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Music in the Age of AnxietyAmerican Music in the Fifties$
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James Wierzbicki

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040078

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040078.001.0001

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The Classical Music Mainstream

The Classical Music Mainstream

(p.134) 7 The Classical Music Mainstream
Music in the Age of Anxiety

James Wierzbicki

University of Illinois Press

This chapter looks at how the American Symphony Orchestra League reported that thirty million people in the U.S. are actively interested in concert music. This does not mean jazz, popular ditties, hillbilly dance-bands, hymn singing, or wedding marches, but classical music. Writer Virgil Thomson noted in his column that whereas during the previous year ticket buyers had spent $40 million on baseball, patrons of classical music had spent $45 million. This passion for what Thomson called “serious music” had been stirred even as World War II was in progress, and by the end of the Fifties it was still going strong. Never before has there been such an interest in music in America. The changed atmosphere had been apparent even just a few years after the war's end. For composers, this made the future seem very promising.

Keywords:   classical music, serious music, concert music, American Symphony Orchestra League, Virgil Thomson, Fifties, World War II, American music, composers

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