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From Paris to PeoriaHow European Piano Virtuosos Brought Classical Music to the American Heartland$
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R. Allen Lott

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195148831

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195148831.001.0001

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The New World Beckons

From Paris to Peoria

R. Allen Lott

Oxford University Press

Several developments coalesced in the mid-1840s that encouraged a new influx of European musical performers to tour America, who were usually of a higher rank than those previously heard. These factors included the healthy economy of the United States, the abundance of virtuosos in Europe, and vast improvements in transportation (Atlantic steam travel greatly shortened the trip and increased its reliability). Even though many Europeans had serious doubts about the artistic sensibility of Americans, visiting pianists generally found a welcoming audience. Through its versatility as a solo and accompanying instrument, its newfound recognition in the concert room, its suitability in the home, where a rising number of musical amateurs made music for their own enjoyment and that of their friends, and its usefulness as a tool in music education, the piano had become by far the most important instrument in America.

Keywords:   virtuosos, pianists, piano, artistic sensibility, concert, musical amateurs, music education

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