Thursday, October 30, 2008

Looking back to the future?

The New Music Box of the American Music somewhat North and East of Center notes the following anniversary today:

On October 30, 1935, the Composers' Forum-Laboratory, designed to provide an outlet for American composers during the Great Depression, opened in New York with a program of music by Roy Harris. The Forum was an outgrowth of the Federal Music Project, a division of the Work Projects Administration, which was established as a national agency on May 6, 1935, by an executive order of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. At its peak in 1936, the FMP, which began as a distinct division of the WPA on August 1, 1935 as a means to provide work for unemployed American musicians, involved a total of 15,000 musicians.


Anonymous said...

Does that mean it is time to write another
"Ode to the Tractor"

Daniel Wolf said...

I'm all for music about large farm equipment, so I'm all in favor of more tractor odes, although my first choice would be something about tending header on a wheat harvester.

To be honest, I don't think that the FMP is the best model, as it was organized top-down and focused on large ensembles, but it was an important educational effort.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the CETA program of the mid-1970s would be an even better model. (I'll never forget Julius Eastman conducting a concert of the semi-ad-hoc CETA Orchestra at The Kitchen in NYC.) I suspect that a WPA-style reinvigoration of the musical economy is too much to hope for in an Obama admin.--and certainly in a McPalin. But let's see how bad the economy gets.