Disc 1 with 100 minute feature-length version and Disc 2 Special Features with over 2 hours of interviews with composers, musicians, and related personalities.
Can a symphony orchestra help save a city? In the late 1940s, an orchestra in Louisville, Kentucky was about to go out of business. At that point, a new mayor stepped into office whose views about civic vitality were founded on the ideas of the Chinese sage Confucius. His vision of prosperity was focused on making the arts available to every citizen of the city. Music Makes a City tells the rousing, inspiring, nearly unbelievable story of an American city and an orchestra that would not only transform Louisville—it would also make a lasting contribution to music unmatched by any orchestra in the world.
The Louisville Orchestra performed and recorded new works on First Edition, their pioneering record label. Under the direction of Robert Whitney and his successors, principally Jorge Mester, the orchestra recorded hundreds of commissions and world premieres. No other orchestra can match this contribution to contemporary musical culture.
The price is the same for individuals and institutions: $34.95 through shoppbs.org.
Norman Dello Joio
Especially relevant in these areas of study:
New Music / 20th Century Classical Music
Sound Recording Industry
Civic Development & Engagement
Art & Civilization
Urban & Regional Planning
Praise for Music Makes a City:
“In striking synchronicity, a mayor, a conductor, and a robust postwar generation of composers intersected to make the city a hub for visionary composition…. Viewers will find themselves agreeably challenged. And stirred. The personalities are as noteworthy as the soundtrack.”
— Andy Webster, New York Times
“The film brings fascinating insights into the cultural life of an American city and perhaps the most important lesson to take away from it is that through sheer conviction Whitney was able to carry his audience with him.”
— Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise
“Music Makes a City reminds us that the arts are an absolutely essential ingredient to the vitality of our communities.”
— Alan Gilbert, Music Director, New York Philharmonic
“Along with fascinating archival footage, the film uses talking heads. But what heads: Gunther Schuller, Elliott Carter, Ned Rorem, Lukas Foss, Chou Wen–chung, Harold Shapero and others.”
— Rick Schultz, LA Times
Disc 1. The flood — Founding the orchestra — Whitney is hired — First rehearsal — Early years — Charles Farnsley — New ideas, new music — Malipiero: Piano concerto — Martha Graham: Judith — Carnegie Hall — Voice of America — Rockefeller grants — Carter: Variations — William Mootz, music critic — Dedicated players — Farnsley’s success — HUAC — Triumph of St. Joan — Chou: Fallen petals — Louisville resistance — Nadia Boulanger — Music wars; Farbenspiel — Foss: A Parable of Death — Children’s concerts — Soviet visitors — Focus on recordings — Farnsley retires — Whitney retires — Shapero: Credo — Credits.
Disc 2. Special features: bonus interviews.
Composers: Elliott Carter ; Gunther Schuller ; Harold Shapero ; Joan Tower ; Chou Wen-chung ; Norman Dello Joio ; Ned Rorem. Orchestra: Jorge Mester ; Ruth Scott French ; Sidney Harth ; Lee Luvisi ; Marilyn Willoughby ; Dr. Stephen Plank. Community: Dr. J. Blaine Hudson ; Janet Eilber ; Dann Byck, Jr. ; Douglass Farnsley ; Curtis Dewees ; William Mootz — Trailer