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Mason, Lowell

Mason, Lowell

Born in 1792


Inducted in 2008

Lowell Mason, often called the father of American church music, composed over 1,600 hymns in his lifetime, many of which are still sung today. Mason’s first hymnal of religious songs based on the work of European classical composers was published in 1822 by the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston. This volume was originally printed anonymously, as Mason considered himself to be a banker by trade. While serving as music director at various New York churches, Mason moved church music away from professional instrumentation and choirs and toward congregational singing accompanied only by an organ. In 1827 he be­came pres­i­dent of the Han­del and Haydn So­ci­e­ty. In 1859 Mason, along with Edwards A. Parks and Austin Phelps published another hymnal, The Sabbath Hymn and Tune Book. Mason was also was largely responsible for introducing music to American public schools and has been referred to as the first American music educator. In 1833, he co-found­ed the Bos­ton Acad­e­my of Mu­sic, and in 1838 he be­came mu­sic sup­er­in­ten­dent of the Bos­ton school sys­tem. Mason is also responsible for setting to music the popular nursery rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb.