Reconsidering Repertoire: The Second New England School and the Performance Possibilities for High
The purpose of this study was to determine the historical, musical, and pedagogical nature of the music of the Second New England School and its potential performance possibilities for high school orchestras. As high school orchestra educators have traditionally ignored the compositions of early American composers in favor of the European canon of the Classic and Romantic periods, there is a need for a resource that promotes this important (albeit forgotten) historical period in American music. As more than a mere historical examination and repertoire list, this thesis uncovers the musical, historical, and pedagogical reasons that much of the music of the Second New England School is worth considering by high school orchestra educators.
This study is comprised of the following areas: The process of selecting appropriate repertoire for high school orchestras; evaluating the historical, musical, and pedagogical nature of the European Canon; evaluating the historical, musical, and pedagogical nature of the Second New England School; and a summative narrative on performing select works of the Second New England School with high school students. Historical and theoretical research and data were collected from both primary and secondary sources. Published primary sources include books and journal articles. Unpublished primary sources include graduate level term papers, conference presentations, and student surveys. Published secondary sources include books, journal articles, and doctoral dissertations.
Results of this study show that select works of the Second New England School are comparable in musical, historical, and pedagogical breadth to works of the European canon. Moreover, this study also shows that certain “distinctive elements” can only be accessed through the performance of the literature of the Second New England School. These findings aim to promote the music of the Second New England School and encourage high school orchestra educators to include more adventurous, diverse, and historically significant repertoire in their programming.