Richard Taruskin

in The Danger of Music and Other Anti-Utopian Essays

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780520249776
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942790 | DOI:

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This chapter focuses on Antonín Dvořák's “New World Symphony,” and the colonialist nationalism ingrained within it. He composed music in New York during his first year as the director of Jeannette Thurber's National Conservatory of Music and it was intended as an objective lesson for his American pupils with the aim to achieve an authentic American school of composition. According to Henry Krehbiel, Dvořák urged the Americans to submit their indigenous music, such as Indian melodies and Negro spirituals, to the “beautiful treatment in the higher forms of art.” According to this chapter, this “higher forms of art” referred to German music, which was promoted by Thurber's conservatory, and Dvořák, according to him, was appointed as the director to promote this German musical colonialism.

Keywords: Antonín Dvořák; New World Symphony; National Conservatory of Music; Jeannette Thurber; musical colonialism; German music; Indian melodies; Negro spirituals

Chapter.  2026 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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