Paper $30.00 ISBN: 9780226640235 Published August 2019
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Composing Capital

Classical Music in the Neoliberal Era

Marianna Ritchey

Composing Capital

Marianna Ritchey

224 pages | 3 musical examples | 6 x 9 | © 2019
Paper $30.00 ISBN: 9780226640235 Published August 2019
Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9780226640068 Published August 2019
E-book $10.00 to $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226640372 Published August 2019

The familiar old world of classical music, with its wealthy donors and ornate concert halls, is changing. The patronage of a wealthy few is being replaced by that of corporations, leading to new unions of classical music and contemporary capitalism. In Composing Capital, Marianna Ritchey lays bare the appropriation of classical music by the current neoliberal regime, arguing that artists, critics, and institutions have aligned themselves—and, by extension, classical music itself—with free-market ideology. More specifically, she demonstrates how classical music has lent its cachet to marketing schemes, tech firm-sponsored performances, and global corporate partnerships. As Ritchey shows, the neoliberalization of classical music has put music at the service of contemporary capitalism, blurring the line between creativity and entrepreneurship, and challenging us to imagine how a noncommodified musical practice might be possible in today’s world.

Introduction: Music and Neoliberalism
ONE Innovating Classical Music
TWO “Indie” Individualism
THREE Opera and/as Gentrification
FOUR Intel Beethoven: The New Spirit of Classical Music
Conclusion: Music against Capitalism

Review Quotes
Anne C. Shreffler, Harvard University
"Composing Capital opens our eyes and ears to the unholy dance between classical music and the neoliberal economic values that underpin American political culture. In a theoretically sophisticated and hard-hitting critique, Ritchey shows how new music has unwittingly adopted capitalism's 'rhetorical benevolence,' embracing flexibility, entrepreneurship, and disruption as positive values rather than recognizing them as destabilizing and exploitative forces. Meanwhile, giant tech conglomerates enlist Beethoven to lend their products positive associations like freedom and individuality and to provide a simulacrum of historical depth in a radically anti-historical business culture. This is an important book, and it comes at just the right time."
Sumanth Gopinath, University of Minnesota, author of "The Ringtone Dialectic: Economy and Cultural Form"
“There is something not only despicable and insidious but also tragic and misguided about the ways in which composers, compositional scenes and collectives, performing companies, and advertising/production composers/arrangers and sound designers have actively reproduced ideologies of competition, entrepreneurship, individualism, and marketization. A bracing tonic to read, and filled with energetic prose and critical enthusiasm, as well as remarkably clear expositions of ideas that elsewhere have been made unnecessarily complicated and unclear, Composing Capital is both a polemic and a pensive meditation on the present state of things. This is an inspiring and powerful book.”
James R. Currie, State University of New York at Buffalo, author of "Music and the Politics of Negation"
“An extraordinarily important book. The time is ripe for this kind of statement about the relationships between neoliberalism and contemporary classical music practice, discourse, and economic circulation; and, moreover, for such a book to be penned by the hand of a musicologist. Indeed, it is pressing. There is simply no denying the political relevance of musicology’s thinking-through of its imbrications with neoliberal logistics; the drive toward conceptual ossification of its fundamentals must, at all costs, be stalled. Composing Capital will be a significant means by which this might be done.”
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