Antes, John, American Moravian minister and composer; b. Frederick, near Bethlehem, Pa., March 24, 1740; d. Bristol, England, Dec. 17, 1811. He was educated at the Moravian boys’s school in Bethlehem. After working as a musical instrument maker in Bethlehem, he went to Herrnhut, Germany, in 1764 to pursue his training. In 1765 he went to Neuwied to learn the watchmaker’s trade. He was ordained a Moravian minister in 1769 and in 1770 he went to Egypt as a missionary. In 1779 he was captured by the underlings of Osman Bey, who beat and crippled him in an attempt to extort money from him. In 1781 he returned to Germany. He settled in the Fulneck Moravian community in England in 1785 as warder (business manager). His extant works—3 trios for 2 Violins and Cello, c. 1790, the earliest known chamber pieces by a native American, 31 concerted anthems and solo songs, and 59 hymn tunes—reveal his gifts as a composer. He publ. a description of his efforts to improve the violin tuning mechanism, violin bows, and keyboard hammers in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, VIII (1806). He also invented a music stand with which the performer could automatically turn the pages of a score. His interesting autobiography was publ. as “Lebenslauf des Bruders John Antes” in Nachrichten aus der Brüder-Gemeine, No. 2 (1845).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire