Johns, Clayton


1905 ALS of sympathy from the pianist-composer-teacher, likely to Grace Weston Lunt, herself a composer


Autograph ID: 6977
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1857-1932) American pianist, teacher, and composer, started his working life as an architect but turned to music.

He studied composition with J.K. Paine (1879-81) and piano with W.H. Sherwood (1879-82) at Harvard, then composition with Kiel at the Berlin Hochschule fur Musik 1882-83; he also studied piano privately with Walter Rummel in Berlin. He settled in Boston in 1884 and taught at the New England Conservatory of Music 1912-16.

His most popular work was the “Introduction and Fugue for Piano” (1899), often performed by Josef Hofmann. He also wrote other instrumental works and about 100 songs. He published “Reminiscences of a Musician” (1929), an autobiography, and the didactic “The Essentials of Pianoforte Playing” (1909). He also edited “From Bach to Chopin” (1911). He was one of art collector, philanthropist, and patron of the arts Isabella Stewart Gardner’s closest friends and the beneficiary of her patronage. Gardner cultivated the reputations of local musicians like Johns, whom she engaged for many recitals at her home and museum. Once, she hired Jan Paderewski to perform a private recital for her and her husband. She hid Johns behind a curtain so that he could hear the concert, bringing him out afterwards and introducing him to Paderewski, who agreed that he could join them for dinner. Johns actually wrote a waltz dedicated to Paderewski, presumably in gratitude. On a trip to Europe, Gardner also introduced Johns to Brahms.

ALS, 2pp 1st & 4th pps of folded 7 x 11 sheet, Boston, May 5 (1905), to Miss Lunt, Newburyport, Mass. Johns sends his deep sympathy on her loss “and the trying circumstances connected with it in your absence from home.” Johns has heard from Miss Pillsbury and from Miss Winslow that Lunt is well and he hopes if she is in town that she will come in and let him know of her work and plans. With envelope.

GRACE WESTON LUNT (1872-1949), a charter member of the Boston branch of the Daughters of the American Revolution, composed the “Harvard Volunteer March in 1899, played by Sousa’s Band in Boston in 1899.”
Type: Letter

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