William Selby

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For other people named William Selby, see William Selby (disambiguation).

William Selby (1738–1798[1]) was an early American composer,[2] organist and choirmaster.[3] Born in England, he emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts. In 1774 he became the organist at Trinity Church, Newport. Three years later, Selby became organist at King's Chapel in Boston where he organized the first colonial music festival.[4]

Some known works by him include two voluntaries for the organ, a lesson in C for the harpsichord, and an anthem for Thanksgiving Day.

In addition to composer and organist, he managed a grocery and liquor shop.


  1. ^ "American Composer Timeline". Vox Novus. 
  2. ^ Flood, W. H. Grattan (August 1, 1924). "New Light on Late Tudor Composers: I. William Selby". The Musical Times (Musical Times Publications Ltd.) 65 (978): 703–704. doi:10.2307/912257. JSTOR 912257. [dead link]
  3. ^ McKay, D. (1971). "William Selby, Musical Emigre in Colonial Boston". The Musical Quarterly LVII (4): 609–627. doi:10.1093/mq/LVII.4.609. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  4. ^ Biggs, E. Power, ed. (1955). A Treasury of Shorter Organ Classics. Bryn Mawr, PA: Merrymount Music Press. p. 1.