Evenings On and Off the Roof: Pioneering Concerts in Los Angeles, 1939–1971

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9780520088917: Evenings On and Off the Roof: Pioneering Concerts in Los Angeles, 1939–1971
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In April of 1939 an unusual event occurred on a Los Angeles rooftop: nineteen people gathered to hear an all-Bartók program of chamber music. Thus was launched the now-famous Evenings on the Roof. The concert series later became the Monday Evening Concerts, whose popularity continues to this day. This is the story of that adventurous series, and Dorothy Crawford's graceful telling reveals the changing world of twentieth-century art music. It is also a story of idealism and determination, and of a unique synthesis of talent that could happen only in Los Angeles.

Evenings on the Roof were the inspiration of writer Peter Yates and his wife, pianist Frances Mullen. To the Yates's rooftop studio came local and émigré musicians and composers. Though performers received little financial compensation, composers offered their latest works, and the growing audiences welcomed the challenging new music.

Music critic Lawrence Morton joined this endeavor and helped forge an innovative musical community. The series introduced works of Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, Lukas Foss, Pierre Boulez, and John Cage and provided an early venue for Robert Craft, Marilyn Horne, Marni Nixon, and Michael Tilson Thomas, among others.

The fascinating contradictions that are part of Los Angeles emerge in this book as well: the city known as both "Lotusland" and "Tinseltown" could also embrace the most challenging music of the Western heritage. Through the vision of Yates and Morton and the devotion of extraordinary artists, music in Los Angeles achieved a rich maturity.

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From the Inside Flap:

"With great versatility and intelligence, Crawford offers a chapter in the history of American musical culture that is without precedent. The result is a record of an enterprise of national and international recognition, with a world-class cast of characters."—H. Wiley Hitchcock, author of Music in the United States

"This book can serve as a parable for cultural leaders everywhere: here is how one intrepid small band of music lovers conquered the hurdles encountered by difficult contemporary music in almost every city."—Alan Rich, Music Critic, L.A. Weekly

"The story of the Evenings on the Roof and Monday Evening Concerts is essential for understanding not only musical life in Los Angeles but musical trends in the United States and worldwide. Bravo to Dorothy Crawford for undertaking this valuable history."—Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony

From the Back Cover:

"With great versatility and intelligence, Crawford offers a chapter in the history of American musical culture that is without precedent. The result is a record of an enterprise of national and international recognition, with a world-class cast of characters." (H. Wiley Hitchcock, author of Music in the United States)

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Crawford, Dorothy Lamb
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