Joseph Horowitz

Author, Teacher



Joseph Horowitz is an author, concert producer, and teacher. He is one of the most prominent and widely published writers on topics in American music. As an orchestral administrator and advisor, he has been a pioneering force in the development of thematic programming and new concert formats.

Horowitz’s most recent book, Dvorak’s Prophecy and the Vexed Fate of Black Classical Music (W. W. Norton), proposes a “new paradigm” for the history of American classical music. It was published in Fall 2021 in tandem with a series of documentary films he has produced for Naxos. In addition, Naxos concurrently released a new CD, “Arthur Farwell: America’s Forbidden Composer,” produced by Horowitz in alignment with his new book.

The film series, also titled “Dvorak’s Prophecy,” has generated an ongoing series of 50-minute “More than Music” National Public Radio documentaries, produced by Horowitz for the daily newsmagazine “1A.”

Horowitz’s ten previous books mainly deal with the history of classical music in the United States. Understanding Toscanini: How He Became an American Culture-God and Helped Create a New Audience for Old Music (1987) was named one of the year’s best books by the New York Book Critics Circle. Wagner Nights: An American History (1994) was named best-of-the-year by the Society of American Music. Both Classical Music in America: A History of Its Rise and Fall (2005) and Art- ists in Exile: How Refugees from Twentieth Century War and Revolution Transformed the American Performing Arts (2008) made The Economist’s year’s-best-books list.

Horowitz’s forthcoming books are The Propaganda of Freedom (a study of the Cultural Cold War), The Marriage (a novel about Gustav and Alma Mahler in New York), and Not Event Past: When the Arts Mattered.
Horowitz was a New York Times music critic (1976–80) before becoming executive director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra. During his 1990s tenure, the BPO was reconceived as a “humanities institution,” producing thematic, cross-disciplinary festivals in collaboration with schools and museums. In 2003, Horowitz cofounded Post Classical Ensemble, an experimental chamber orchestra based in Washington, D.C.; he served as Executive Director, then Executive Producer before leaving PCE in Fall 2022.

From 2011 to 2020 he directed Music Unwound, a National Endowment for the Humanities–funded national consortium of orchestras and universities dedicated to curating the American musical past (etc).