USA, 17461800

The American composer and teacher of choral singing William Billings was described by those who knew him as “moderately large, with short legs, one eye, a withered arm, and a habit of taking enormous amounts of snuff.” None of this, however, prevented the largely self-taught Billings from becoming one of the most respected musicians in New England by the late 1770s. Over his career, he produced more than 340 choral compositions, published in six collections between 1770 and 1794.