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Interviews with Scholars of Music about their New Books
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    • Muziek

Interviews with Scholars of Music about their New Books
Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/music

    Douglas W. Shadle, "Antonín Dvořák's New World Symphony" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    Douglas W. Shadle, "Antonín Dvořák's New World Symphony" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    Most music students have been taught that the New World Symphony was the first piece of classical music written in an American national style which Antonín Dvorák invented when he utilized influences from Black music in the second movement. The impression most textbooks leave is that this innovation was instantly approved by composers and critics alike, and that American classical music was born through Dvorak’s intervention. Like most myths, this bears only a slight resemblance to the truth. Douglas W. Shadle sets the record straight in Antonin Dvorak’s New World Symphony (Oxford University Press 2021). He tells the story of the symphony’s genesis and the controversy among critics and listeners over Dvorák’s ideas. Most importantly he delves deeply into the complex interactions between race and music that define the New World symphony and American musical identity.
    Kristen M. Turner is a lecturer in the music and honors departments at North Carolina State University. Her research centers on race and class in American popular entertainment at the turn of the twentieth century.
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    • 1 u. 10 min.
    W. Patrick McCray, "Making Art Work: How Cold War Engineers and Artists Forged a New Creative Culture" (MIT Press, 2020)

    W. Patrick McCray, "Making Art Work: How Cold War Engineers and Artists Forged a New Creative Culture" (MIT Press, 2020)

    Artwork as opposed to experiment? Engineer versus artist? We often see two different cultural realms separated by impervious walls. But some fifty years ago, the borders between technology and art began to be breached. In Making Art Work: How Cold War Engineers and Artists Forged a New Creative Culture (MIT Press, 2020), W. Patrick McCray shows how in this era, artists eagerly collaborated with engineers and scientists to explore new technologies and create visually and sonically compelling multimedia works. This art emerged from corporate laboratories, artists' studios, publishing houses, art galleries, and university campuses. Many of the biggest stars of the art world—Robert Rauschenberg, Yvonne Rainer, Andy Warhol, Carolee Schneemann, and John Cage—participated, but the technologists who contributed essential expertise and aesthetic input often went unrecognized.
    Coming from diverse personal backgrounds, this roster of engineers and scientists includes Frank J. Malina, the American rocket-pioneer turned kinetic artist who launched the art-science journal Leonardo, and Swedish-born engineer Billy Klüver, who established the group Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T). At schools ranging from MIT to Caltech, engineers engaged with such figures as artist Gyorgy Kepes and celebrity curator Maurice Tuchman.
    Today, we are in the midst of a new surge of corporate and academic promotion of projects and programs combining art, technology, and science. Making Art Work reveals how artists and technologists have continually constructed new communities in which they exercise imagination, display creative expertise, and pursue commercial innovation.
    Mathew Jordan is a university instructor, funk musician, and clear writing enthusiast. I study science and its history, in the hope that understanding the past can help us make sense of the present and build a better future.
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    • 59 min.
    Louis Menand, "The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War" (FSG, 2021)

    Louis Menand, "The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War" (FSG, 2021)

    In his follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Metaphysical Club, acclaimed scholar and critic Louis Menand, Professor of English at Harvard University and staff writer at The New Yorker, offers a new intellectual and cultural history of the postwar years. The Cold War was not just a contest of power. It was also about ideas, in the broadest sense—economic and political, artistic and personal. In The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2021), Professor Menand tells the story of American culture in the pivotal years from the end of World War II to Vietnam and shows how changing economic, technological, and social forces put their mark on creations of the mind.
    How did elitism and an anti-totalitarian skepticism of passion and ideology give way to a new sensibility defined by freewheeling experimentation and loving the Beatles? How was the ideal of “freedom” applied to causes that ranged from anti-communism and civil rights to radical acts of self-creation via art and even crime? With the wit and insight familiar to readers of The Metaphysical Club and his New Yorker essays, Menand takes us inside Hannah Arendt’s Manhattan, the Paris of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, Merce Cunningham and John Cage’s residencies at North Carolina’s Black Mountain College, and the Memphis studio where Sam Phillips and Elvis Presley created a new music for the American teenager. He examines the post war vogue for French existentialism, structuralism and post-structuralism, the rise of abstract expressionism and pop art, Allen Ginsberg’s friendship with Lionel Trilling, James Baldwin’s transformation into a Civil Right spokesman, Susan Sontag’s challenges to the New York Intellectuals, the defeat of obscenity laws, and the rise of the New Hollywood.
    Stressing the rich flow of ideas across the Atlantic, he also shows how Europeans played a vital role in promoting and influencing American art and entertainment. By the end of the Vietnam era, the American government had lost the moral prestige it enjoyed at the end of the Second World War, but America’s once-despised culture had become respected and adored. With unprecedented verve and range, this book explains how that happened.
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    • 1 u. 28 min.
    Axel Englund, "Deviant Opera: Sex, Power, and Perversion on Stage" (U California Press, 2020)

    Axel Englund, "Deviant Opera: Sex, Power, and Perversion on Stage" (U California Press, 2020)

    In Deviant Opera: Sex, Power, and Perversion on Stage (University of California Press, 2020), Axel Englund examines an increasingly common trope in opera direction: the use of imagery associated with the kink and BDSM communities. This imagery underscores the themes of sexuality and domination that run through the opera repertory, and it also calls attention to the essential artificiality of operatic performance: opera, after all, is another form of role play. Some stagings have also used BDSM imagery to subvert problematic gender portrayals in classic opera, or even to call out the power imbalances offstage in the world of contemporary opera, which has recently been rocked by revelations of abuse at the highest level. Englund's book will be interesting to opera fans, kinksters, and anyone interested in contemporary efforts to breathe life into classic works of theatre.
    Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts.
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    • 43 min.
    Women Singer-Songwriters of 1970s Japan: A Discussion with Satoko Naito

    Women Singer-Songwriters of 1970s Japan: A Discussion with Satoko Naito

    Lasse Lehtonen speaks to Satoko Naito about his research on Japanese women singer-songwriters of the 1970s and 1980s. Focusing on popular pioneers like Yumi Matsutoya (Yūmin), Miyuki Nakajima, and Takako Okamura, Dr. Lehtonen discusses how the artists assert their agency and artistry, not necessarily through their lyrics but via what Matsutoya once identified as "backstage feminism." He also shares his ideas on the important potential of incorporating music history and musicology in the study of social and cultural histories. Dr. Lehtonen is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Tokyo.
    The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Asianettverket at the University of Oslo, and the Stockholm Centre for Global Asia at Stockholm University.
    We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia.
    About NIAS: www.nias.ku.dk
    Transcripts of the Nordic Asia Podcasts: http://www.nias.ku.dk/nordic-asia-podcast
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    • 28 min.
    Benjamin Piekut, "Henry Cow: The World Is a Problem" (Duke UP, 2019)

    Benjamin Piekut, "Henry Cow: The World Is a Problem" (Duke UP, 2019)

    Benjamin Piekut's Henry Cow: The World is a Problem (Duke UP, 2019) provides a compelling case study of the problems and possibilities of collective improvisation through the story of Henry Cow, the cult favorite British rock band active from 1968-1978. Engaging with free jazz, Maoism, and live electronics, Henry Cow pushed the boundaries of what a rock band could be. They set a standard for artistic independence that would be an inspiration to the punks that followed them, even if Henry Cow's epic freak-outs were sonic worlds away from the punks' three chord assaults. Drawing on a trove of first-hand documents (Henry Cow was the rare rock band to record minutes at their weekly meetings), Piekut's book is a tribute to a band that never stopped challenging themselves and their audience.
    Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts.
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    • 49 min.

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