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“Music Makes A City” documents a Louisville of cutting edge music, emerging visionaries


Louisville once again is in front of a national and international audience as the subject of something grander than Rick Pitino’s peccadilloes.

Before Jim James and My Morning Jacket made it cool to be from Louisville, there was another Louisville. A Louisville celebrated internationally as a classical music hub, and the subject of “Music Makes a City.”

The New York Times and other sites are noticing, with stories about “Music Makes A City,” the new documentary by Louisville native Owsley Brown III and Jerome Hiler.

Music Makes a City,” which debuted in Louisville last May, documents the Louisville Orchestra’s  transformation almost overnight from a nice little semi-professional group to an orchestra renown for commissioning cutting-edge compositions. The turning point was 1953. when the orchestra received a $400,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to commission 52 compositions per year for three years.

According to “Music Makes a City, ” the evolution of the orchestra dove-tailed with — or was perhaps the genesis of — the emergence of a new group of Louisville leaders keen to use to arts to define Louisville’s national identity.

Or as New York Times reviewer Andy Webster writes, “In striking synchronicity, a mayor, a conductor and a robust postwar generation of composers intersected to make the city a hub for visionary composition.”

What ever happened to that Louisville? Oh, wait a minute – we’ve replaced Shostakovich with Sarah Palin and the National Quartet Convention.

Related stores: Documentary review: Music Makes A City (The Epoch Times blog)


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