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Harold Bauer on Music in America

“THE trouble with most people is that they do not realize the importance of America and its music now. The future of the art here is so dazzling that it is beyond estimate, and the present is a great joy to me.

“Enthusiasm is contagious, and that is why I say that the attitude of looking to the future instead of realizing the present is harmful to the conditions, because one can never be so full of interest in something which is many years away as in that which is right upon us. And the brilliancy of musical conditions in this country is here right now, believe me. There is no reason why as many students should not come from Europe to study in this country as America sends to Europe, and tell me—I have a great curiosity to know—why does America send pupils abroad as it does?

“To learn a reason for studying,” he said, “people who think of music here at all do so because they enjoy it. It is not said in Europe that people enjoy it because they attend concerts or because they study. Every one studies music, every one listens to music; it is part of the daily life, and when people go to concerts, the pleasure consists in criticising and analyzing, but really to enjoy—few people think of it.

“What I find here are health, enjoyment and evolution. On these principles the music of this country is built and— better yet—building. I do not wish to seem harsh to the European institutions, but they have nothing to offer which cannot be learned here as well. After an American education is finished, then send the student abroad for what we may call atmosphere, experience and the sort of finish which may come from an old world rather than from a new one, but I repeat that for actual study and the accomplishment of real things this country stands on a most remarkable plane.”

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