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Bruce D. McClung
University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH 45220-2872)
The World of Tomorrow: Music and the 1939 New York World's Fair

On the 150th anniversary year of George Washington's presidential inauguration, the 1939 New York World's Fair celebrated democracy and adumbrated the future with its visionary theme of "Building the World of Tomorrow." Newly commissioned music by such composers as Robert Russell Bennett, Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, William Grant Still, and Kurt Weill accompanied events in all three areas of the Fair. Although the Fair has been well documented by architectural historians, industrial designers, and even novelists, no one has investigated the role music played in shaping such a utopian vision for the forty-five million Americans who attended. An examination of music at the Fair will chronicle the struggle of American composers to create a place for themselves in the Fair's official Music Festival, reveal the tensions between highbrow and lowbrow entertainment, draw connections between music and technological innovation, and foretell the postwar demise of classical music in America.

Project fields:
Music History and Criticism

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2010 – 9/30/2010