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Larry Rothe tells the story of how the San Francisco Bay Area’s love of music, rooted in the Gold Rush, gave birth to an internationally acclaimed orchestra. This history of the San Francisco Symphony's first 100 years, filled with archival photos, offers a behind-the-scenes look at one of the world’s foremost orchestras and illuminates the cultural life of a city.

“Engrossing.”—Wall Street Journal

“Superb...a compendious tour through the past 100 years.”—San Francisco Chronicle


“Splendid...compelling.”—San Jose Mercury News

“Lovingly prepared and elegantly designed and produced, this volume...celebrates the orchestra's centennial in text and photos. The narrative is fun and engaging.”—Book News

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Larry Rothe and Michael Steinberg explore music’s allure through stories from their lifetime of listening. You'll meet the man who created the sound of Hollywood's Golden Age, discover why Richard Strauss thought of himself as a second-class composer (of the first rank), and learn how composers have addressed issues such as AIDS and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.


“A surprisingly powerful as well as pleasurable read…an important book.”—Gramophone


"A fabulous work. As an avid listener of classical music for 50 years, it was splendid indeed to have so many doors to the world of musical genius opened for me.”—Jim Harrison, author of

Legends of the Fall


“A delightful book—witty, fervent, and wide-ranging.”—Richard Goode, pianist

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The American maverick composers of the 20th century crossed boundaries and broke molds, determined to align the concert hall with contemporary society, reflecting its diversity, disorder, energy, and possibilities. Filled with a wealth of primary material and commentary from performers, and including a CD, this book introduces you to Charles Ives,

Ruth Crawford Seeger, Duke Ellington, John Cage, Frank Zappa, and many more.

“A smart, engaging text for the general reader.”—Booklist


“Full of great illustrations and short, pithy takes on our homegrown mavericks.”—San Francisco Examiner

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