Dr. Karl Muck, conductor

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Date: 1918

Region: North America

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Music


Artist: Dr. Karl Muck (1859 - 1940)

Confronting Bodies: United States Government

Dates of Action: March 26, 1918

Location: United States of America

Description of Artwork: A concert of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Providence, Rhode Island

The Incident: "...In November 1917, at a concert of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Providence, Rhode Island, the conductor ignored the joint request of nine women's clubs that the orchestra play "The Star Spangled Banner" either before or after the program..." (Censorship, Princeton 1991 pg. 195) This incident prompted a great deal of press coverage including a verbal response from President Theodore Roosevelt condemning his actions.

Results of Incident: "..By March 26, 1918, Dr. Muck had been placed in jail on the ground that his presence at large was a danger to the peace and safety of the country. He was arrested and held on a Presidential warrant after the Department of Justice had made an extensive investigation "of his record of pro-German sympathies and utterances." And May 1918 saw the former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in an internment camp at Fort Ogelthorpe, Georgia..." (Censorship, Princeton 1991 pg. 195) "...In June 1919, although Dr. Muck was still in the internment camp, plans were being made for his deportation. The next item about (Dr. Muck) appeared in March 1921. From the safe distance of The Hague in the Netherlands, Muck was able to relate his woes in the United States. He denied disloyal actions in America and was said to have stated "I was accused of espionage because I conducted German music and naturally associated with my German compatriots." (Censorship, Princeton 1991 pg. 195)

Source: Censorship, Princeton 1991 pg. 195