Johann Friedrich Peter

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Johann Friedrich Peter (sometimes John Frederick Peter) (born Heerendijk, May 19, 1746 - died Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, July 13, 1813) was an American composer of German origin.


Peter was educated in Holland and Germany before coming to America with his brother Simon in 1770. He began to compose music for the church shortly after his arrival in America and for a time served as an organist and violinist in the Moravian congregations of Nazareth, Bethlehem and Lititz in Pennsylvania before eventually going to Salem, North Carolina in 1780 in the same capacity.

He married Catharina Leinbach in 1786 in Salem, North Carolina and lived there until their departure in 1790.[1]

All of Peter's known compositions are sacred concerted vocal works or anthems composed for worship services with the exception of the string quintets.[2] His six string quintets for two violins, two violas, and a violoncello are among the earliest examples of chamber music known by a North American composer.[1] The six string quintets, performed by the American Moravian Chamber Ensemble, were recorded and published in 1997 on New World Records 80507-2. He wrote a symphony "sinfonia in G" with four movements.


  1. ^ a b Nola Reed Knouse, The Music of the Moravian Church in America (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2008), 280.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-22. Retrieved 2009-11-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)