America Between the Wars

Listen: Hear Part Four of the Series

Until World War I, the American classical scene was dominated by the German tradition. But with all things German falling into disrepute after the war, American musicians began to turn elsewhere for inspiration.

Detail from The Oxford History of Western Music, Volume IV

Detail from The Oxford History of Western Music, Volume IV Oxford University Press hide caption

itoggle caption Oxford University Press

In the years after the war, an entire generation of American composers went to Paris, initiating a musical exchange of ideas between the U.S. and France. Oddly enough, it was in Paris, through the eyes of the French, that expatriate composers such as Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, Virgil Thomson and Walter Piston started to appreciate their American roots.

Richard Taruskin, author of The Oxford History of Western Music, talks with NPR's Fred Child about America between the wars.

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