Louisville Music History Goes Big City

We’ve written about this terrific Louisville musical history flick, but check this feature in the New York Times:

A singular harmonic convergence is recounted in “Music Makes a City,” Owsley Brown III and Jerome Hiler’s enlightening documentary about how Louisville, Ky., became a locus for contemporary music in the mid-20th century. In striking synchronicity, a mayor, a con- ductor and a robust postwar generation of composers inter- sected to make the city a hub for visionary composition.

Louisville had been battered by a flood and the Depression when Robert Whitney, a young Chicago conductor, arrived in 1937 to build what became theLouisville Orchestra. When it hit financial trouble, Charles Farnsley, the mayor and a be- liever in the Confucian notion that high culture attracts wealth and power, boldly proposed commissioning works from modern composers while honor- ing the traditional repertory.


The personalities here are as noteworthy as the soundtrack. Whitney was a tireless leader. The charismatic Farnsley, an intellectual with a populist style, after a term as a congressman (where he helped create the National Endowment for the Arts and was a proud signer of the Voting Rights Act), retired from politics to host an overnight classical-music radio program in Louisville.

The film opens today in New York.

Good news for Louisville, eh?

1 thought on “Louisville Music History Goes Big City

  1. Should be an interesting movie, been wanting to see it ever since Jeremy Podgursky’s LEO feature on it, what, two years ago?

    Though it’s possible that showing how Louisville was so culturally advanced fifty years ago will leave me depressed about the present. Why isn’t the Louisville Orchestra interested in commissioning or even presenting new works now?

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