- Linda Whitesitt
Voluntary associations of professional and amateur musicians. Music clubs have had a profound impact on the modern institutions and practices of American musical life that arose in the decades spanning the turn of the 20th century. Emerging after the Civil War and as part of the long tradition of 19th-century women’s organizations, most of these music clubs were founded by women to offer women musicians the opportunity to study music and perform for each other. By 1893, when the first gathering of women’s music clubs convened at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, many clubs had broadened their mission to include what they described as the advancement of public taste and the promotion of high-quality music. A rapidly expanding body of members (men would eventually join the ranks of club members) in individual music clubs, as well as the National Federation of Music Clubs (chartered in 1898), would accomplish these goals by sponsoring concert series of European and American artists, chamber ensembles, orchestras, and opera companies in their communities....