Who coined the slogan Make America Musical?

Who coined the slogan Make America Musical?


norman lebrecht

January 03, 2018

No, it certainly wasn’t him.

Laurie Lanzen Harris, in a new history of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, has uncovered an old campaign slogan:

In 1887, Detroit became only the fourth city in the country to establish a permanent symphony orchestra. The first, the New York Philharmonic, was founded in 1842. The next, the St. Louis Symphony, was founded in 1880. The next year, 1881, marked the establishment of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  These first professional orchestras were in part an outgrowth of a movement known as “Make America Musical.” The movement promoted the idea that a permanent professional orchestra was good for society: it was a sign of a city’s progress, a reflection of its industrial stature and wealth, and a measure of its cultural and social achievement.

Time to dust off the slogan and go campaigning again?



  • Eric says:

    There was a 40-year gap between the founding the NYPhil and St Louis Symphony. But, this was part of the same movement?