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Karen Ahlquist

A chorus of male singers in the German tradition, or a work, usually on a German text, composed for such an ensemble. The Männerchor achieved prominence through student chorus performances at nationalistic events such as the Wartburg Festival in 1817. By the Revolutions of 1848–9, Germany had built an extensive network of choruses linked together into Bunden (federations), which facilitated festival planning and political communication forbidden by the authorities (see Sängerfest).

The first American Männerchor was founded in Philadelphia in 1835; as German immigration increased, others quickly followed. Many Männerchöre were embedded within fraternal organizations, while others grew into all-encompassing Musikvereine (music societies), whose directors had musical training and professional status. Except at a Sängerfest, Männerchor audiences consisted largely of nonsinging, or “passive,” members, who shared in the numerous social activities associated with the chorus’s musical life.

Männerchor music in Germany consisted of a cappella part-songs on social, amorous, musical, natural, and patriotic themes, along with works with orchestra, including oratorios for male voices. American Männerchöre continued to look to Germany for repertoire, and favorite composers were well known internationally. Mendelssohn, Weber, and later Brahms composed Männerchöre, and Silcher arranged songs by Schubert for this medium. Opera choruses-even full productions-were performed, as were mixed-chorus works, for which ...


Rock festival held on 16–18 June 1967 in Monterey, California. It was the first of several multi-day rock concerts that transformed the landscape of American music in the late 1960s. Conceived by Alan Pariser, an independently wealthy pot dealer who regularly sold pot to several musicians, and Derek Taylor, the Beatles’ press agent, the festival was booked by a nonprofit board of directors headed by John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas and which also included Paul Simon and Brian Wilson. Phillips wrote “San Francisco (Be sure to wear flowers in your hair)” to promote the festival; it was an instant top-five hit for Scott McKenzie in the weeks leading up to the event. Approximately 75,000 people attended each of the three nights. Luminaries of the California scene performed including the Byrds, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Big Brother and Holding Company (featuring Janis Joplin). During an afternoon set, the classical Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar made a dramatic impression. On the final night, the Who and the Jimi Hendrix Experience—both making their first major American appearances—created the festival’s most iconic moments by destroying their instruments at the conclusion of their sets, Hendrix kneeling on the stage and setting his guitar on fire at the end of his performance of the Troggs’ “Wild Thing.” Attracting major record executives from both coasts, including Clive Davis of Columbia Records, the festival marked an important turning point in rock’s transformation into a major industry....


Based in Silver Spring, Maryland, the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) derived from the National Folk Festival Association, established in 1933 by Sarah Gertrude Knott. Knott, born in Kentucky in 1895, was a proponent of community arts. In 1934, with a group of advisors that included folklorists Zora Neale Hurston and George Lyman Kittredge, she established the National Folk Festival in St. Louis. The annual event contrasted with folk festivals of the era in championing ethnic and regional diversity. Following Knott’s retirement in the 1970s, the organization renamed itself the National Council for the Traditional Arts, in an attempt to revitalize a festival that, with many costumed presentations, had begun to seem dated. Long under the stewardship of Joe Lee Wilson, a National Heritage Fellowship awardee and Living Legend (Library of Congress) designee, the NCTA broadened its portfolio. It has sponsored the National Folk Festival (which has changed locations every few years), “partner” festivals such as the Lowell Folk Festival, touring programs, and the Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax, Virginia. The extensive NCTA audio archives have been held by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. In the early 2010s Julia Olin was the director, and the NCTA has continued to present a broad range of grassroots musical traditions from around the world....


Carolyn Bryant

American organization formed to encourage a higher standard of artistic excellence for the flute, its performers, and its literature. The group was founded in November 1972 at an organizational meeting in Elkhart, Indiana, convened by Mark Thomas, during which a slate of officers was proposed. The first annual convention was held in Anaheim, California, in August 1973, and was attended by about 170 people. The National Flute Association (NFA, <http://www.nfaonline.org>) has since grown to about 6000 members from the United States and some 70 other countries.

Originally, membership included a subscription to Woodwind World (published 1957–74); the group began its own newsletter in 1975, which became The Flutist Quarterly in Fall 1990. Additional special publications have included a republication of Leonardo De Lorenzo’s My Complete Story of the Flute (1992), The NFA 20th Anniversary Anthology of American Flute Music (1993), and a second edition of John Krell’s ...


Barbara Haws

Symphony orchestra in New York City; founded in 1842, it is the oldest continually operating orchestra in the United States.

The “Philharmonic Society” was formed as a cooperative organization of musicians, led by the American-born violinist and conductor ureli corelli Hill . 60 musicians performed its first concert on 7 December 1842 in the Apollo Rooms on lower Broadway before an audience of 600. Three concerts took place that first season, and throughout the 19th century the Philharmonic generally played between four and eight different programs each season, including the US premieres of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphonies nos. 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 9.

In 1909 the Philharmonic musicians gave up their self-management system and joined a group of wealthy New Yorkers who guaranteed weekly salaries, increased the number of concerts in the first year to 54, and hired gustav Mahler as conductor. These “Guarantors” were led by Mary Sheldon, who raised $300,000. In ...


Kelley Rourke

American national service organization. At the instigation of Seattle Opera’s Glynn Ross, 20 regional opera leaders came together in 1970 to explore ways in which they could collaborate to improve the quality of opera in America. Important early initiatives included regional auditions, for which impresarios nominated singers to be heard by an assembly of their colleagues; and coproductions, in which costs for building a new production were shared among several companies. By 1980 the organization’s membership of more than 70 companies included virtually every professional opera company in the United States, ranging from the Metropolitan Opera to Shreveport Opera. In 1983 OPERA America launched its first program to fund the creation of new American operas, which led to the establishment of a permanent endowment to assist opera companies in the commissioning, development, and promotion of new work. In 1990 it developed Music! Words! Opera!, a multidisciplinary curriculum introduced to schools across the country. The organization moved from Washington, DC, to New York City in ...


Susan Key

Parlor music generally refers to music composed for domestic use from c1820 to World War I, consisting primarily of songs for voice and piano but also including compositions for solo piano as well as transcriptions and arrangements adaptable for a variety of instruments. Both vocal and instrumental music were aimed at an amateur market and intended for performance in the home, primarily but not exclusively by females. Instrumental music for the parlor was most commonly for piano or melodeon but demonstrated flexibility according to circumstances, with interchangeable parts for a variety of popular domestic instruments such as flute, guitar, or violin. The music was published in individual Sheet music editions, often with elaborate engraved covers. All aspects of the genre—music, texts, and the material cultural of sheet music and instruments—both reflected and affected the technology, social mores, and cultural values of this period.

The emergence of parlor music in the 19th century was a result of three interrelated phenomena: technological developments, the growth of the middle class, and changes in domestic architecture. Technical advances in the manufacture and dissemination of sheet music and musical instruments fostered music-making in American homes. In the 18th century, only a few hundred musical titles were published in the United States; the first quarter of the 19th century saw the publication of 10,000 titles, and the industry continued to expand until World War I. The growth of a middle class with more leisure time led to greater opportunities for music lessons and domestic entertainment. The 19th century saw sharp increases in the number and frequency of native-born music teachers who offered music training in school, home, and church settings. Finally, changes in domestic architecture created a room removed from the daily functions of cooking, eating, and sleeping, which served as a marker of social stature for Americans. Derived from the French word ...


Susan Feder

revised by Michael Mauskapf

[Pop, Promenade]

Orchestral programs modeled after European promenade concerts of the 19th century, in which light classical music was played while the audience was served refreshments. The development of pops concerts in America reflected an emerging emphasis on the audience and an explicitly articulated division between so-called serious and light classical music propagated by conductor Theodore Thomas and others. Such concerts were traditionally structured in three parts, in which lively pieces—overtures, marches, and galops—were played in the outer sections while the middle section typically included waltzes and occasionally more serious works; encores were a regular feature. These concerts often took place in outdoor venues during the summer season, and featured audience promenades during the intermissions. Initially, works by European composers such as Rossini, Grieg, Liszt, and J. Strauss dominated the programs of pops concerts, but excerpts from musicals and operettas by De Koven and Herbert, among others, soon became a significant component. In general these concerts were understood as a vehicle to reach new audiences and broaden the appeal of orchestras and orchestral music....


Karen Ahlquist

A male chorus festival (“singers’ festival”) in the German tradition. German Sängerfeste originated in the 1820s and by the 1840s featured choruses of 2000 or more, allowing Germans to cross boundaries of region, social class, and religion, develop a standardized male chorus repertory, communicate politically, and foster hopes for a unified state.

The Sängerfest in North America took off in the wake of increased immigration following the failed 1848–9 Revolutions. As in Europe, a Sängerfest was organized by a Sängerbund (federation of male choruses), the first of which, the Nord-amerikanische, was founded in Cincinnati in 1849. Others included the Northeastern (1850), German-Texan (1855), and Northwestern (1856).

A Sängerfest brought male choruses from a multi-state region to a host city for three to five days in the spring. It offered concerts, choral competitions, parties (including Kommers, or drinking parties), balls, picnics, tourist excursions, parades, and time for socializing by chorus members, host city residents, and festival attendees. Dozens of committees organized the event, sometimes even building a Sängerhalle to accommodate an audience of thousands. In some cities, public buildings were decorated and businesses and schools shut down for the opening parade, allowing an entire population to participate. Unlike pre-Revolutionary Sängerfeste in Germany, however, an American Sängerfest lacked covert political activity because of German immigrants’ loyalty to the US system of government....


Mark Clague and Dan Archdeacon

Growing out of the Detroit Artists Workshop (founded 1964), Trans-Love Energies (TLE, formally, Trans-Love Energies Unlimited, Inc.) was an anti-establishment commune founded in Detroit in February 1967. Its mission was to “produce, promote, manage, and otherwise represent musical and other artists, in recordings, concerts, tours, media, and related fields of culture and entertainment, including films, books, posters, light and sound environments—all on a cooperative, non-profit basis, for the purpose of educating and informing the general public in terms of contemporary art forms and cultural patterns.”

An umbrella corporation, TLE included a production company, a light show and poster company, the Artists’ Workshop Press (distributor and publisher of underground newspapers, including the Warren-Forest Sun), and many side enterprises that helped fund commune operations. Inspired by rock music’s potential to catalyze social change, TLE managed musical acts including the Up, Iggy and the Stooges, and most notably the MC5. The activist leader John Sinclair (...


Abram Loft

revised by Tim J. Anderson

American organizations designed to regulate, protect, and improve the working conditions of their members (professional performing musicians) and to act as agents in negotiating contractual terms through the power of collective bargaining. Trade unionization of musicians in the United States began in the 19th century. Beginning in the 20th century and continuing into the 21st, musicians’ unions have had to contend with important technological changes that pose significant structural threats to controlling the production and distribution of entertainment.

The Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, a benevolent organization founded in 1820 and modeled after the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain, and the American musical fund society , founded in the same city in 1849 (providing sick benefits, aid, and pensions to members, their widows, and orphans, as well as funeral expenses to members), were typical of early associations formed by professional and amateur musicians in the United States. Such societies also sponsored musical performances, lectures, and discussions by their members but did not regulate working conditions or represent members in their negotiations with employers. The Philadelphia Musical Association and the Musical Mutual Protective Union of New York, both founded in ...