John Kirkpatrick, American Music, and the Printed Page

John Kirkpatrick, American Music, and the Printed Page

Drew Massey

Personal eBook

University of Rochester Press



How one extraordinary pianist, scholar, and editor prepared for publication important scores by Ives, Copland, and Ruggles, and reshaped the history of American musical modernism.
For over sixty years, the scholar and pianist John Kirkpatrick tirelessly promoted and championed the music of American composers. In this book, Drew Massey explores how Kirkpatrick's career as an editor of music shaped the music and legacies of some of the great American modernists, including Aaron Copland, Ross Lee Finney, Roy Harris, Hunter Johnson, Charles Ives, Robert Palmer, and Carl Ruggles. Drawing on oral histories, interviews, and Kirkpatrick's own extensive archives, Massey carefully reconstructs Kirkpatrick's collaborations with such luminaries, displaying his editorial practice and inviting reconsideration of many of the most important debates in American modernism -- for example, the self-fashioning of young composers during the 1940s, the cherished myth of Ruggles as a composer in communion with the "timeless," and Ives's status as a pioneer of modernist techniques.

First winner (November 2014) of ASCAP's Virgil Thomson Award for Outstanding Music Criticism.

Drew Massey is an Assistant Professor of Music at Binghamton University.


21 colour, 25 line illustrations
238 pages
9x6 in
Eastman Studies in Music
Personal eBook, 9781580468954, June 2013
Hardback, 9781580464048, June 2013
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BISAC MUS020000, MUS050000, MUS037000
Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter   Pin it   Share by Email

Related Titles

Table of Contents

Introduction: Strange Stopping Places
Mentorship: Music Publishing
Collaboration: Ruggles's Evocations
Performance: Ives's Concord Sonata
Imagination: Ruggles's Mood
Voice: The Prose Works
Institution: The Charles Ives Society
Conclusion: Kirkpatrick, Compared
Works of John Kirkpatrick


We need a lot more books like this, books that don't content themselves with the public record but go backstage and unravel what ropes were being pulled by whom to make the stage machinery work. A mesmerizing final chapter relates how the evolving editorial policies of the Charles Ives Society formed and reformed in relation and reaction to Elliott Carter's and Maynard Solomon's charges against Ives. POSTCLASSIC

A major contribution to understanding Kirkpatrick's role in performing and editing American music. Adds significantly to the relatively sparse existing literature on Ruggles. The overall tone is accessible. MLA NOTES


An engrossing, thought-provoking, and unusual book about a most unusual man. . . Delectable smorgasbord of biography, cultural and reception history, and philological review. (The chapter on Charles Ruggles's Mood for violin and piano is) a tour de force of musicological inquiry. . . A fascinating and multilayered book about a man who truly made an incalculable difference, not only in Ives reception and studies, but also for the legacy of strong, ambitious, and dissonant . . . American classical music. MUSIC & LETTERS

Massey conjures up atmospheres (e.g., Paris in the 1920s as experienced by young American musicians) ably and supplies interesting facts (such as that in 1928, Kirkpatrick was the first person to write an article about Aaron Copland). This book should be in the collection of every academic library. . . . One of the charms of Massey's book is his respect for his subject and the flowery language he sometimes employs to convey his admiration. . . . Massey's discussion of the respective positions of Elliott Carter and Kirkpatrick on the Ives controversy alone is worth the cost of the book. Anyone interested in the history of 20th-century American music and questions of priority will want to read this book. CRITICAL MARGINS

A substantial and provocative contribution to our understanding of Kirkpatrick as a man, performer, editor, and scholar. This book's implications reach beyond the particular composers and works involved and will interest readers concerned with American music generally, as well as those interested in the history and practice of editing in the twentieth century. --Tom C. Owens, editor of Selected Correspondence of Charles Ives

Also in Series