Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


School of Music

Document Type



Disparate priorities between composers, performers, audiences, and institutions have created systemic issues in the sustainability and relevance of symphonic music in modern society. The purpose of this study is to explore the history of the symphonic heritage in the United States with the goal of forming solutions to contemporary issues in the sphere of classical symphonic music. With consideration for the breadth of repertoire, the genre of the symphony is the primary focus, with special attention given to under-represented and under-performed composers. The American symphony orchestra, nonexistent during the founding of the country, has become one of the greatest conduits for symphonic music in the world. An examination of the American symphonic heritage illuminates macro trends over the past two hundred years and lends clarity to the current state of the symphony in the United States. No orchestra operating today is reliably self-sufficient. Contemporary orchestral institutions either do not recognize the greatest issues facing their organization, try to find answers to the wrong questions, identify important problems but fail to provide long-term solutions, or some combination of the three. The current world of classical music has become the conservation of largely European art music, operating on antiquated models that have outgrown their earlier success. An evaluation of the American symphonic heritage and traditional practices yields new avenues for contemporary modeling, with implications that point to a greater, more financially stable and optimistic future for the symphony in the United States.



Committee Chair

Riazuelo, Carlos



Included in

Music Commons