Making the March King: John Philip Sousa’s Washington Years, 1854-1893 by Patrick Warfield
John Philip Sousa’s mature career as the indomitable leader of his own touring band is well known, but the years leading up to his emergence as a celebrity have escaped serious attention. In this revealing biography, Patrick Warfield explains the making of the March King by documenting Sousa’s early life and career. Covering the period 1854 to 1893, this study focuses on the community and training that created Sousa, exploring the musical life of late nineteenth-century Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia as a context for Sousa’s development. Buy the Kindle version here. Buy the Kobo version here. Buy the Google Play version here. Buy the Nook version here.
One Woman in a Hundred: Edna Phillips and the Philadelphia Orchestra by Mary Sue Welsh
Hired from the Curtis Institute of Music at age twenty-three, harpist Edna Phillips (1907–2003) became the Philadelphia Orchestra’s first female member and the first woman to hold a principal position in a major American ensemble. Drawing on archival sources and extensive interviews with Phillips, her family, and colleagues, Welsh chronicles the training, aspirations, setbacks, and successes of this pioneering woman musician. Inside stories and perceptive eyewitness accounts portray controversial conductor Leopold Stokowski melding his musicians into a marvelously flexible ensemble; reveal world-class performers reaching great heights; and show Phillips and the orchestra experiencing the novelty of recording for Walt Disney’s Fantasia. Buy the Kindle version here. Buy the Kobo version here. Buy the Google Play version here. Buy the Nook version here.
Squeeze This! A Cultural History of the Accordion in America by Marion Jacobson
Squeeze This! is the first history of the piano accordion and the first book-length study of the accordion as a uniquely American musical and cultural phenomenon. Ethnomusicologist and accordion enthusiast Marion Jacobson traces the changing idea of the accordion in the United States and its cultural significance over the course of the twentieth century. From the introduction of elaborately decorated European models imported onto the American vaudeville stage and the instrument’s celebration by ethnic musical communities and mainstream audiences alike, to the accordion-infused pop parodies by “Weird Al” Yankovic, Jacobson considers the accordion’s contradictory status as both an “outsider” instrument and as a major force in popular music in the twentieth century. Buy the Kindle version here. Buy the Kobo version here. Buy the Google Play version here. Buy the Nook version here.
Alec Wilder by Philip Lambert
The music of Alec Wilder (1907-1980) blends several American musical traditions, such as jazz and the American popular song, with classical European forms and techniques. Stylish and accessible, Wilder’s musical oeuvre ranged from sonatas, suites, concertos, operas, ballets, and art songs to woodwind quintets, brass quintets, jazz suites, and hundreds of popular songs. Wilder enjoyed a close musical kinship with a wide variety of musicians, including classical conductors such as Erich Leinsdorf, Frederick Fennell, and Gunther Schuller; jazz musicians Marian McPartland, Stan Getz, and Zoot Sims; and popular singers including Frank Sinatra, Mabel Mercer, Peggy Lee, and Tony Bennett. Buy the Kindle version here. Buy the Kobo version here. Buy the Google Play version here. Buy the Nook version here.