Classical Music Month Reading List

In celebration of Classical Music Month, please enjoy this curated list of books and journal articles that highlight the study of a timeless art form.

Sound Pedagogy: Radical Care in Music

Edited by Colleen Renihan, John Spilker, and Trudi Wright
Foreword by William Cheng

Guidance for implementing music pedagogies of care and intersectional equity.

Lieder in America: On Stages and In Parlors

By Heather Platt

Lieder and the rise of song recital in the United States, 1850–1914.

American Music

“Public Musicology, Public Radio: Some Approaches to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Classical Radio” by Amanda Sewell 

Classical music is a historically white male-dominated music genre, but many are trying to change that. Sewell provides an overview of how some American classical music radio stations are approaching diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and then turn to some of the ways her team at Classical IPR addresses DEI on the air.  


The Propaganda of Freedom: JFK, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, and the Cultural Cold War

By Joseph Horowitz

The perils of equating notions of freedom with artistic vitality.

Circle of Winners: How the Guggenheim Foundation Composition Awards Shaped American Music Culture

By Denise Von Glahn

An in-depth look at an essential institution’s influence on twentieth-century American music.

Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education

“Parting Ways With Piano Lessons: Comparing Motivation Between Continuing and Dropout Piano Students” 

Piano is not only a popular instrument in the classical music genre, but also in the music education space—piano lessons are a common after-school activity. But what makes a student stick with piano lessons? This study compares 260 students who stuck with piano with a group of students who dropped out after approximately 5 years of study to answer that question.  

Samuel Barber: His Life and Legacy

By Howard Pollack

The multifaceted biography of the composer’s relationships and epic achievement.

Aaron Copland in Latin America: Music and Cultural Politics

By Carol A. Hess

A definitive account of the composer-diplomat and his time in Latin America.

Music and the Moving Image

“Classical Music in Television Commercials: A Social-Psychological Perspective” by Peter Kupfer 

This article describes a study that investigated effects of respondents’ sociodemographic background on their rating of appeal and congruency of music in television commercials, with a focus on classical music. Though research indicates that there are connections between listeners’ musical preferences and their backgrounds, the results of the study suggest that sociodemographic background may not play a central role in processing the commercials, classical or not. 

Musical Landscapes in Color: Conversations with Black American Composers

William C. Banfield

Now available in paperback, William C. Banfield’s acclaimed collection of interviews delves into the lives and work of forty-one Black composers.

About Kristina Stonehill