Synopses & Reviews
"An excellent overview of the role that Asians and Asian Americans have come to play in the world of Western classical music. It is beautifully written, extremely lucid, and well researched. What is particularly enlightening here is the author's dedication in seeking out many musicians to interview and her integration of these stories into a coherent whole.
—Timothy D. Taylor, Professor of Ethnomusicology and Musicology, University of California, Los Angeles
In the first book to account for the growing prominence of Asians in the world of Western classical music, Mari Yoshihara grapples with the significance of this trend. This is a book about the about the origins of a social and cultural phenomenon, but it is also about the lives and work of individual musicians devoted to their art.
Musicians of Asian descent enjoy unprecedented prominence in concert halls, conservatories, and classical music performance competitions. In the first book on the subject, Mari Yoshihara looks into the reasons for this phenomenon, starting with her own experience of learning to play piano in Japan at the age of three. Yoshihara shows how a confluence of culture, politics and commerce after the war made classical music a staple in middle-class households, established Yamaha as the world's largest producer of pianos and gave the Suzuki method of music training an international clientele. Soon, talented musicians from Japan, China and South Korea were flocking to the United States to study and establish careers, and Asian American families were enrolling toddlers in music classes.
Against this historical backdrop, Yoshihara interviews Asian and Asian American musicians, such as Cho-Liang Lin, Margaret Leng Tan, Kent Nagano, who have taken various routes into classical music careers. They offer their views about the connections of race and culture and discuss whether the music is really as universal as many claim it to be. Their personal histories and Yoshihara's observations present a snapshot of today's dynamic and revived classical music scene.
About the Author
Mari Yoshihara is Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.She is the author of Embracing the East: White Women and American Orientalism.
Table of Contents
Introduction: A Rising Scale in Relative Minor
Chapter 1. Early Lessons in Globalization
Chapter 2. The Roots and Routes of Asian Music
Chapter 3. Playing Gender
Chapter 4. Class Notes
Chapter 5. A Voice of One's Own
Conclusion: Musicians First
About the Author