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Music Unwrapped

“Joe Horowitz's DVORAK AND AMERICA production was the hit of our Buffalo season. Many concertgoers told us that it was their favorite concert of the year, and found it illuminating, surprising and deeply moving. What was truly astonishing was the fact that many said that the New World symphony was completely changed for them -- revealed as a work with deep literary roots and steeped in Dvorak's empathy for the cultural world of African Americans and Native Americans. The composer himself emerged not only as a consummate artist but as a great humanitarian and visionary.”

– JoAnn Falletta, Music Director, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

MUSIC UNWRAPPED is a new iteration of “Music Unwound,” a national consortium of orchestras, festivals, and schools that’s been funded four times by the National Endowment of the Humanities.
The director is Joseph Horowitz and Peter Bogdanoff is the participating video artist. 

 The many Music Unwound consortium members have included the Brevard Music Festival, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Las Vegas Philharmonic, the North Carolina Symphony, and the Pacific Symphony, and countless others.

Topics in American music are used to link orchestras to schools and communities. These include:

Dvorak and America

Copland and Mexico

Charles Ives’ America 

Kurt Weill’s America

“The Souls of Black Folk” and Black Classical Music [featuring music by William Dawson and Florence Price]

New World Encounters [the impact of jazz abroad]

[Whatever you may want]


Pertinent scripts and video materials are available for rent.

Music Unwrapped festivals typically include a symphonic program with a script and visual track plus extensive ancillary activity. The programs are adaptable according to venue.
Topics are chosen with regard to impact and outreach. The Dvorak program links to African-American and Native American audiences. The Copland/Mexico program links to Hispanic audiences. The Weill programs links to the theme of immigration. The Ives program stresses the  relationship to Emerson  Thoreau, and the Civil War.
The DVORAK program (produced some two dozen times by orchestras ranging from the New York Philharmonic to the Reading (Pa.) Symphony) keys on the New World Symphony.

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Here is how Music Unwrapped explores the relationship between “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and the symphony’s first movement.

From the New World Visual Presentation

The full “visual presentation” for the Largo and Scherzo may be seen here.


This clip combines the bi-lingual audio track from the South Dakota Symphony COPLAND AND MEXICO concert (2017) with the visual track (including supertitles) the audience watched on a screen above the orchestra. More...

The Death of Minnehaha

We equally explore the symphony’s close relationship to Longfellow’s The Song of Hiawatha. Here is how the Death of Minnehaha infiltrates the famous Largo.

Dvorak In America Sample

A sample of the New York Philharmonic’s “Dvorak and America” presentation (hosted by Alec Baldwin).

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