Los Angeles Federal
Music Project presents “The chocolate soldier” CA FAP
The Federal Music Project was established in 1935 with Dr. Nikolai Sokoloff , formerly conductor of the Cleveland
Orchestra (1919-1933) as the director. He appointed a staff of five
Regional Directors, twenty three State Directors, and five administrative
staff. In 1939, the FMP transitioned to the Works
Music Program which eventually was phased out in WWII
The goal of the Music Project was to both help musicians become
self-supporting by providing educational opportunities to improve and
opportunities to perform as well as educate the public in appreciation of music
through education and opportunity. This was achieved by providing:
§Free or low cost concerts to promote music.
§Lessons for adults who were underprivileged.
§Musical education for children. Most
schools established their own music programs with help from the FMP.
§A Composers Forum Laboratory.
§Music Festivals throughout the country.
§34 new orchestras. Among those
established were five in California: Los Angeles Federal #1 and #2;
Federal Symphony of Northern California (San Francisco); San Bernardino
Federal; and San Diego Federal
§support for singers, dancers, vocal groups,
and vocal producers.
Additionally, employees of the FMP researched American
traditional music and folk songs, a practice now called ethnomusicology. Among the resuts were studies on cowboy,
creole, and negro music.
The Baton was published
monthly in Los Angeles by the FMP detailing project activities and productions
throughout California. It is available on Internet Archives as part of the San Francisco Public
Library Americana Collection. Also available on Internet Archives is
Reminiscences of an American musicologist oral
history transcript : Charles Seeger (1972). Charles Seeger was the assistant
director of the FMP. His interest in musical culture were behind the
research of American Music. You might also find publications for other
states FMPs online or in state and local repositories.
Library of Congress online collections include posters created for music productions. Most of
the LOC collection of recorded U.S. Work Projects Administration Federal Music
Project collection materials are not available online. They may be
accessed in the Performing Arts Reading Room of the Library’s Music
Division. One exception is for the California Music Project which is a
part of American Memory.
TheCalifornia Gold: Northern California Folk
Music from the Thirties online collection includes 35 hours of
recordings by 185 musicians this collection ” …was organized and directed by
folk music collector Sidney Robertson Cowell for the Northern California Work
Projects Administration. Sponsored by the University of California, Berkeley,
and cosponsored by the Archive of American Folk Song (now the Archive of Folk
Culture, American Folklife Center), this undertaking was one of the earliest
ethnographic field projects to document European, Slavic, Middle Eastern, and
English- and Spanish-language folk music in one region of the United States.”
(1) Digital offerings include not only the sound recordings, but also
photographs, drawings, research materials and more. There is a wonderful
collection of Portuguese materials.
NARA holdings include: Narrative
reports of state activities, 1935-40. Reports relating to education, 1936-40;
employment, 1936-40; performance and attendance, 1936-40; and American
composers, 1936-38. Records relating to folk music, 1936-40; the Composers
Forum Laboratory, 1935-40; music festivals, 1935-40; and music research,
1935-36, including cowboy, Creole, and Negro folk music. Programs and
schedules, 1936-40. Press clippings, 1936-40. Subject file of correspondence,
reports, and press releases, 1936-40. Records relating to Nikolai Sokoloff,
director, FMP, 1935-39, and Harry L. Hewes, project supervisor, 1936-40.
Scrapbooks relating to the FMP activities in New York City, 1936-41.