Carol J. Oja

in Making Music Modern

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780195058499
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865031 | DOI:

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To young creative artists of the 1920s, New York City seemed to hold unprecedented charm and unlimited potential. As a talented new generation of American writers, musicians, and painters reached maturity—ranging from Langston Hughes and Ernest Hemingway to Josephine Baker, Duke Ellington, Arthur Dove, and Georgia O'Keeffe—it included composers who wrote music for the concert hall, most notably George Antheil, Aaron Copland, Henry Cowell, Ruth Crawford, George Gershwin, Roy Harris, Roger Sessions, William Grant Still, and Virgil Thomson. Over the course of the decade, American composers of concert music explored an imaginative range of styles and ideologies, all under the banner of modernism. Leaders emerged among them: first the French-American Edgard Varèse; and by the second half of the decade, Copland and Cowell. This book looks at the extraordinary network of composers and ideologies that gave rise to modernist music—or new music—in New York City, from World War I until the early years of the Depression.

Keywords: modernist music; new music; composers; New York City; Edgard Varèse; Aaron Copland; concert music; George Gershwin; Henry Cowell; modernism

Chapter.  2386 words. 

Subjects: American Music

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