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The Orchestra: A Very Short Introduction Paperback – Aug 22 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (Aug. 22 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199760284
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199760282
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 1 x 11.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #686,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review


"The Orchestra: A Very Short Introduction is a savvy, modern, and entertaining introduction to the 21st-century world of orchestras. It combines an insider's perspective with a general overview of the subject-definitely a must for all music lovers." --Alan Gilbert, music director, New York Philharmonic


"The Orchestra: A Very Short Introduction should be required reading for everyone who cares about classical music in today's world. Presented in a refreshingly nontraditional format, Holoman's book is absolutely comprehensive, brimming with surprising insight, wit and vibrancy. Perhaps inspired by the words of the philosopher Seneca whom he quotes-'True pleasure is serious business'-the author succeeds in making a serious and important subject a complete pleasure to explore in this superb book."--JoAnn Falletta, Music Director, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Virginia Symphony; Principal Conductor, Ulster Orchestra


"Holoman's series of witty quips, anecdotes, and one-liners will keep one reading to the book's much too rapid conclusion." -- Music Media Monthly


About the Author

D. Kern Holoman is Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of California, Davis, and conductor emeritus of the UCD Symphony Orchestra.

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By Roochak TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 30 2013
Format: Paperback
You have to admire the glass-half-full perspective that D. Kern Holoman, a music professor and conductor of a California student orchestra, brings to this book about the history and continuing relevance, such as it is, of the professional symphony orchestra. It couldn't have been an easy perspective to maintain, this view of the orchestra as a functional civic enterprise, a locus of musical diversity with universal access via the internet, and a cultural ambassador and agent of peace.

If this sounds a little too good to be true, Holoman is also, by necessity, a realist. He writes about the fundamental problems of keeping a 90- to 100-piece American orchestra gainfully employed: namely, a star system in which celebrity conductors and soloists (and their managers) eat half of an orchestra's annual budget, while those ensembles continue to run up deficits; the declining participation of foundations and wealthy patrons in keeping orchestras afloat; the 2008 recession that took a big chunk out of orchestral endowments (the New York Philharmonic alone took a $40 million dollar hit in the financial crisis); and an ongoing wave of bankruptcies, pay cuts, and layoffs beginning in the late 1980s.

He knows that there are more music majors than available jobs, that some ensembles, most notoriously the Vienna Philharmonic, have been publicly and unapologetically misogynist and racist in their hiring practices, and that the classical recording industry is, for all practical purposes, dead. Yet there's always a silver lining, somehow, as orchestras are forced to be more involved with their communities, more fiscally responsible, more in touch with popular taste and listening habits, more dynamic.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
First, Stop Calling It "Classical" Music... April 29 2013
By Roochak - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
You have to admire the glass-half-full perspective that D. Kern Holoman, a music professor and conductor of a California student orchestra, brings to this book about the history and continuing relevance, such as it is, of the professional symphony orchestra. It couldn't have been an easy perspective to maintain, this view of the orchestra as a functional civic enterprise, a locus of musical diversity with universal access via the internet, and a cultural ambassador and agent of peace.

If this sounds a little too good to be true, Holoman is also, by necessity, a realist. He writes about the fundamental problems of keeping a 90- to 100-piece American orchestra gainfully employed: namely, a star system in which celebrity conductors and soloists (and their managers) eat half of an orchestra's annual budget, while those ensembles continue to run up deficits; the declining participation of foundations and wealthy patrons in keeping orchestras afloat; the 2008 recession that took a big chunk out of orchestral endowments (the New York Philharmonic alone took a $40 million dollar hit in the financial crisis); and an ongoing wave of bankruptcies, pay cuts, and layoffs beginning in the late 1980s.

He knows that there are more music majors than available jobs, that some ensembles, most notoriously the Vienna Philharmonic, have been publicly and unapologetically misogynist and racist in their hiring practices, and that the classical recording industry is, for all practical purposes, dead. Yet there's always a silver lining, somehow, as orchestras are forced to be more involved with their communities, more fiscally responsible, more in touch with popular taste and listening habits, more dynamic. (Even the collapse of the classical record industry was more of a "correction" than a catastrophe.) It's not so difficult to see how sensible it is to take such a position. And if listeners and players haven't quite arrived at a place where Bruckner and Schubert can comfortably share the same program with symphonic themes from "The Legend of Zelda"...Well, that isn't really the point.
Four Stars Dec 9 2014
By Lia Herrera-Lasso - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The content is very good, but the book is small and font is hard to read.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A quick, easy read Feb. 28 2013
By Tigerbob60 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are looking for short overview of the symphony orchestra as it has evolved over the centuries, this one is for you. While I learned some new things, the book mostly connected the dots and gave a better snapshot of the orchestra, it venues, and its important conductors over time.


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