The series of biographical sketches published by Brainard's Musical World between 1877 and 1889 is notable for the diversity of the musicians profiled and for the entertaining personal information provided. This period witnessed the establishment of musical institutions and attitudes toward music that have shaped American music to the present day. The biographies present a cross-section of American musicians in the late 19th century, including singers, instrumentalists, writers, teachers, and composers. Among the musicians included are some of America's most prominent conductors, such as Theodore Thomas and Leopold Damrosch; composers, such as John Knowles Paine and George F. Root; writers, such as John S. Dwight and Amy Fay; teachers, such as William Mason and Erminia Rudersdorff; and performers, such as Emma Abbott and Maud Powell. Scores of less familiar musicians who were also instrumental in shaping America's music are included as well. Originally intended for general readers, the biographical sketches not only shed light on musical topics but also include personal information that is seldom found in a traditional dictionary and which speaks to the attitudes and concerns of the late 19th century society.
This work will be of value to scholars and researchers of 19th-century American music and to those interested in the development of popular song. Entries are alphabetically arranged and include select bibliographies. A general bibliography and index are also included.