1837 Born Dec. 28, Cambridgeport MA. Father-Benjamin Lang and mother, Hannah Breed Learock Lang (New Boston Questionaire)
First organ lessons
1850 First organ recital: Danvers, MA age 13
1851, February 10th. c. 2PM.the Fire destroys insides of the house where the Lang’s were living at 49 Lafayette Street. Two valuable pianos were moved out of the house before the fire reached them.
1851 Organist Dr. Cook’s church in Lynn, MA age 14
June 20, 1852: Organist Crombie St. Church in Salem, MA age 14 (B. J. Lang, Teenage Diary)
1852 Dwight’s Jounal of Music begins-last issue in 1881.
1855 Organist Dr. Neale’s First Baptist, Somerset St., Boston. January 20, 1855: “played at the organ opening at Dr. Neale’s” church. (B. J. Lang Teenage Diary) Contained the largest organ in Boston at that time. On February 1 Lang wrote that his father heard from a First Baptist Music Committee member that they would meet that night and request the resignation of the current organist, Mr. Bradford. This happened and B. J. was appointed organist on February 9, 1855; he had just turned 17.
1855 Arranges accompaniments to Bible Songs by Marion Dix Sullivan. Actually published in 1856
1855 Listed in the 1855 Boston Directory: “B. J. Lang music teacher, 20 Somerset.”
1855 October-receipt for music bought by Frances Burrage shows that B. J. taught through the fall quarter, October, November and December, of 1855.
1855-1858 Three years study in Germany: meets Wagner in Berlin (1857) age 17-20. However, in addition to teaching Frances for the fall quarter of 1855, Lang played a concert on December 24, 1855. Thus be probably left early in 1856 for Europe. No listing has been found for this crossing; he probably went steerage, and thus he name did not appear on any ship passenger list. He would have had to return to Boston in the fall of 1857 in order to arrange for the concert appearances that began early in 1858. Thus his time in Europe was more likely to be just over one and one/half years, rather than three years quoted in many sources (one being a Lang interview).
1858 First concert appearance in Boston (Tuesday, February 2, 1858 at Mendelssohn Quintet Club concert: first Boston performance of Beethoven”s Trio In C Minor, Opus 1, No. 3.However Ryan wrote: “He made his debut at fifteen years of age in one of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club’s concerts.”(Ryan, p. 84)-that would have been between December 1852 to December 1853. However, Dowell does not list Lang as an assisting artist for a Boston concert during that period, nor in any of the non-Boston concerts. Age 20.
1859 His first composition performed publicly: Mendelssohn Quintette Club concert of Firday, January 29 included Mrs. J. H. Long singing Lang’s Breath of Spring with the composer as accompanist.
1859 Soloist in American premier (February 29, 1859) of Mozart’s Concerto in E-Flat, K. 482 age 21
1859 October 1, aged nineteen (Brainard’s, July 1881, p. 98) appointed organist of Handel and Haydn: serves as accompanist for 37 years (1859-1896) and as conductor for two years (1896-1898). Brainard was wrong–in October of 1859, Lang was three months short of 22.
1859-1864: Organist Old South Church
1860 Feb.-Benefit concert so that he can return to Germany for study during the summer. On April 11th., 1860 Lang applied for a passport which described him as: Age-22; Stature- 5′ 7″; Forehead-high; Eyes-blue; Nose-large; Mouth-medium; Chin-short; Hair-light brown; Complexion-light, and Face-oval. His signature is quite legible with a flowing style. (Passport Application from ancestry.com) Lang left May 16 on the steamer CANADA with Mr. S. A. Bancroft. The officer in charge was Capt. Lang! (Transcript (May 16, 1860): 2, GB) In September he returned from Europe. (Dwight (Oct. 6, 1860): 221) A “Mr. B. J. Lang, Professor, aged 30” arrived in Boston from Liverpool on the AMERICA, a ship of 984 tons, September 10, 1860. (Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1823-1943 and America Manifest) Dwight printed that “Mr. B. J. Lang has returned from a tour in Europe, which we doubt not has passed both agreeably and profitably to himself. His many friends are glad to welcome him home again.” (Dwight (October 6, 1860): 221) Not bad for one whose career is only two years old.
1861 Early In February Lang gave a concert in Salem with the Mendelssohn Qunintette Club, his Salem choir, the Amphions, and Miss Lang who was making for first public appearance. Could this be B. J.’s sister?
1861 Marries Frances Morse Burrage in Boston on October 10 by Rev. Chandler Robbins. His age 23, her age 21.
1862 In October places an ad offering piano and organ lessons and listing his home address as 36 Edinboro” Street.
1862 First Boston performance Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise at Old South Church: January 30-only organ four-hand accompaniment
1862 Conducting debut: at Music Hall- Mendelssohn’s First Walpurgis Night: May 3, 1862. Grand orchestra, choir of 150.
1862 Youthful Voices: A Collection of Hymns and Tunes, For the Use of Sunday Schools, edited by Benjamin J. Lang published in Boston.
1863 Jan. 1, 1863 shared with Zerrahn conducting of concert at Music Hall celebrating the of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The original proclamation had been issued on September 22, 1862, and it declared the freedom of all slaves in any state of the Confederacy that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863 while the second part of the document listed the specific states which were effected-this second part was issued on January 1, 1863. Age 25
1863 Played at the November 2nd. Dedication of the Walcker Organ of the Boston Music Hall. Age 25
1864 Lang has the idea that the Harvard Musical Association might sponsor orchestral concerts. These begin in November 1865.
1864 February-Promotes his own “Sacred Concert” at the Music Hall-uses a vocalist and the violinist Eichberg as assisting artists. Age 26
1864 Shakespeare’s Tri-Centennial Anniversary Birthday Concert: Music Hall, Saturday evening,
April 23. First Boston performance of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Music complete with soli, female choir and orchestra. Age 26
1864 August-begins as organist of Rev. E. E. Hale’s South Congregational Church. Age 26
1864 First child-Harry Allston Lang born October 4, in Boston-died August 1866 in Hingham while parents in Europe. (New Boston Town History Questionaire, February 11, 1914)
1865 B. J., Frances and their first-born, Harry Allston Lang were living with her parents, the Burrages at 112 Boylsyon Street. (Diary-Rosamond)
1865 February 2-Slavery abolished; April 10-the South surrended; April 15-Lincoln shot and buried on the 19th. (Diary-Rosamond)
1865 Helped found Harvard Musical Association orchestra concerts. Age 27. “It was he who first suggested” these concerts. (Observer, January 26, 1884).
1866 March: first Boston performance of Haydn’s Seasons-Gathered a chorus of 250 and hired an orchestra and three soloists (one from New York!).
1866 Summer in Europe-left May 26 from Boston to Liverpool on the CHINA: B. J. and Frances accompanied by Miss Annie Keep (aged 21) and Mr. Richard Dixey. B. J. and Frances returned at the end of September on the CUBA. (BMT, October 6, 1866, p. 3) While the Langs were away, their first born, Harry died on August 7th. Miss keep married George G. Crocker, a lawyer in 1875 (Marriage Cert.)
1867 February-Boston and New England Conservatories open within a week of each other. Febraury 1-HMA Concert: Beethoven-Piano Concerto No. 2 (first Boston performance) and Liszt/Schubert Wanderer Fantasia for piano and orchestra with Lang as soloist.
1867 B. J. Lang and J. C. Burrage arrive in Boston September 12, 1867 on the CHINA. They had left July 31st. planning to be gone “six weeks.” (Diary-Rosamond)
1867 First surviving child: Margaret Ruthven- Nov. 27, 1867 at 112 Boylston Street. Benjamin’s occupation was “Musician.” (Birth Certificate) Age 29
1869 Spring. April 6, 13, and 20. Presented three orchestral concerts at Mercantile Hall. Concertos in each: Mendelssohn Serenade and Allego in B Minor with Miss Alice Dutton, his pupil; Beethoven Piano Conerto No. 4 with Mr. Hugo Leonard, a fellow Boston pianist; and the Beethoven Violin Concerto with Mr. Bernard Listermann.
1869 “After a long illness, [Lang] sailed to Europe with his family and several of his pupils, intending to spend about a year principally in Dresden. Fall and Winter: In Europe: gave piano recitals in Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden.” (History of H. and H., p. 288). Left Boston on November 30, 1869 “in S. S. SILESIA for Hamburg. Party consisted of Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Burrage, four Misses Burrage, Mr. and Mrs. Dixey, Mr. Tucker, Maidie and nurse Waldwell. Arrived Hamburg Dec. 12th. Christmas in Berlin.” (Frances M. Lang’s Note Book, Excerpts, p. 1). The four Misses Burrage were Helen, Emma, Ruth (cousin) and Marian. Also listed next to these names was that of Miss Emma Ware who might have been a Lang pupil. Age 31
1870 A note from Helen Bell to Mrs. Lang at 1 Otis Place has a note from Margaret saying that the family lived there before 1870. (Ms. Lang, Vol. 24, No. 3)
1870 Spring: In Europe-the census taken July 19, 1870 was submitted by neighbors who listed B. J., aged 37 organist-in Europe, “Fanny,” aged 32-in Europe, and “Mary,” [Margaret] aged 2-in Europe(Census, 1870).“Mr. Lang arrived on Tuesday, after a year’s stay in Europe, with health thoroughly restored, enriched with musical experience and strong for the winter’s work.” (Dwight, September 24, 1870). He arrived in Boston on September 20, 1870 on the PALMYRA from Liverpool with his age being listed as 26,[?] and an “Estimated Birth Year” of abt. 1844.[?] Traveling with him were Miss Burrage, aged 28 a spinster and Mr. H. G. Tucker, aged 18. (Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1943)
1871 Four Chamber Music Concerts-Globe Theatre-Thursday afternoons, alternating with the HMA Orchestra concerts-Jan. 15, Feb. 1, Feb. 16, and Mar. 2. Used Mendelssohn Quintette Club as assisting artists bboth as individuals and as an ensemble.
1871. Four Piano Concerts-Bumstead Hall-Monday afternoons-featured his students playing solos, duets and concertos. Lang played the orchestral reductions on a second piano.
1871 B. J. (Lel) was due to sail from New York on May 31-he arrived in Switzerland on June 12th. “Maidie (Margaret) wouldn’t look at him, nor speak to him for a long time.” (Diary Excerpts) She was then three and a half years old.
1871 Langs visited Wagner: Lunch mid July-offers support for Bayreuth. Age 33. On October 13 Lang and Frances arrived in Boston from Liverpool on the ALEPPO together with the father and mother of Frances and four of her sisters and Nurse Waldwell. Three of her sisters names are not listed, only their ages of 23, 20, and 18, but the name of the fourth sister was given as Margaret, aged 1. (Aleppo Manifest)
1871 Named as first conductor of the Apollo Club at age 33-resigned in 1901, aged 63.
1872 “The Lang’s went away for the summer. No mention of where.” (Diary-Rosamond)
1872 Teaches for one year at the National School of Music. Age 34
1872 Nov. 1st. Moved into 8 Otis Place. “Many changes will have to be made.” (Diary-Rosamond)
1872 Boston Fire: begins the evening of November 9, 1872-under control by Sunday 2PM.
1873 January 9. Conducted the Boston Choral Union at Wait’s Hall; April 17-Elijah with the same choir.
1873 Returns as piano instructor to the New England Conservatory of Music. Age 35
1873 December: re-elected as conductor of the Chelsea Choral Society (Folio, Dec. 1873, p. 164)
1874 B. J.’s mother, Hannah B. Lang (maiden name-Learock) dies from cancer on September 25, 1874 at 93 Waltham Street, Boston-57 years, 7 months. She had been born in Salem. Her father was listed as John Learock, also born in Salem, and her mother was also named Hannah, and she had been born in Salem. (Death Certificate)
1874 Founded The Cecilia as an adjunct of the Harvard Musical Association-conducted for 33 years. Age36
1875 Trip to Europe: the Saloon Passenger List of the RMS PARTHIA sailing Boston to Liverpool lists B. J. Lang and Mr. George W. Sumner as departing on August 7, 1875. No other family members are listed. (BPL, Lang Prog., Vol 2). While at Bayreuth Cosima shows (August 26) B. J. the opera house. During this trip he buys music by Saint-Saens for his own use and the use of the HMA. B. J. returned September 20, 1875 on the BATAVIA.
1875 October 25: B. J. conducts the world premier of the Piano Concerto No. 1 by Tchaikovsky with von Bulow as the soloist.
1876 Thursday afternoon March 30 concert produced by Lang at Mechanics Hall: he plays the solo part of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with the accompaniment played by Arthur Foote-also in this concert Lillian Bailey made her Boston debut, at the age of 16.
1876 May. Performs St. Saens Christmas Oratorio (Noel) at South Congregational. A year later, May 1877, the same work is performed as part of the Handel and Haydn Society”s “Fourth Triennial Festival.”
1876 “June 24, 1876 B. J. L. and I sailed from N. Y. in the BRITANNIC.” (Frances M. Lang Note Book Excerpts, p. 6) Summer in Europe. Honored guests at Bayreuth for Ring premier. A letter from Frances dated August 9, 1876 from Bayreuth tells about the Festival. Apparently only the parents went on this journey as the letter is addressed to the children (?) Saw four operas three times each!
1878 Second child: Rosamond Lang- Feb. 5, 1878 at 3 Otis Place (Birth Certificate). His occupation was listed as “Organist,” and her mother”s name was listed as “Fanny.” Age 40
1878 February 8, 1878 concert by Cecilia is conducted by Arthur Foote as B. J. had broken his left upper arm.
1878 July 13, 1878 B. J. arrived New York from Liverpool on GERMANIC. Age 40. Listed as “J. B.” rather than “B. J.” (1851-1891 New York Port Ship Images, Ancestry.Com)
1878 Clark’s Boston Blue Book has Lang’s address as 3 Otis Place-Robert E. Apthorp is at #2, and William Foster Apthorp is not listed.
1880 Census gives address as 3 Otis Place; age of B. J. as 40; age of Fanny M. as 38; age of Margaret R. as 12; age of Rosamond as 3; and three servants-Ellen O”Connell (age 50), Alice S. McGuire (age 19), and Ellen O”Gorman (age 19). Malcolm was born the next year.
1880 June 17 Benjamin Lang, aged 63 (B. J.’s father) marries for the second time-to Clara E. Wardwell, aged 36. (Marriage Certificate)
1880 Berlioz’s: Damnation of Faust. Boston Premier: Friday, May 14. Second Performance: November 12. Third Performance: November 30. Age 42. The Theodore Thomas “Unrivalled Orchestra” together with the “Thomas Choral Society” led by J. B. Sharland gave two performances of the piece on January 28 and January 29, 1881-two of the soloists were Lang’s friends: Georg Henschel and Clarence C. Hay. (Program) Lang gave later performances in May 14, 1885, May 25, 1887, March 15, 1899, December 2, 1903, July 2, 1903 for a Teachers’ Convention and December 13, 1904. (“Facts in Life of B. J. Lang”-looks like Margaret’s handwriting)
1881 Third child: Malcolm Burrage Lang- June 14, 1881, Prescott Place in Lynn, MA. Benjamin’s occupation was listed as “Music Teacher.” (Birth Certificate). Age 44
1881 During the twenty-three years between 1858 and 1881 Lang returned to Europe fourteen times-this averages out to slightly less than every two years! (Brainard’s Musical World, July 1881, p. 98) I have found only eight!
1881 September 3-Last issue of Dwight’s Journal of Music.
1882 “Waltham, near Tremont Street-Mortgage-Benjamin Lang to Benjamin J. Lang, for $10,000, buildings and land, Jan. 6, 1882.” (Journal (January 14, 1882): 6, GB)
1882 Berlioz: Requiem advertised by Cecilia for February 12, 1882. First Boston performance.
1882 Damnation of Faust. March 24, 1882. Second performance.
1882 Beethoven: Fidelio with soloists, full chorus and orchestra. March 28, 1882. Georg Henschel among the soloists.
1882 Bruch Odysseus by Cecilia with full orchesta and Georg Henschel-May 10, 1882.
1883 Schumann-complete piano works in five Thursday afternoon recitals in March 1883.
c. 1884. One obituary in 1909 mentioned that Lang “has lived at Brimmer Street” for 25 years. This would make c. 1884 the date for moving into 8 Brimmer Street.
1884-85 Lang presents twelve lecture/concerts on the upcoming concerts of the BSO.
1884 Mid-January Cecilia concert, The Transcript noted that Lang placed the choir in front of the orchestra; this had been done earlier with great success by the Apollo Club.
1884. Lang credited with having already taught over sixty pianists “who have become concert soloists.” (Observer, January 26, 1884)
1885 March 21-Bach 200th. Birthday Concert: Four keyboard concertos (one using harpsichord) and the Coffee Cantata.
1885 May 14, 1885. Cecilia presents Berlioz Damnation of Faust again but without Georg Henschel. Third performance.
1885 The Lang family and nurse Ellen Sheehan sailed for Europe June 13, 1885 on the S. S. CATALONIA from Boston. Went to Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. In October met with Cosima Wagner when she was in Munich. (Frances M. Lang”s Note Book Excerpts, p. 7) There is a passenger “Ben I. Lang” who arrived in NYC from Liverpool on September 21, 1885 on the ETURIA. His date of birth was given as about 1839, but the occupation can not be read. (ETURIA Manifest) There are no other Lang family members listed on that ship as Frances and the rest of the family were to stay the winter in Munich so that Margaret could study there.
1886 January 2-plays St. Saens Rhapsodie d’Auvergne Op. 73 with the BSO, Gericke conducting.
1886 Another summer in Europe. B. J. sent a notice to his piano pupils saying that he would be back by Monday, September 20. He arrived on September 20 in NYC on the UMBRIA from Liverpool to New York with his last address being Manchester, England. He was alone.
Acted as one of the pall bearers at Franz Liszt’s August 3rd. funeral in Bayreuth.
1887 March-presents advanced students in first set of four Pianoforte-Concerto Concerts at Chickering Hall.
1887 Berlioz-Damnation of Faust, March 25, 1887. Fouth performance.
1887 Arrived in New York on August 17 from Antwerp on the WESTERLAND-his age listed as “42, born abt. 1845,” and traveling with him was Mrs. Lang, aged 40; Miss M., aged 27; Miss R., aged 25; Master M., aged 20; and a maid, aged 24. (New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957)
1888 Named organist of King’s Chapel. Age 50
April-presents four advanced students in the second set of Concerto Concerts at Chickering Hall.
1890 The 1890 Boston Business Directory shows the Langs at 8 Brimmer Street.
1890 March/April-third set of Concerto Concerts-three concerts this year. (were there none in 1889?) Herald review said this was the fourth series. (Herald, April 2, 1890, p. 4, Genbank).
1891 Presents Boston premier of Parsifal on Wednesday, April 15. Age 53. Also performances in May 4, 1892 and January 6, 1903.
1891 On September 14, 1891 B. J. and Margaret left Liverpool for New York on the UMBRIA. The list of passengers seems to show that Margaret shared a room with Miss Marien Otis.
1891 The Cecilia begins Wage Earner Concerts (tickets at 25, 35 and 50 cents). Except for 1897-1898 these continued until the 1909-1910 Saeson. (Hill, p. 9)
1892 Conductor Handel and Haydn Society, two years. Age 55-57
1892 Parsifal a second time, May 4; forces almost the same as 1891.
1892 Cecilia sings Dvorak’s Requiem under the composer’s baton Nov. 28 and 30.
1893 Lang and Foote in Bayreuth: in orchestra pit.
1893 Gave talk on the “vices and virtues of piano playing” on Friday afternoon, November 10 at Chickering Hall.
1894 October. Lang begins fortnightly talks on the repertoire for the Symphony concerts. Plays four handed arrangements of the pieces to be heard aided by Perabo.
c. 1895-96. Founding member of the American Guild of Organists
1897 Lang relected President and Trustee of the Oliver Ditson Fund.
1897 On the CAMPANIA B. J. is listed as a musician. The ship from New York arrived in Liverpool on July 23, 1897. B. J. and F. H. B. Byrne shared a room on the LUCANIS which left Liverpool on August 21, 1897. Francis H. B. Byrne worked at the Chickering Factory at 791 Tremont Street (1899 Boston Directory)
1900 The Cecilia was incorporated and the word “Society” was added to its name. (Hill, p. 8)
1900 Summer in Europe-due back September 15 (referenced in a letter from George Hutchins to Lee Higginson). B. J. and Malcolm left from New York July 22, 1900 as first class cabin passengers on the Campania. (Herald, July 23, 1900, p. 1, GenBank) Rest of the family spent the summ at the New Boston farm. (Herald, Social Life (July, 22, 1900): 31, GB)
1901 May 1-Resigns from the Apollo Club. Age 63
1903 Degree-Master of Arts from Yale.
1903 Mrs. J. C. Burrage, mother of Frances Lang died on August 7, 1903 at the age of “about 88 years.” (Herald (August 8, 1903): 3, GB)
1903 Parsifal-a third time. “Mr. B. J. Lang’s private performance of the music of Wagner’s Parsifal at Symphony Hall, Boston, Tuesday, January 6, 1903.”
1904 B. J. (teacher-aged 65) and Rosamond (teacher-aged 24) returned from Europe (Liverpool) on the REPUBLIC arriving September 2, 1904. (Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1943) Also listed next to the Langs were (1) John H. Gutterson, aged 39, music teacher, (2) F. H. B. Byrne and (3) Miss Alice S. Larkin, possibly a pupil. Lang made “more than 30 trips to Europe.” (Globe, April 5, 1909, p. 1) In 1881 he had made 14 trips (see 1881 entry). Thus he made an additional 16 between 1882 and 1904-I have found mention of only 4!
1905 Buys 6 Newbury Street which became teaching studios.
1907 Spring: Resigns from The Cecilia Society. Age 69
1908 Degree-Master of Arts from Harvard.
1909 Last appearance as conductor. Age 71
1909 Died on April 4, aged 71.
1909 B. J.’s father, Benjamin Lang died on December 11, 1909 having had dementia for the last 20 years. He was then 93 years old and had been born in Maine. His wife, Hannah, had died in 1874. Benjamin Johnson Lang’s father who was named just Benjamin Lang, had been born in Scotland. No information is listed for his mother. (Death Certificate)