Backstage Podcast Featured on “How Stuff Works”

Backstage Podcast is making waves, and our most recent feature came from

In the article, writer Laurie Dove examines the controversy surrounding Richard Nixon’s second inauguration. Nixon’s second term began amid the Watergate scandal and the nation’s growing discontent with military action in Vietnam, and to protest Nixon’s second presidency, Leonard Bernstein organized a concert the evening before the ceremony.

Bernstein’s concert happened at exactly the same time as a concert to honor Nixon, making it an “anti-concert.” It attracted about 15,000 people.

Read about it here:

How Leonard Bernstein Opposed Richard Nixon With 1973 ‘Anti-inaugural’ Concert


The Guys

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Ep. 7 – American Classical Music: Origins, Composers & Controversy

Czech composer Antonín Dvořák made invaluable contributions to American classical music. He composed his famous “New World Symphony” in the United States, he taught many future American musicians, and he tried to win respect for certain forms of indigenous American folk music. There was only one problem:

We forget that actual 19th century American composers were already doing that. And they didn’t appreciate the intrusion.


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Leonora by William Henry Fry

Listen to Leonora by William Henry Fry: Bio, Links, and Sheet Music

*Scroll Below to Listen to Leonora by William Henry Fry*

If you listened to episode seven of Backstage Podcast, you heard about an American composer named William Henry Fry. You may also remember that we predicted a blog post showcasing his music…

Consider this the fulfillment of that prophecy. Below you’ll find a bit of biography, plus some background to his opera Leonora. If you’re just here to listen to Leonora by William Henry Fry, scroll below–we’ve included links to some listening resources.

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Dwight's Journal of Music Years of Publication

Dwight’s Journal of Music: Links, Overview, and Commentary

Dwight’s Journal of Music, the first American-based classical music criticism periodical, first hit circulation in Boston on April 10, 1852. It was a weekly periodical, and it ran consistently until the completion of volume 41 in 1881. There were 26 numbers per volume. I was surprised though–Dwight’s Journal is really interesting.

We promised some links to Dwight’s Journal of Music, so here you go:

Read Dwight’s Journal of Music via

You can now indulge in all 41 volumes of the first notable music journal in the United States.

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We’d Be Nothin’ Without You, Dvorak

We’re about to launch episode 6 of Backstage Podcast, but as you can imagine, we had to make some cuts to the script. That always hurts a little bit.

Fortunately for us, we have a blog to feature our edited material. It’s the kind of stuff that we think is really cool, but it didn’t help the scripted narrative very much–besides, you probably don’t have time to listen to ten hour long shows.

In short, Dvorak had a huge influence on American composers and music. While we talk about some of that in episode 6, here are a few more examples of composers in Dvorak’s “lineage,” as well as some film music that borrowed from Dvorak not-so-discreetly.

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Ep. 6 – Czech, Please: Antonin Dvorak in America


For the sixth episode of Backstage Podcast, join us as we explore the musical and cultural repercussions of Antonin Dvorak and his visit to the United States.

Mrs. Jeannette Thurber, the founder of the National Conservatory of Music of America, was determined to bring the influential Czech composer to New York–she succeeded by offering him unprecedented influence and a huge paycheck.

Dvorak sailed into Hoboken in 1892. In his wake came musical change, cultural reconsideration, and a group of very disgruntled American composers.

We also invite you to read our guest article on the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society’s website.

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Happy Birthday to Aaron Copland!

On November 14, 1900, Aaron Copland came into the world. Years later he would write such famous pieces as Fanfare for the Common Man, Billy the Kid, and Appalachian Spring. He is often considered one of the best composers in the American folk song style. In the video below, he composed a special birthday greeting for the great artist Leonard Bernstein. We think it would be fitting for you to hear Copland’s idea of what a happy birthday song should sound like!

Harry Truman was a Pianist

Did you know that President Harry Truman was a pianist? He wasn’t up to Condoleezza Rice’s standards, but Truman did spend the first fifteen years of his life practicing the piano for two hours per day.

Here’s a video of Truman playing. The piano probably served as a consistent diversion from the world’s first nuclear bomb, fighting against segregation, and proving that he belonged in the oval office.

For you aspiring presidents, keep practicing!

Masao Ohki Hiroshima Symphony

5-Ghosts of Hiroshoma


In this episode we dive into one of Japan’s most iconic 20th century works, the Masao Ohki Hiroshima Symphony.

The United States ended WWII by dropping the world’s first Atomic Bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9, 1946, respectively. The bomb ended the worst conflict in human history and saved the lives of countless US soldiers in the Pacific Theater, but at what cost?

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