The Big Bang of Music Patronage in the United States: The National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Ford Foundation
Uy, Michael Sy
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CitationUy, Michael Sy. 2017. The Big Bang of Music Patronage in the United States: The National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThe United States experienced a Big Bang of arts funding after the Second World War: in the field of music alone, the Ford Foundation granted over $140 million, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) over $110 million, and the Rockefeller Foundation over $40 million. In today's value, the three institutions provided an astonishing $2 billion to music programs over a period of two decades. In my dissertation, I examine the criteria these three institutions used to select composers, musicians, and organizations, the role of "experts" in this system, and how public and private forms of funding both cooperated and competed in this process.
I argue that the establishment of a highly concentrated and interconnected field of arts and music experts influenced the way the NEA, the Ford, and the Rockefeller Foundations developed, funded, and ultimately legitimized Western art music. In my analysis, I provide new insights into the social and relational aspects of expertise, especially in discourses concerned with music and art. I accomplish this through extensive archival research of each of the three institutions, oral history with surviving officers and consultants, and ethnographic research at the NEA. I employ theories of expertise and cultural production influenced by sociologists Harry Collins, Pierre Bourdieu, and Michèle Lamont.
The music programs of the Ford, Rockefeller, and NEA could be subjects of dissertations in their own right, but the significance of my research is derived from the comparative conclusions that I make across these organizations. Thus rather than taking discrete case studies of these three institutions, in each chapter of the dissertation I examine distinct themes and important issues concerning philanthropy, arts patronage, and musical production and consumption. In my chapters I analyze (1) the role of experts such as panelists, staff officers, and boards of trustees in determining definitions of Western high art music, artistic quality, and excellence; (2) the roles of private foundations and the federal government in supporting music programs; and (3) the relationship between avant-garde new music centers like those at Buffalo, Princeton, and Columbia, with major orchestras.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41140247
- FAS Theses and Dissertations 
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