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Kate Guthrie

Mar 29, 2022

The Art of Appreciation

Music and Middlebrow Culture in Modern Britain

Univ of California Press 2021

From the BBC Proms to Bernstein's Young People's Concerts, initiatives to promote classical music have been a pervasive feature of twentieth-century musical life. The goal of these initiatives was rarely just to reach a larger and more diverse audience but to teach a particular way of listening that would help the public "appreciate" music.

In The Art of Appreciation: Music and Middlebrow Culture in Modern Britain (University of California Press, 2021), Dr. Kate Guthrie examines for the first time how and why music appreciation has had such a defining and long-lasting impact—well beyond its roots in late-Victorian liberalism. Dr. Guthrie traces the networks of music educators, philanthropists, policy makers, critics, composers, and musicians who, rather than resisting new mass media, sought to harness their pedagogic potential.

The book explores how listening became embroiled in a nexus of modern problems around citizenship, leisure, and education. In so doing, it ultimately reveals how a new cultural milieu—the middlebrow—emerged at the heart of Britain's experience of modernity.

This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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Miranda Melcher

Miranda Melcher (Ph.D., Defense Studies, Kings College, London) studies post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with deep analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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