For the fifth time since 1992, Eastman School of Music Professor of Musicology Ralph P. Locke has won an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music writing. The award is presented annually by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. The new honor cites his article “Liszt on the Artist in Society,” which appeared in the book Liszt and His World (Princeton University Press, 2006).
Locke’s article discusses, and translates into English for the first time, what he calls “a pathbreaking essay” published by Franz Liszt in Paris in 1835. In “On the Situation of Artists and Their Condition in Society,” the then 23-year-old pianist and composer wrote about the struggles that artists, especially composers and performers, face in a world that tends not to support the arts.
“Liszt’s essay offered a bold eight-point program for reshaping and reinvigorating French musical life,” Locke notes. “Liszt proposed that public schools should all incorporate musical instruction. By the end of Liszt’s life, in the 1880s, music had become a standard element in public education across Europe and the Americas.”
Locke points out that Liszt identified problems still prevalent today, such as artistic isolation and funding cuts. “Liszt,” he adds, “offered passionate analysis and practical solutions that can guide us today.”
A member of the Eastman faculty since 1975, Locke is a highly regarded scholar and widely published author on American musical life and on such major composers as Berlioz, Liszt, Saint-Saëns, Schumann, and Verdi. He is senior editor of Eastman Studies in Music, a book series published by the University of Rochester Press; the author of Music, Musicians, and the Saint Simonians; and co-editor of Cultivating Music in America: Women Patrons and Activists since 1860.
The ASCAP Deems Taylor Award was established in 1967 in memory of Deems Taylor, president of ASCAP from 1942 to 1948, who died in 1966 after a distinguished career as a composer, critic, and commentator. Locke, who received his previous Deems Taylor Awards in 1992, 1998, 1999, and 2003, will be honored along with other winners at a reception on Dec. 13 at New York City’s Lincoln Center.
Several other members of the Eastman faculty have received the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award: Samuel Adler, professor emeritus of composition; David Headlam, associate professor of theory; Donald Hunsberger, professor emeritus of conducting and ensembles; Kim Kowalke, professor of musicology; Jürgen Thym, professor emeritus of musicology; Robert Wason, professor of theory; and Ellen Koskoff, professor of ethnomusicology.
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Note to Editors: Ralph Locke is available for interviews.