Friday, January 21, 2011

Dvořák and American Music

When Dvořák came to the US to lead the National Conservatory, he found students who, as he observed, might have talent but lacked direction.  His mission was to give them direction, and he did so with determination.  In an editorial he wrote for the New York Herald in 1893, he observed, “The new American school of music must strike its roots deeply into its own soil.”  One specific suggestion he made for developing an American style was to examine Black American music, which he himself had learned from his student Harry Burleigh.  Northern urban audiences were skeptical of the value of spirituals, yet Dvořák’s assertions still stands as an early validation of Black musical resources. 

--Betsy Scwarm

Learn more about how American music influenced Dvořák  at this weekend's concerts at the Colorado Symphony. More information about the "Inside the Score" concerts at this link.

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