held at the family's house on 30 December 1731, and the family also supported other musical activities in the city. Pelham studied with Charles Theodore Pachelbel for nine years from the age of 12, first in Newport, Rhode Island and later in Charleston, South Carolina. There Pelham taught the spinet and the harpsichord, his students describing him as ‘a Genteel Clever young man’ and ‘verey chomical and entertaining’. He was the first organist at Trinity Church, Boston (1744–9), and was organist of Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg, Virginia, from 1755 to 1802; his evening performances (...

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