The Orchestra: A Very Short Introduction [#332]
The Orchestra: A Very Short Introduction [#332]


  • Surveys the structure, roots, and day-to-day functioning of the modern philharmonic society
  • Disputes prevalent notions of the death of the orchestra
  • Argues for the centrality of the symphony orchestra in cultural diplomacy and civic pride
  • Welcomes new media for the consumption of orchestral music
  • Updates orchestral history with accounts of recent strikes and bankruptcies on the one hand, and the conspicious success of several massive new concert halls, on the other

In this Very Short Introduction, D. Kern Holoman considers the structure, roots, and day-to-day functioning of the modern philharmonic society. He explores topics ranging from the life of a musician in a modern orchestra, the recent wave of new hall construction from Berlin to Birmingham, threats of bankruptcies and strikes, and the eyebrow-raising salaries of conductors and general managers. At the heart of the book lies a troubling pair of questions: Can such a seemingly anachronistic organization long survive? Does the symphony matter in contemporary culture? Holoman responds to both with a resounding yes. He shows that the orchestra remains a potent political and social force, a cultural diplomat par excellence. It has adapted well to the digital revolution, and it continues to be seen as an essential element of civic pride. In a time of upheaval in how classical music is created, heard, distributed, and evaluated, the orchestra has managed to retain its historic role as a meeting place of intellectual currents, an ongoing forum for public enlightenment. 
Reading Guide


Chapter 1: Philharmonia
Chapter 2: Musicians
Chapter 3: Venue
Chapter 4: Money
Chapter 5: Conductors
Chapter 6: Repertoire
Chapter 7: Commentary
Chapter 8: Records
Chapter 9: Peace
Epilogue: Civics
Further Reading


D. Kern Holoman is Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of California, Davis, and conductor emeritus of the UCD Symphony Orchestra.He is author of Berlioz, Evenings with the Orchestra, the popular textbook Masterworks, the best-selling Writing About Music, and Charles Munch.

"The Orchestra: A Very Short Introduction is a savvy, modern, and entertaining introduction to the 21st-century world of orchestras. It combines an insider's perspective with a general overview of the subject-definitely a must for all music lovers." -- Alan Gilbert, music director, New York Philharmonic

"The Orchestra: A Very Short Introduction should be required reading for everyone who cares about classical music in today's world. Presented in a refreshingly nontraditional format, Holoman's book is absolutely comprehensive, brimming with surprising insight, wit and vibrancy. Perhaps inspired by the words of the philosopher Seneca whom he quotes-'True pleasure is serious business'-the author succeeds in making a serious and important subject a complete pleasure to explore in this superb book."-- JoAnn Falletta, Music Director, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Virginia Symphony; Principal Conductor, Ulster Orchestra
"Holoman's series of witty quips, anecdotes, and one-liners will keep one reading to the book's much too rapid conclusion." -- Music Media Monthly


ISBN : 9780199760282

D. Kern Holoman
168 ページ
111 x 174 mm
Very Short Introductions





The Orchestra: A Very Short Introduction [#332]

The Orchestra: A Very Short Introduction [#332]

The Orchestra: A Very Short Introduction [#332]