Orchestras: Revival at the Museum

New York was hardly a musical wasteland in 1842, when the city's Philharmonic Society gave its first public concert on Dec. 7. A large middle-class German population had brought cultivated tastes from abroad; the concert rooms and theaters were filled with touring opera companies on long visits, and there was an impressive roster of homegrown organizations. Indeed, two other Philharmonic societies had already come and gone. The first, founded in 1799, took part in George Washington's memorial services; it lasted until 1816; the second, put together in 1824, succumbed three years...

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