Live Recollections: Uses of the Past in U.S. Concert Life

Steve Waksman


As an institution, the concert has long been one of the central mechanisms through which a sense of musical history is constructed and conveyed to a contemporary listening audience. Examining concert programs and critical reviews, this paper will briefly survey U.S. concert life at three distinct moments: in the 1840s, when a conflict arose between virtuoso performance and an emerging classical canon; in the 1920s and 1930s, when early jazz concerts referenced the past to highlight the music's progress over time; and in the late twentieth century, when rock festivals sought to reclaim a sense of liveness in an increasingly mediatized cultural landscape.


concerts, canons, jazz, rock, virtuosity, history

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