Louis K. EpsteinApr 6, 2022
The Creative Labor of Music Patronage in Interwar France
Boydell Press 2022
Patronage has long been an important topic of study in musicology, but is much more likely to be one that specialists in medieval or renaissance music research. In The Creative Labor of Music Patronage in Interwar France (Boydell Press, 2021), Louis Epstein turns to patronage in the twentieth century to reveal an important part of the musical economy that is often overlooked. Many different types of patrons existed in this period, from music publishers and the French government to institutions and wealthy individuals. Far from mere sources of funding, early twentieth-century patrons collaborated closely with composers, treating commissions for new music as opportunities to express their own artistry. Although some of these patrons tried to interfere with the compositional process, most were engaged in a more subtle form of labor. For instance, they curated like-minded composers, encouraged people to write in expensive genres like opera or orchestral music, and supported French nationalism. Epstein also finds that the French example helped to influence the flowering of institutional patronage in post-World War II America.
Kristen M. Turner is a lecturer in the music and honors departments at North Carolina State University. Her research centers on race and class in American popular entertainment at the turn of the twentieth century.