The Karl Muck Scandal

June 2019
85 black and white illustrations
438 pages
9x6 in
Eastman Studies in Music
ISBN: 9781580469500
Format: Hardback
University of Rochester Press
BISAC MUS050000, HIS054000, HIS036060

The Karl Muck Scandal

Classical Music and Xenophobia in World War I America

Melissa D. Burrage

The demonization, internment, and deportation of celebrated Boston Symphony Orchestra conductor Dr. Karl Muck, finally told, and placed in the context of World War I anti-German sentiment in the United States.
One of the cherished narratives of American history is that of the Statue of Liberty welcoming immigrants to its shores. Accounts of the exclusion and exploitation of Chinese immigrants in the late nineteenth century and Japanese internment during World War II tell a darker story of American immigration. Less well-known, however, is the treatment of German-Americans and German nationals in the United States during World War I. Initially accepted and even welcomed into American society at the outbreak of war, this group would face rampant intolerance and anti-German hysteria.

Melissa D. Burrage's book illustrates this dramatic shift in attitude in her engrossing narrative of Dr. Karl Muck, the celebrated German conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, who was targeted and ultimately disgraced by a New York Philharmonic board member and by capitalists from that city who used his private sexual life as a basis for having him arrested, interned, and deported from the United States. While the campaign against Muck made national headlines, and is the main focus of this book, Burrage also illuminates broader national topics such as: Total War; State power; vigilante justice; internment and deportation; irresponsible journalism; sexual surveillance; attitudes towards immigration; anti-Semitism; and the development of America's musical institutions. The mistreatment of Karl Muck in the United States provides a narrative thread that connects these various wartime and postwar themes.

MELISSA D. BURRAGE, a writing consultant at Harvard University Extension School, holds a Master's Degree in History from Harvard University and a PhD in American Studies from University of East Anglia.

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Table of Contents

Here on Foreign Shores: Dr. Karl Muck's Acclaim in Boston (1906-1916)
Mobilization: A Changing Environment for Boston (1917)
Selling the War: Demonizing the Enemy (1918)
"Looking for the Trump Card:" Mrs. William Jay's Attacks on Karl Muck in Wartime America (1915-1918)
"A Leaf in the Storm:" Muck, Higginson, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1918-1919)
Muck's Arrest: "Finding 'One Weak Spot'" (1918-1919)
"Only Too Proud to Shoulder It All:" The Sexual Climate of Wartime Boston and Muck's Fall from Grace (1918-1919)
Muck's Final Years: His Association with the Wagners and Adolf Hitler (1920-1940)
Coda (1919 to Present)

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