In 1893, Dvorak prophesized a “great and noble” school of American classical music based upon the “Negro melodies” he esteemed. He also counseled American composers to draw upon Native American lore. But the Black musical mother lode instead fortified popular musical genres today known the world over.
Why did American classical music “stay white”? What was the credibility of Dvorak’s prophecy? How did it infiltrate his own New World Symphony? Was Dvorak guilty of “cultural appropriation”? These are some of the questions posed by our film, which presents Antonin Dvorak as a humanitarian visionary.
Featuring excerpts from PostClassical Ensemble’s acclaimed Naxos CD “Dvorak and America”
Scripted and edited by Joseph Horowitz
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A related blog by Joe: Dvorak as an Antidote to “Checkbox Diversity”
Our past projects:
At a moment when America’s performing arts institutions are challenged not merely to continue to function, but to function in new ways, PCE undertakes a series of films linked to zoom chats – “PostClassical: More than Music” — exploring the role of music in society.
This initiative comes easily to us, as our programming typically focuses on music as an instrument for mutual understanding and human betterment.
Our two most recent projects, before the virus changed everything, were An Armenian Odyssey, at the Washington National Cathedral, and Furtwangler in Wartime, via WWFM. The former explored the power of music to forge inspirational cultural synergies. The latter explored the power of music to “bear witness” during World War II.
We began our new “More than Music” films with Deep River: The Art of the Spiritual, in which we were joined by PCE Resident Artist Kevin Deas.
Future programs in this series will include “Dvorak and America,” for which we will be partnered by Howard University. The topics at hand are “What is the role of culture in a nation’s life?” and “Who is an American?”
We look forward to seeing you again. In the meantime, please be well.
Joe and Ángel
Produced by PostClassical Ensemble
in collaboration with David Osenberg for WWFM the Classical Network
Hosted by Bill McGlaughlin
With Joe Horowitz, Ángel Gil-Ordoñez, and special guests
Studio engineer: Bill Siegmund
Film and visual presentations: Behrouz Jamali