Quietly, in places ranging from convents to conservatories to farms, extraordinary women have written innovative music without the benefit of fame. Historical archives hint at the challenges they have faced. Critics called composer Ethel Smyth a “little woman” with “utterly unfeminine” works, and Florence Price echoed the concerns of other minority women when she penned in a famous letter: “To begin with I have two handicaps – those of sex and race.”
Nothing rouses the spirit like a march, and few bands can capture the patriotic fervor of an American march like the United States Marine Band. Affectionately known as “The President’s Own,” the Marine Band was founded in 1798 by an Act of Congress signed by President John Adams and is the longest performing musical organization in the nation. For over 200 years, the Marine Band has been led by legendary American musicians like John Philip Sousa. One of these renowned directors, Colonel John Bourgeois (Ret.), sat down with Pepper to discuss his time with the Marine Band and how its work has impacted American culture both at home and in the eyes of the world.
The harpsichord holds an important place in music history. Its unique sound is instantly recognizable, flavoring the works of countless composers from the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical periods. The historic harpsichord at Mount Vernon is of special interest to John Watson, Curator Emeritus of Musical Instruments for Colonial Williamsburg. It’s an instrument modern ears have had no way to hear… until now.
Great music tells a great story. Be it the story of a moment, the story of a feeling, or the story of a generation, music delivers the message in ways that mere words cannot. The ability to print sheet music spread these stories to people around the world. One of the earliest purveyors of printed music was the company C.F. Peters; in fact, the company was so closely linked to the spread of sheet music that the story of C.F. Peters is, truly, the story of printed music.
Throughout the year, Pepper has been celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first jazz recording by sharing interviews with modern jazz legends, descriptions of historic sites, and a blog series about the impact of jazz on our national history. If you haven’t yet, please check out the excellent resources we have shared so far.
Among the great 20th century composers, Leonard Bernstein stands out as having impacted perhaps the widest range of musical styles. His works can be heard in concert halls, musical theater venues, on the silver screen, and in places of worship.
Throughout 2017, Pepper has joined the musical world in celebrating 100 years of recorded jazz. An integral part of our national history, jazz music is ingrained in the American DNA, leaving its mark on our culture in a way that few other art forms ever have.
The year 1917 was monumental in jazz history, but not just because it was the year of the first official jazz recording. Some of the most famous names in jazz were born that same year. These musicians would stand on the shoulders of their predecessors, helping to make jazz the most significant American cultural movement of the century. To celebrate their centennials, Pepper is featuring a few of the most iconic songs from these jazz legends.
Jazz is widely considered the first purely American musical art form, and with good reason. Nothing epitomizes the nature of our nation quite as well. Jazz is a mixture of the many cultures that resided in the United States at the turn of the 20th century.
In the simplest sense, buildings are just four walls and a roof meant to house people and objects. It is what you put inside that makes all the difference. Over time, J.W. Pepper & Son has moved in and out of many different buildings, depending on the needs of the company and its customers. No matter where Pepper employees are found, though, our dedication to service has always remained constant wherever we called home.