Johann Baptist Singenberger

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Johann Baptist Singenberger (John Singenberger) (25 May 1848 – 9 Sept 1924)[1] was a Swiss composer, music teacher, editor and publisher. His works comprised a large part of the repertory of the Catholic Church's music. He was reckoned to have taught over 1,000 musicians in his lifetime. Singenberger founded the American St. Cecilia Society (American Cecilian Society) in 1873, an organization seeking to revive the Catholic masses and motets of Palestrina.[2] Singenberger was also a professor of music at the Catholic Normal School in St. Francis, Wisconsin.[3]

Pope Leo XIII knighted Singenberger, conferring upon him the order of St. Gregory the Great.[3]


Singenberger was born on 25 May 1848 in the province of St. Gall in Switzerland. He attended St. George Seminary in St. Gall where he befriended Sebastian Gebhard Messmer, who later became Archbishop of Milwaukee.[4] They both graduated from St. Gall in 1861.

He continued his education at a Jesuit boarding school, Stella Matutina, at Feldkirch in Vorarlberg. Here he studied piano, organ and composition under Winnebald Briem and was also influenced by Augustine Line, a noted musician.[5]

He then studied under Carl Greith, who specialized in voice training, at the University of Innsbruck. In 1872 he went to Regensburg to study under Fr. F. Witt. While he was at Regensburg, the celebrated firm of Pustet decided to publish Singenberger's first collection of hymns. With its publication began a lifelong friendship between Singenberger and members of the publishing family.[6]

Singenberger went to the United States in April 1873. He maintained the seat of President for the American Caecilia Society for over 30 years. He was an editor and publisher of a monthly church music periodical for over 50 years. In the words of one of his students, "There has been no other man in America, equally prominent in all phases of church music, equally recognized outside the country, and of equal length of service." [7]


  • Stabat Mater - List of other Stabat Mater composers at
  • [1]
  • RISM-CH Statistics at
  • Granville L. Howe, William Smythe Babcock Mathews (1889). A Hundred Years of Music in America. G.L. Howe.
  • Repertoire & Recordings at
  • Granville L. Howe (1889). Hundred Years of Music in America: An Account of Musical Effort in America. G. L. Howe.
  • The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, Volume II: E-K.


  1. ^ "MusicSack - Singenberger". Retrieved December 16, 2010.
  2. ^ Paul C. Echols. "Early-music revival". The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, Volume II: E-K. pp. 2–6.
  3. ^ a b Howe. Hundred Years of Music in America: An Account of Musical Effort in America. p. 282.
  4. ^ J.M. Kasel, "Professor Johann Baptist Singenberger", Caecilia, LI, 7-8 (July–August, 1924), p.28.
  5. ^ J. Vincent Higginson, "Professor John B. Singenberger, " The Catholic Choirmaster, XXVII, 3 (September, 1941), p.101.
  6. ^ "Pustet" The Catholic Encyclopedia, XII, p.583.
  7. ^ F.G. Boerger, "An Appreciation of John Singenberger,"Caecilia, LX, 6 (June, 1933), p.196.

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