A provocative, perceptive study of the cultural dynamics of classical music in American society, Music, Talent, and Performance describes music as a metaphor of the society in which it takes place.Author Henry Kingbury, a conservatory-trained pianist and music educator turned anthropologist forgoes the traditional ethnomusicologist approach of looking at a non-Western musical culture to focus on the \u0022field\u0022 of an American conservatory. The result is a penetrating look at the distinction between teaching music and the nurturing of musicality. Kingsbury offers an innovative anthropological analysis of the western notion of \u0022talent\u0022 and its cultural character, noting that many non-western societies have no such concept. Furthermore, he examines various contexts in which music is produced, experienced, and evaluated. His discussion includes the dynamics of orchestra rehearsals in the conservatory, \u0022master class\u0022 lessons with a distinguished performer-pedagogue, the ritual characteristics of solo recitals, and an interpretive analysis of stage fright.Ultimately, Kingsbury argues that music \u0022is highly shifting and indeterminate in meaning,\u0022 a concept that has important implications for all interpreters of culture and for the artists themselves.
Henry Kinsbury is a performing pianist and a Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at Boston University.
CONTENTS Acknowledgments 1. Social Context and Absolute Music 2. The Conservatory 3. Cream Rises 4. Lessons with the Master 5. A Song in a Strange Land 6. A Cultural System Notes References Cited Index