An Annotated Bibliographic Timeline of the WPA Federal Music Project

A WPA Federal Music Project Poster

I posted some preliminary remarks about this timeline here. Also my piece about the FMP and Communism.

Sokoloff, Nikolai (1936) A Preliminary Report of the Work of the Federal Music Project. Washington, D.C.: WPA publication.

Sokoloff, Nikolai (1936) The Federal Music Project. Washington, D.C.: The second preliminary report covering its scope and activities during its first nine months. Washington, D.C.: WPA publication.

N.A. (1936) “EDUCATION BY THE WPA” New York Times, July 12, pg. X5

According to the latest statistics released by the Federal Music Project, 2,399,446 students unable to pay for private musical instruction attended the free classes of the project in its 140 music centers throughout Greater New York during the year ending June 30.  The number of classes held reached the enormous total of 145,133.

N.A. (1936) “32,000,000 HEARERS WON BY WPA MUSIC: Federal Orchestras in Nation Gave 10,797 Performances for 11,167,173 in 2 Months” New York Times, October 11, pg. N6

Statistics released by the WPA Federal Music Project yesterday revealed that in the period from Jan. 1 to Sept. 15 WPA orchestras gave concerts before an attendance of 32,000,000 persons throughout the United States.  The announcement disclosed that on Oct. 1 the WPA Music Project, headed by Dr. Nikolai Sokoloff, ended its first year of stewardship of the musical phase in the Federal Government’s four arts relief program.

H.A.R. (1936) “Music in America: U.S. Government’s Music Project” The Age, December 13, pg. 9 <<>>

A few months ago readers of Music in America were told of an elaborate art programme to be inaugurated by the United States Government.  The objects of this programme (called the Federal music project) are:–

(1) To create such musical units as will retain the skills of the unemployed musician and restrain him for new fields of musical activity.

(2) To enlarge the community interest in music through education and performance.

N.A. (1937) “WPA TEACHES MUSIC TO 60,000 WEEKLY: 128 Centers in New York Have Given 7,689,406 Lessons Since July 20, 1934” New York Times, April 5, 1937

The WPA Federal Music Project announced yesterday that the attendance of adults and children at its free classes in 128 music education and social music centers of Greater New York during the period from July 20, 1934, to April 1, 1937, totaled 7,689,406.  At the present time the weekly attendance is more than 60,000.

N.A. (1937) “WPA PROJECT RECORD” New York Times, November 14, pg. 187

Although it almost passes belief, 35,413,314 persons attended the events of the Federal Music Project throughout this country since October, 1935.  And what did they hear?  No less than 39,219 programs by Project symphony and concert orchestras; 24,414 band concerts by WPA bands and 369 performances of operas and operettas, according to a report submitted to Ellen S. Woodward, Assistant Administrator of the Works Progress Administration, by Dr. Nikolai Sokoloff, the Project’s national director.

Furthermore, 11,940 recitals were given before and aggregate audience of 6,150,610 persons by students of the Project’s teaching classes in twenty-six states.

Much stress was laid on American music during the two years covered by the report.  Of such in the larger forms given first performances there were fourteen symphonies, thirteen concertos, nineteen tone poems, four cantatas and five operas.  More than 5,300 works by more than 1,500 native composers or composers residing in the United States were presented.

N.A. (1938) “6,000 ON WPA JOIN MUSIC WEEK FETES: Projects Offer 123 Orchestras, 70 Bands, 29 Choral Groups for National Observance” New York Times, April 24, pg. I4

Washington, April 23.–More than six thousand musicians on the WPA’s Federal Music Project rolls will take part during the week of May 1 to 7 in National Music Week programs in forty-two States.

There will be 123 symphony and concert orchestras, seventy bands, twenty-one chamber music ensembles and twenty-nine opera and choral groups, all composed of persons on relief.  Their activities will mark their third annual cooperation in the National Music Week observance.

“There is a growing pressure of public opinion,” Dr. Sokoloff said today, “for giving music a larger place in the community life.  Since WPA set up this project to retrain an rehabilitate unemployed professional musicians, aggregate audiences exceeding 93,000,000 persons have heard these musicians in more than 133,000 programs and performances.

Moore, Earl V. (1939) “Final Report of the Federal Music Project” Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, October 10

Canon, Cornelius B. (1963) The Federal Music Project of the Works Progress Administration: Music in a democracy. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Minnesota, United States — Minnesota. (Publication No. AAT 6307915).

Woodworth, W.H. (1970) The Federal Music Project of the Works Progress Administration in New Jersey. Educat.D. dissertation, University of Michigan, United States — Michigan. (Publication No. AAT 7104550).

Findley, J. J. W. (1973) Of Tears and need: The Federal Music Project, 1935-1943. Ph.D. dissertation, The George Washington University, United States — District of Columbia. (Publication No. AAT 0289452).

Bindas, Kenneth J. (1988) All of this music belongs to the nation: The Federal Music Project of the WPA and American cultural nationalism, 1935-1939. Ph.D. dissertation, The University of Toledo, United States — Ohio. (Publication No. AAT 8909905).

Bindas, Kenneth J. (1995) All of This Music Belongs to the Nation: The Wpa’s Federal Music Project and American Society University of Tennessee Press:Knoxville

Craig H. Roell, “FEDERAL MUSIC PROJECT,” Handbook of Texas Online <<>>, accessed September 19, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.


SEE ALSO my posts about the WPA Federal Music Project:




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