Francis "Frank" Johnson
Francis "Frank" Johnson (June 16, 1792 – April 6, 1844) was an American musician and prolific composer during the Antebellum period. African American composers were rare in the U.S. during this period, but Johnson was among the few who were successful. Performing as a virtuoso of the (now rare) keyed Kent bugle and the violin, he wrote more than two hundred compositions of various styles—operatic airs, Ethiopian minstrel songs, patriotic marches, ballads, cotillions, quadrilles, quicksteps and other dances. Only manuscripts and piano transcriptions survive today.
Johnson was the first African American composer to have his works published as sheet music. He also was the first African American to give public concerts and the first to participate in racially integrated concerts in the United States. He led the first American musical ensemble to present concerts abroad, and he introduced the promenade concert style to America.
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