Leta E. Miller

in Music and Politics in San Francisco

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780520268913
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950092 | DOI:

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The complexity of the economic, social, political, and cultural factors buffeting the musical life of San Francisco in the first half of the twentieth century elucidates the conflicting pressures on individuals caught up in the particulars of their own careers—with a resulting garble of opinions about musical priorities and artistic quality. Indeed, the factionalism of the era, coupled with the contrary pull of utopianism, paints a truer picture of the city's musical life than any essentialist characterizations of aesthetic taste, artistic evaluation, ethnic sensibilities (or insensibilities), and cultural policy we might try to substantiate. Perhaps the most defining characteristic of San Francisco's musical life in this period is its multifariousness: the fragmentation of its community and the loudly voiced differences of opinion—a healthy situation to a certain degree, but also one that at times blocked worthy artistic projects via the gridlock of competing constituencies. This chapter begins with a short postlude, tracking the subsequent activities of some of our heroes, and a few antiheroes, as well as the progress (or lack of it) of various organizations.

Keywords: San Francisco; musical life; community

Chapter.  5243 words. 

Subjects: American Music

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