Hans Gram (composer)

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Hans Gram (1754-1804) was a Danish composer and musician who emigrated to the United States in the early 1780s. In Boston, Massachusetts, he served as organist of the Brattle Street Church, and as a music teacher.[1] He lived in Charlestown;[2] and in Boston on Belknap's Lane[3] and Common Street.[4] His music "was performed at the funeral of John Hancock."[5] He died in Boston in 1804.[6][7] In 1810 a "Hans Gram Musical Society" formed in Fryeburg, Maine.[8][9]


  • Death Song of a Cherokee Indian. 1791
  • (Compositions published in Massachusetts Magazine, ca.1791)
  • Sacred Lines, for Thanksgiving Day[10]
  • Bind Kings with Chains, an anthem for Easter Sunday[11]
  • Hans Gram (1795), The Massachusetts compiler of theoretical and practical elements of sacred vocal music, together with a musical dictionary and a variety of psalm tunes, chorusses, &c., chiefly selected or adapted from modern European publications, Boston: Printed by Isaiah Thomas and Ebenezer T. Andrews, OL 18824084M (Compiled and edited by Hans Gram, Samuel Holyoke and Oliver Holden).[12]
  • Hymn to Sleep. (Gram translated lyrics from German and added his verses)[13]


  1. ^ One of his students, "born blind and but 15 years of age," played organ at the Universal Meeting House. Columbian Centinel, 05-02-1792
  2. ^ Columbian Centinel, 02-18-1795
  3. ^ Boston Directory. 1798
  4. ^ Boston Directory. 1800, 1803
  5. ^ "According to a manuscript note by Oscar Sonneck at the Library of Congress." Gillian B. Anderson. "The Funeral of Samuel Cooper." New England Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 4 (Dec., 1977)
  6. ^ "Died, in this town, after a lingering illness, Hans Gram, Esq. formerly of Copenhagen..." The Repertory (Boston), 05-08-1804
  7. ^ "...Though he possessed a peculiar eccentricity of character, yet he had virtues to imitate, and talents to admire ... his ambitions, usefulness, and talents, became obscured -- and, as monuments erected to human honor and glory decay by the violence of storms ... he gradually mouldered away. Alas! how unstable is human knowledge and worth!" Boston Centinel, reprinted in: Poulson's American Daily Advertiser, 05-11-1804
  8. ^ Bray, Oliver. An Oration on Music pronounced at Fryeburg, before the Hans Gram Musical Society on their First Anniversary, October 10, 1811. Portland, 1812.
  9. ^ Massachusetts Register. 1813, 1816, 1817
  10. ^ "For singing schools & societies. Thomas and Andrews, Faust's statue, no.45 Newbury-street, Boston." Salem Gazette 11-18-1794
  11. ^ Salem Gazette 11-18-1794
  12. ^ The Massachusetts Compiler "was largely influential in establishing the custom of using seven syllables in the scale (do, re, me, fa, sol, la, si) in place of the four syllables (fa, sol, la, mi)." Robert G. McCutchan. "American Church Music Composers of the Early Nineteenth Century." Church History, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Sep., 1933)
  13. ^ Boston Evening Gazette, reprinted in: Hallowell Gazette, 02-15-1815

Further reading[edit]

  • "A Digraceful Practice." Boston Post; reprinted in: New Hampshire Gazette, 09-08-1846. Describes Gram drunk.
  • Samuel Kirkland Lothrop. A history of the church in Brattle street, Boston. W. Crosby and H. P. Nichols, 1851. (Sermon #4, about Peter Thacher, describes the drama in 1790 of getting an organ).
  • "Hans Gram." In: Frank Johnson Metcalf (1925), American writers and compilers of sacred music, New York: The Abingdon Press, OL 24637369M

External links[edit]