Musical Maryland - from Colonial Times through the mid-20th Century

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September 23, 2020 - October 21, 2020 (5 weeks)

Wednesdays, 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM EDT

Maryland's diverse geography, economy, and English settlement in 1634 begat a rich music history. David K. Hildebrand will lead you through tracing musical evolution from the great tobacco plantations of the Chesapeake Bay, with their co-mingled African and British music, through the emergence and flourishing of Baltimore into a center of publishing, concerts, opera, church music, instrument-building and music teaching.  Following the establishment of Peabody in 1859, you'll continue into the Jazz age while examining the critical roles played by technological developments such as radio and commercial recording.  Throughout these sessions you'll be challenged to look beyond "classical" trends, also examining rich folk traditions and popular/commercial developments. Each of the five sessions will allow for interaction and question-driven discussion.

Week 1, September 23: Overview - why Maryland?  historical context and a listening tour 

Week 2, September 30: Colonial Music - The elite, the enslaved, and all in-between 

Week 3, October 7: Revolution and 1812 - the rise of the music business; and "our flag was still there" 

Week 4, October 14: Churches urban and rural, Civil War and Peabody  

Week 5, October 21: Jazz, opera, and the opening of the airwaves; and what about that state song? 

Related Resources

The Colonial Music Institute at Mount Vernon, original website. Note: The PACAN (newspaper) database in the resources section is especially useful. 

Musical Passage: A Voyage to 1688 Jamaica: Pages from the early 18th century book including African music transcribed in 1688 in Jamaica, links to audio recordings on proper instruments, and more

Isaiah Thomas Broadside Ballads Project: High resolution pictures of ballads printed in 1813 in Boston. Includes detailed descriptions, essays, and audio recordings

Anthem: The Story Behind the Star-Spangled Banner, a documentary by Dr. Hildebrand's brother Mark

Harpischord demonstration and "Bullfinch" article:

The Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection


Headshot of HildebrandDavid K. Hildebrand (Ph.D. musicology, 1992) is a freelance performer, lecturer, recording artist, and faculty member of the musicology department at the Peabody Conservatory. His scholarly work and performances focus on early American music and he is in his 21st year as Director of The Colonial Music Institute. In 2012 David produced and narrated a one-hour national public radio special, “Music of the War of 1812” and served as the lead music historian for the nationally broadcast documentary film, "Anthem," the story behind “The Star-Spangled Banner.” He has written reviews and reader reports for The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, American Music, and Oxford University Press, among others.  Johns Hopkins University Press published his book Musical Maryland in 2017. He has appeared on C-SPAN television, "History Detectives," NPR and BBC radio.  David was a 2016-2017 Research Fellow at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, at Mount Vernon, and he is currently back for another stint in 2020-21. David and his wife Ginger Hildebrand have released seven full-length CD recordings, including two titles pertaining to early Maryland (Over the Hills and Far Away: Being a collection of music from 18th-century Annapolis and Music of the Charles Carroll Family: 1785-1832).  David and Ginger have been performing together professionally since 1980. 


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 Event Date
Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Wednesday, October 21, 2020


Via Zoom
Baltimore, MD 21218

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