prominent family of English-American music publishers and musicians:
(1) Joseph Carr, music publisher; b. England, 1739; d. Baltimore, Oct. 27, 1819. He was active as a music publisher in London before settling in Baltimore in 1794, where he continued his music publishing business. In addition to bringing out European and American works, including the first edition of The Star-Spangled Banner (1814), he publ. the Musical Journal for the Piano Forte (1800–04) and Can’s Musical Miscellany (from 1812). He had two sons:
(2) Benjamin Carr, organist, music publisher, and composer; b. London, Sept. 12, 1786; d. Philadelphia, May 24, 1831. After working with his father in London and studying music with Samuel Arnold and Charles and Samuel Wesley, he went to Philadelphia in 1793, where he founded a flourishing music publishing concern. In 1794–95 he was active as an actor and singer with the Old American Co. in N.Y., and also pursued his music business there until 1797. However, he made Philadelphia the center of his activities. In addition to his business affairs, he also was organist at St. Augustine’s Catholic Church (from 1801) and at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, appeared as a singer and conductor, taught, and was a promoter of music in general, being the founder of the Musical Fund Soc. of Philadelphia in 1820. So pervasive was Carr’s influence on the city that he became known as the “Father of Philadelphia Music.” As a music publisher, he was most influential through the vast amount of American and European music he brought out. He ed. his father’s Musical Journal for the Piano Forte (1800–04) and Can’s Musical Miscellany (1812–25). As a composer, he wrote one of the earliest American operas, The Archers, or Mountaineers of Switzerland (N.Y., April 18, 1796). He also composed the pastoral opera Philander and Silvia, or Love Crown’d at Last (London, Oct. 16, 1792); incidental music to Macbeth (N.Y., Jan. 14, 1795); various instrumental pieces, mostly for piano, including Federal Overture (1794); 6 sonatas (1796); Dead March and Monody for General Washington, with voices (1800); The Siege of Tripoli: Historical Naval Sonata (1804); sonatinas; waltzes; marches; variations; sacred vocal works, including masses, Psalms, anthems, hymns, and chants; secular vocal works, including ballads; several pedagogical works.
R. Smith, The Church Music of B. C.(diss., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary 1969); C. Sprenkle, The Life and Works ofB. C.(diss., Peabody Cons, of Music, 1970).
(3) Thomas Carr, organist, music publisher, and composer; b. England, 1780; d. Philadelphia, April 15, 1849. He went with his father to Baltimore in 1794, where he was active in the family music publishing concern and served as organist at Christ Church (1798–1811). Upon his father’s death, he took charge of the music publishing concern. After selling out in 1822, he settled in Philadelphia and was active as a publisher and teacher. Francis Scott Key asked him to prepare the music for The Star-Spangled Banner (1814), for which he adapted the English drinking song To Anacreon in Heaven.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire