“This delightful book provides an original perspective on Los Angeles history. Kenneth Marcus surveys the city and the region’s musical history, finding diversity, enthusiasm, and trend-setting in Los Angeles music culture . . . The above summary doesn’t do enough justice to a book rich with insights, a fresh view of Los Angeles history, and the importance of Los Angeles in its support of music in all its varied richness.”

Abraham Hoffman, Los Angeles City Historical Society

Hoffman-review of Musical Metropolis


“In Musical Metropolis, Kenneth Marcus . . . has produced a highly literate, often enchanting and always insightful history of L.A.’s grand musical heritage . . . Musical Metropolis offers a wealth of information and inspiration about Los Angeles and its music, and the author’s research clearly was painstakingly thorough . . . Musical Metropolis is a reflection of Los Angeles itself: public celebration of life and art. This perspective on America and its people, its origins and its future, is an important one. And it’s a whole lot of fun to read.”

–Russ Schach, Pasadena Star-News


“Asking why and how music is both an exemplary and exceptional catalyst for these wider urban processes, helping shape the city and its citizens, is a door Marcus has opened, laying the foundation for what promises to be a rich field of further inquiry and investigation.”

–Marina Peterson, Southern California Quarterly 88 (March 2006)


And blurbs:

“Musical Metropolis is a terrific book: both a history of musical expression in Los Angeles and an insightful cultural history of the city.”

–William Deverell, Director, Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West


“As Tennyson said of Camelot, Los Angeles was a city built to music. Choirs, touring opera companies, a symphony orchestra, musical pageants, the Hollywood Bowl, film scores of surprising power, and radio provided building blocks of identity for the City of Angels equal to aqueduct, automobile, or freeway. Comprehensively, Kenneth H. Marcus has assembled the story and scores of the music that helped build a city.”

–Kevin Starr, University Professor of History, University of Southern California and State Librarian Emeritus

“Musical Metropolis is a skillfully researched account which addresses the relatively unexamined subject of music in the cultural life of Los Angeles between 1880 and 1940. It examines the unique aspects of the city’s regional culture distinguished by geographic and ethnic differences. This richly detailed study also highlights the local development of film, radio, and recorded music, noting its consequent impact on worldwide audiences. Readers will benefit from the fact that examples of the broad range of musical genres discussed are represented on the accompanying CD.”

–Gloria Ricci Lothrop, Professor of History Emerita, California State University, Northridge


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