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Charles Zeuner Edit Profile

composer , organist , pianist

Charles Zeuner was an organist and composer active in Germany for a time, and then in Boston and Philadelphia in the United States.


Zeuner, Charles was born on September 20, 1795 in Eisleban, Saxony (now Germany).


He studied with Johann Nepomuk Hummel and Michael Gotthard Fischer.


He was baptized as Heinrich Christoph, but changed his name when he came to the United States, probably in 1830, though some reports say 1824. He settled in Boston where he made his debut as organist, pianist and vocalist on 13 February 1830. He was organist for Park Street Church and the Handel and Haydn Society 1830-1837.

His oratorio “The Feast of Tabernacles,” which was published in 1832, was premiered by the Boston Academy of Music in 1837 at the Odeon. It was the first work of its kind composed in America. He was appointed president of the Handel and Haydn Society in 1838.

A disagreement with the trustees led to his resignation from the Handel and Hayden Society in 1839. For several years, he showed symptoms of insanity, which, however, were not thought to be serious, but on a trip to West Philadelphia he committed suicide. He raised the standard for classical music in the United States.

His manuscripts and printed scores went to the Newland/Zeuner collection of the Library of Congress.


  • Other Work

    • Author: Church Music: consisting of New England and Original Anthems, Motets, and Chants, 1831. The American Harp, 1832. Lyra Sacra, 1832

    • The Ancient Lyre, 1833.


Handel and Haydn Society.