American Mavericks

Front Cover
University of California Press, 2001 - Music - 150 pages
The American Mavericks festival at the San Francisco Symphony in the summer of 2000 was an unprecedented triumph on multiple levels. Foremost, of course, was aesthetic: superb performances by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, together with guests from around the world. The programming was significant both as an historical survey of the maverick tradition and as a glimpse of its future. The festival also demonstrated the potential of innovative programming to draw large, enthusiastic audiences. For all these reasons, American Mavericks attracted attention far beyond those who could actually attend. This volume, and the CD that accompanies it, makes that unforgettable experience available to a wide audience. American Mavericks provides a permanent record of the Symphony's vision for audiences, scholars, and educators and tells a fascinating story--not about one individual or one institution, but about a cultural phenomenon that crosses geographic, chronological, and ethnic boundaries.

The mavericks were as disparate in personality and musical style as the American landscape, but, as Michael Tilson Thomas says, "what these composers all have in common is their enormous excitement in the experience of sound itself." This book presents an abundance of commentary from performers and a wealth of primary material--interviews, photographs, and rare performances. The voices of those who have experienced the music "from within" provide unique insight that complements the historical and analytical material. Among the artists considered in this volume are Charles Ives, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Duke Ellington, Aaron Copland, Lou Harrison, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Earle Brown, Meredith Monk, and Frank Zappa. As well as providing a rich chronicle of the complex cultural backdrop against which this music was created, American Mavericks offers a unique opportunity to explore music and musicians across an eclectic mix of styles, genres, and media.

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Chapter Three
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Chapter Five
Chapter Seven

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About the author (2001)

Susan Key, most recently a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, has published articles on American composers from Stephen Foster to John Cage. Larry Rothe has been editor of the San Francisco Symphony's program book since 1984. His articles have appeared in Playbill, Stagebill, and Symphony magazines, and he has contributed program notes and essays to the New York Philharmonic and Boston Symphony.

Bios for American Mavericks Contributors:

John Adams: America's leading composer and a Bay Area resident since 1971. His work with the San Francisco Symphony includes stints as New Music Advisor and Composer in Residence, as well as frequent appearances as guest conductor. His most recent works are Naīve and Sentimental Music, Century Rolls, and El Niņo.

Michael Broyles: Michael Broyles' book Mavericks and Other Traditions in American Music is forthcoming from Yale University Press. With Denise Von Glahn he is also writing a biography of Leo Ornstein. His most recent book is "Music of the Highest Class": Elitism and Populism in Antebellum Boston. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Music and Professor of American History at The Pennsylvania State University.

James Keller is the San Francisco Symphony's program annotator. He is winner of the 1999 Deems Taylor Award for Music Journalism and is also program annotator for the New York Philharmonic.

Susan Key is a musicologist specializing in American music. She has taught at the University of Maryland, the College of William and Mary, and Stanford University; currently she is a member of the San Francisco Symphony's Artistic Planning Department.

Paul Lehrman is a composer, writer, and music technologist currently on the faculty of Tufts University. He has written scores for films featured on PBS, The History Channel, and Discovery networks, and he is co-author of MIDI for the Professional (AMSCO) and editorial director for the web site of the professional audio journal Mix, for which he writes a monthly column.

Alan Rich's most recent book is American Pioneers in the Phaidon Press 20th-Century Composers series. One of the founders of the Bay Area station KPFA, he is currently classical-music critic for the LA Weekly.

Grover Sales's involvement with Duke Ellington as teacher, writer, and publicist began in the early 1940's. Sales is Lecturer in Jazz Studies at Stanford University, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the Jazz School in Berkeley. His book Jazz: America's Classical Music is used as a basic text in colleges nationwide.

Michael Steinberg is a musicologist, writer, lecturer, critic, teacher, chamber music coach, and narrator. He has served as program annotator of the San Francisco Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and the Boston Symphony. He was the San Francisco Symphony's Artistic Adviser for ten years and later held the same post with the Minnesota Orchestra, where he was also Artistic Director of the annual Viennese Sommerfest. Two collections of his program essays, The Symphony: A Listener's Guide (1995) and The Concerto: A Listener's Guide (1998) have been published by Oxford University Press, and a similar book on the choral literature is scheduled for publication next year. Steinberg is a contributor to The New Grove Dictionary of Music, The Britannica Book of Music, and The Beethoven Quartet Companion (University of California Press).

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