Antes, John (Johann)
b Frederick, nr Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA March 1739/40, d Bristol, England 1811. Son of German Moravian emigrants who settled in America where he grew up and showed early musical promise. He was educated at home and at the Moravian boys’ school founded by his father. At 19 he is believed to have constructed the first violins known to have been made on that continent; he also made violas, ’cellos and possibly keyboard instruments. In 1764 he trained at Herrnhut in Germany for missionary service, adding a watchmaking course in the next year (cf F G Baker), then in 1769 being ordained in London. He travelled to Egypt for missionary service from 1769 to 1781. His 3 trios for cello and two violins were probably the earliest chamber-music by an American-born composer. Returned to Germany in 1781, then lived from 1785 at the Moravian settlement at Fulneck, Yorkshire, as congregational leader and business manager, until retirement to Bristol in 1808. During his time at Fulneck he composed many chorales, anthems and arias. His hymn tunes are preserved (in Moravian archives) in his Collection of Hymn Tunes chiefly composed for private amusement by John Antes. No.197.