Paper Session
Nov 12, 2021 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM(America/Chicago)
20211112T1000 20211112T1050 America/Chicago Economies of Music AMS 2021
German-American Connections: Concert Programming at America’s First Conservatories of Music
Individual Paper 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/12 16:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/12 16:50:00 UTC

In 1842 Felix Mendelssohn gained approval from the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV to apply the late Supreme Court Justice Heinrich Blümner's 20,000-Thaler gift to the founding of Germany's first music education institution dedicated to the higher-level training of musicians. The establishment of the Leipzig Conservatory in 1843 was a milestone in Germany's history, as this was Germany's first national conservatory of music, with the goal to train and educate "complete" musicians in both applied and theoretical studies. Due to its highly-esteemed faculty, the Leipzig Conservatory immediately drew attention from music students not only nationally but also internationally. It was known for its "conservative" leanings as well as the strong foundation students received in harmony, counterpoint, and voice leading.

Between 1843 and 1918 over 1,500 Americans traveled across the Atlantic to study with the renowned faculty at the Leipzig Conservatory. After receiving a comprehensive music education, these American students returned to the United States as music teachers, administrators, publishers, and performers, prepared to influence their music culture in numerous ways. Several had a role in founding America's first music conservatories: Oberlin Conservatory (1865) and New England Conservatory (1867). 

A comparison of the concert programs at Leipzig, Oberlin, and NEC shows direct pedagogical approaches transferred from Leipzig to Oberlin and Boston through programming choice. Compilation of the details in over 5,000 concert programs (747 from the Leipzig Conservatory, 1,912 from Oberlin, and 2,395 from NEC) confirms how Leipzig influenced Oberlin and NEC, not only in the foundations of these American conservatories, but in many years following. Evidence of the Leipzig influence is supported by setting concert programming data at the three institutions side-by-side, regarding most frequently performed composers as well as the frequency of Leipzig faculty composers, German composers, French composers, American composers, and Mendelssohn. This concert programming data reveals ways in which Leipzig pedagogy played a vital role in the instruction and traditions of these early American conservatories, yet also ways in which Oberlin and NEC were distinctly American. Leipzig pedagogy was therefore imprinted on America's first approach to musical education of the most professional kind.

Joanna Pepple
Lincoln Center, South: Institutionalizing the Arts in Atlanta
Individual Paper 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/12 16:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/12 16:50:00 UTC

In October 1968 the Atlanta Memorial Arts Center opened on Peachtree Street. Built as a living memorial to the 122 Atlanta Art Association members who perished in the 1962 plane crash at France's Orly Field, the center was the culmination of a decade-long struggle to establish cultural roots and was the first of its kind in the United States to house "all of the arts under one roof." In this paper I trace the development of the Atlanta Memorial Arts Center from conception to completion. Drawing on extensive correspondence, public relations documents, and city maps and plans held in the Georgia State University and Emory Rose Library archives, I detail the segregation-tinged battle over an arts center in Piedmont Park, an ill-fated attempt to appropriate a coveted downtown plot at the convergence of several new freeways, and the ultimate solution, which involved swallowing up the existing High Museum of Art in the city's Midtown. I argue that this building not only galvanized Atlanta's business elite to create a "Lincoln Center of the South" but also reoriented the development of Atlanta as one of the dominant cities in a new and growing region, the Sunbelt.

Ultimately, I position the arts center as a physical manifestation of an ideology in the Lefebrvian sense. As a representation of space it obscures the ceaseless hum of capitalism. Beneath the marbled columns, concert hall, and manicured lawn is a socially constructed place. Reading Atlanta's midcentury urbanization through the lens of culture reveals how a discourse quite literally shaped the built environment of the United States. Atlanta's civic leaders believed that their lack of arts infrastructure marked the city as _incomplete_-in order to compete on the national stage with established cultural centers like New York, Boston, and Chicago, Atlantans believed that institutionalizing the arts was a necessity. My paper thus explores the relationship between the arts and urbanization in midcentury America with a focus on the US South. Using Atlanta as a case study, I show how "classical" music and urban renewal coalesced to shape the city and, by proxy, the nation. 

Kerry Brunson
The Myers Family Music Collection: Mercantile Sociability, Cultural Ambition, and Jewish Identity in Early Nineteenth-Century Norfolk, Virginia
Individual Paper 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/12 16:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/12 16:50:00 UTC

Whereas Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Charleston, have long been recognized as vibrant musical centers in the early United States, the rival port city of Norfolk, Virginia, has not. Musicologists have characterized Norfolk as a passing stop--or, worse yet, as a cultural backwater--despite its boasting institutions such as the West and Bignall Company. Relegating Norfolk to the sidelines ignores its rich nexus of musical activity, but perhaps more importantly, it contradicts the city's understanding of itself in the first decades of the nineteenth century as a stronghold of the emerging Virginia mercantile class. This coalition of traders and entrepreneurs in Virginia port cities--positioned at the fulcrum of the nation between North and South, engaged in European and Caribbean trade--saw themselves as commercial and cultural leaders in the Early Republic.

In this paper, I examine the Myers Family Music Collection, the largest music collection assembled by such a mercantile family in Norfolk. This collection, primarily assembled by the Myers women, boasts thirty-two bound volumes and hundreds of pieces of loose sheet music. Using the personal and business correspondence left by the Myers, their friends, and their associates; contemporaneous periodicals, ephemera, and maps; and the Myers' house (now a museum), I argue that the Myers Family Music Collection attests to the family's conscious identification with Virginia's mercantile class, its novel urban spaces (particularly in Norfolk and Richmond), and its musical sociability, which was decidedly secular, republican, cosmopolitan, and commercial.

In so doing, I challenge several prevailing assumptions about music collectorship, musical culture, and the status of Norfolk as a musical center in the early United States. I show that the Myers, Norfolk's first permanent Jewish residents, did not simply emulate English and French musical taste; they diligently acquired repertoire and modelled practices from the Netherlands and German states. Second, I caution against equating "musical taste" with particular composers or styles, arguing that the aesthetic of "intensive labor" draws together the collection's seemingly disparate repertoire. Finally, I show how this new Virginian mercantile identity allowed the Myers to maintain their Jewish faith while powerfully shaping musical practices in Norfolk and beyond.

Virginia Whealton
Texas Tech University
Who Counts? On Labor and Musicological Data
Individual Paper 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/12 16:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/12 16:50:00 UTC

The Census-Catalogue of Manuscript Sources of Polyphonic Music, 1400–1550 is a daunting monument of late-twentieth-century American musicology. Compiled between the late 1960s and mid-1980s at the Musicological Archives for Renaissance Manuscript Studies (housed at the University of Illinois), the Census-Catalogue's five hefty volumes aim to describe every extant manuscript containing European polyphony composed between 1400 and 1550. Although the mammoth scope of this project necessitated the involvement of a vast community of people, the nature and importance of many of their efforts have hitherto remained relatively obscure; citational credit goes to lead editors. In this paper I detail the extraordinary contributions made by one member of this vast and tacit community who labored to produce the Census-Catalogue: Sister Bertha Fox, BVM, a nun who earned a PhD in musicology from Illinois in 1977.

Drawing on interviews I conducted with Fox in late 2019, I discuss her extensive involvement in the Census-Catalogue, focusing on three research trips she took in 1971, 1981, and 1984 to examine and document manuscripts in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland. Fox's accounts of these trips reveal a twofold sensitivity, on the one hand to the politically and ethically fraught nature of musicological research conducted by an American nun in Cold War Eastern Europe, and on the other to the centrality and importance of media-technological objects within those fraught activities. Fox's careful reminiscences about objects as quotidian as index cards, as suspicious as microfilm, or as futuristic as FORTRAN computer programs enrich her thoughtful and reflexive analysis of what her research - what the presence of a musicological American nun - meant to the many librarians, hotel workers, police agents, and everyday people that she encountered on her trips. Through her stories, Fox offers opportunities for critically rethinking our discipline's legacy, reflections on its scholarly practices, and consideration of the unexpected impacts our research can have. By centering Fox and others like her in this account of the Census-Catalogue, I seek to reaffirm the transformative potential of intentionally executed musicological research.

William Watson
Independent Scholar
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