Reviews of Marcus’s Books

for Schoenberg and Hollywood Modernism:

“Kenneth H. Marcus’s well-researched and elegantly written book takes issue with other studies of Schoenberg in America, which largely describe him as an unhappy exile . . . As Marcus’s vivid portrait shows, Schoenberg worked hard to adapt and contribute to southern California’s musical scene, composing a series of major valedictory works and inspiring vast numbers of young American musicians through his teaching.”

–Burton W. Peretti, The Journal of American History

“Marcus’s highly readable and keenly researched book stretches far and wide in its dissemination of Schoenberg’s west-coast life and locks modernism into a scholarly notion of “perpetual change”, something Los Angeles knew a thing or two about. . . . His account is gripping for the way the composer and the man, the place and its mythic alter-ego became juxtapositions for experimentalism and enterprise, commercialism and cross-cultural creativity, living side-by-side . . . Schoenberg and Hollywood Modernism is an excellent read therefore, full of characterful portraits and fascinating insight.”

–Ian Scott, Pacific Historical Review

for Musical Metropolis:

“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

“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