1792-1872
portrait
portrait

January 8, 1792, Medfield, Massachusetts.

August 11, 1872, Orange, New Jersey.

Rosedale Cemetery, Orange, New Jersey.

portrait

Mason showed an intense interest in music from childhood. He lived in Savannah, Georgia, for 15 years, working as a bank clerk, but pursuing his true love—music—on the side. He studied with F. I. Abel, improving his skills to the point where he began composing his own music. Numerous publishers in Philadelphia and Boston rejected his early work, until it was finally accepted in 1822 by the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston, Massachusetts, his native state. However, the collection did not even carry Mason’s name:

I was then a bank officer in Savannah, and did not wish to be known as a musical man, as I had not the least thought of ever making music a profession.

Little did he know that rejected collection would eventually go through 17 editions (some sources say 21) and sell 50,000 copies. It was adopted by singing schools in New England, and eventually church choirs.

After seeing the success of his work, Mason returned to Boston in 1826. He also became the director of music at the Hanover, Green, and Park Street churches, alternating six months with each congregation. Finally, he made a permanent arrangement with the Bowdoin Street Church, though he still held his job as teller at the American Bank. Music continued to pull on him, though; he became president of the Handel and Haydn Society in 1827.

It was in Boston that Mason became the first music teacher in an American public school. In 1833, he co-founded the Boston Academy of Music; in 1838, he became music superintendent for the Boston school system. Lowell Mason wrote over 1,600 religious works, and is often called the father of American church music. His works include:

  1. Admah
  2. Adwell
  3. Ain
  4. Alvan
  5. Amboy
  6. Antioch
  7. Anvern
  8. Ariel
  9. Arnville
  10. Azmon
  11. Baim
  12. Bealoth
  13. Bethany
  14. Boylston
  15. Brattle Street
  16. Brest
  17. Capello
  18. Carnes
  19. Chimes
  20. Corydon
  21. Coventry
  22. Cowper
  23. Danvers
  24. Das Lieben Bringt Groß Freud
  25. Dennis
  26. Dort
  27. Downs
  28. Eden
  29. Eltham
  30. Ernan
  31. Evan
  32. Farnham
  33. Gerar
  34. Gregorian
  35. Haddam
  36. Hamburg
  37. Hanwell
  38. Hartel (similar to Meribah)
  39. Harwell
  40. Hebron
  41. Hendon
  42. Henley
  43. Hermon
  44. Highton
  45. Illa
  46. Ingham
  47. Kane
  48. Laban
  49. Langdon
  50. Leni
  51. Malvern
  52. Mendebras
  53. Meribah
  54. Migdol
  55. Missionary Hymn
  56. Mond
  57. Mount Vernon
  58. Mount Zion
  59. Nain
  60. Naomi
  61. Nashville
  62. Nayton
  63. Norwich
  64. Oak
  65. Oliphant
  66. Olivet
  67. Olmutz
  68. Ostend
  69. Putney
  70. Ripley
  71. Rockingham
  72. Rodman
  73. Sabbath
  74. Selvin
  75. Serug
  76. Shawmut
  77. Snowfield
  78. Star of Peace
  79. Trell
  80. Uxbridge
  81. Ward
  82. Watchman
  83. Wesley
  84. Wilmot
  85. Work Song
  86. Zebulon
  87. Zerah