Women Patrons and Activists

Carol J. Oja

in Making Music Modern

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

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The modern music organizations that sprang up in New York City during the 1920s made composers their focus. Yet the establishment of these institutions by no means involved only composers but rather an intricate network of publishers, promoters, performers, editors, and patrons. No movement of isolated trailblazers, American modernism grew out of an interconnected community. With energy and imagination, a series of women worked intensely and often anonymously to give composers viability on the American cultural scene. This chapter focuses on yet another sector of female activity within New York's modern music community: the patronage of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Alma Morgenthau Wertheim, and Blanche Walton, and the organizational achievement of Claire Reis. These women have largely been absent from chronicles of the period—partly because they chose to keep a low profile and documentation of their work is uneven—but also because of lingering attitudes about gender and the writing of history.

Keywords: women; modernist music; New York City; composers; modernism; Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney; Alma Morgenthau Wertheim; Blanche Walton; Claire Reis

Chapter.  12044 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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