Francis Johnson (composer)

Francis B. "Frank" Johnson ( born June 16, 1792 in Martinique, † June 6, 1844 in Philadelphia ) was an American composer and musician.

About the Youth and Johnson's musical education is not known. To 1812, he became known in Philadelphia as a musician. He played various instruments including horn, cornet and violin and led his own band. In 1819 he published the first volume of A Collection of New Cotillions, these were the first compositions of an African American musician who appeared in America in pressure.

In 1824 he composed the music during a visit of the revolutionary hero General Lafayette in Philadelphia and performed it with his orchestra. In 1837 he traveled with some members of his band ( including his brother William Appo, Aaron JR Connor, Edwin Roland, Francis V. Seymour and probably James Hemmenway to England and joined at Buckingham Palace in front of Queen Victoria. Late 1838 he returned to America back and opened there the highly successful promenade Concerts a la Musard who experienced even white musicians. between 1839 and 1844 he undertook concert tours that took him to Toronto, St. Louis, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Cleveland and Louisville.

The repertoire of his orchestra included works by George Frideric Handel and Haydn and his own compositions, including the famous Recognition March on the Independence of Hayti, as well as the anthem of abolitionism The Grave of the Slave. All his life he had to deal with the racism of his contemporaries; he was insulted several times at concerts, pelted with rotten eggs and stones, there was appearance bans, evictions, fines, and much more. On the other hand, he was invited to 1832-1842 to at least ten paid appearances at the University of Pennsylvania.


  • A collection of new cotillions, book 1, first & second setts, 1818
  • A collection of new cotillions [book 2], third & fourth setts
  • Honor to the brave; General Lafayette 's grand march, 1824
  • Johnson 's dream waltz 1826
  • Johnson's march
  • London polka
  • Philadelphia fireman 's cotillion
  • Philadelphia Gray's quickstep, from Bellini's opera I Puritani
  • Princeton grand march
  • Recognition march on the independence of Hayti


  • AfriClassical - Francis B. "Frank" Johnson (1792-1844)
  • Univbersity of Pennsylvania - Penn Biographies - Francis Johnson (1792-1844)
  • Penn Libraries - Francis Johnson: Music Master of Early Philadelphia
  • Man
  • Born in 1792
  • Died in 1844
  • American composer