Calling the Tune: The Los Angeles Federal Music Project

Catherine Parsons Smith

in Making Music in Los Angeles

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780520251397
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933835 | DOI:
Calling the Tune: The Los Angeles Federal Music Project

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This chapter introduces the Los Angeles Federal Music Project (FMP), which partially solved the unemployment problem of musicians in Los Angeles during the Great Depression, first describing the pre-FMP music programs in Los Angeles, which were strongly influenced by the musicians' union. It then studies the national leadership of the Federal Music and Theatre projects, in order to further understand their local implementation and the issues that these projects raised. Next, the chapter looks at the administration and organization of the FMP and the WPA Music Projects, describing the FMP's 1936 production of La Traviata, and finally introduces the “Society of Native American Composers.”

Keywords: Federal Music Project; unemployment; Great Depression; music programs; musicians' union; theatre projects; WPA Music Projects; Native American Composers

Chapter.  8898 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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