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American Orchestras in the Nineteenth Century$
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John Spitzer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226769769

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226769776.001.0001

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Aflerword: Coming of Age

Aflerword: Coming of Age

(p.451) Aflerword: Coming of Age
American Orchestras in the Nineteenth Century

Ronald G. Walters

University of Chicago Press

Parallels between the trajectory of American history in the last half of the nineteenth century and the history of America's orchestras were revealing and misleading. It is observed that as “sacralization” progressed, Beethoven and beer no longer shared the same venues. As highbrow and lowbrow cultures drew apart, orchestras found places for themselves on both sides of the divide. Orchestras were vital to many “popular” entertainments, and benefited from the larger markets that population growth produced. Traveling orchestras, such as the Thomas Orchestra, generated local audiences and induced local competitors. “Sacralization” had some advantages for orchestras. In general, this book has clarified that contemporary American symphony orchestras are not simply the bearers of an uncontested tradition, but rather the products of the messy reality of history.

Keywords:   American symphony orchestras, American history, sacralization, Thomas Orchestra, entertainments, Beethoven, traveling orchestras

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