Maynard Solomon
Maynard Solomon has carried out a multiple career: he was a co-founder of Vanguard Records
Vanguard Records
Vanguard Records is a record label set up in 1950 by brothers Maynard and Seymour Solomon in New York. It started as a classical label, but is perhaps best known for its catalogue of recordings by a number of pivotal folk and blues artists from the 1960s; the Bach Guild was a subsidiary...

 as well as a music producer, and later became a writer on music.

Career in the recording industry

Maynard Solomon founded Vanguard Records together with his brother Seymour Solomon in 1950. The label was one of the prime movers in the folk and blues boom for the next fifteen years. As well as producing many albums, he was a prolific writer of liner notes
Liner notes
Liner notes are the writings found in booklets which come inserted into the compact disc jewel case or the equivalent packaging for vinyl records and cassettes.-Origin:...


Vanguard's first signing was The Weavers
The Weavers
The Weavers were an American folk music quartet based in the Greenwich Village area of New York City. They sang traditional folk songs from around the world, as well as blues, gospel music, children's songs, labor songs, and American ballads, and selling millions of records at the height of their...

. They generated the first major commercial success for the label with The Weavers' 1955 concert at Carnegie Hall. Solomon also acquired the rights to record and release material from the Newport Folk Festival
Newport Folk Festival
The Newport Folk Festival is an American annual folk-oriented music festival in Newport, Rhode Island, which began in 1959 as a counterpart to the previously established Newport Jazz Festival...

, which meant he could issue recordings by artists who were not actually signed with Vanguard. For this period Elektra
Elektra Records
Elektra Records is an American record label owned by Warner Music Group. In 2004, it was consolidated into WMG's Atlantic Records Group. After five years of dormancy, the label was revived by Atlantic in 2009....

 was the main competitor for folk artists. Their singers Phil Ochs and Judy Collins were recorded at Newport, as was Bob Dylan from the Columbia label.

Solomon insisted on a clean appearance on stage, and clear diction, a view that reflected a large segment of public opinion at the time. More bravely, Solomon's label signed Paul Robeson
Paul Robeson
Paul Leroy Robeson was an American concert singer , recording artist, actor, athlete, scholar who was an advocate for the Civil Rights Movement in the first half of the twentieth century...

 at the height of the McCarthy era.

In 1960 he signed Joan Baez
Joan Baez
Joan Chandos Baez is an American folk singer, songwriter, musician and a prominent activist in the fields of human rights, peace and environmental justice....

. In 1962 the label recorded Odetta at Town Hall
Odetta At Town Hall
Odetta at Town Hall is a live album by American folk singer Odetta, recorded at Town Hall, New York, NY, on April 5, 1963 and first released later that year....

, New York, one of Odetta
Odetta Holmes, known as Odetta, was an American singer, actress, guitarist, songwriter, and a human rights activist, often referred to as "The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement". Her musical repertoire consisted largely of American folk music, blues, jazz, and spirituals...

's best albums. The Rooftop Singers
The Rooftop Singers
The Rooftop Singers were an American progressive folk-singing trio in the early 1960s, best known for the hit "Walk Right In". The group was composed of Erik Darling and Bill Svanoe with former jazz singer Lynne Taylor ....

 recorded "Walk Right In
Walk Right In
Walk Right In is the title of a country blues song written by musician Gus Cannon and originally recorded by Cannon's Jug Stompers in 1929, released on Victor Records, catalogue 38611. It was reissued on album in 1959 as a track on The Country Blues....

" in 1963, a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Solomon produced it as well as other songs by the band. Unfortunately their next single "Tom Cat" was banned for being slightly suggestive, though it is tame by modern standards. It was probably the influence of Solomon that induced Joan Baez to record "Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5
Bachianas Brasileiras
The Bachianas Brasileiras constitute a series of nine suites by the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, written for various combinations of instruments and voices between 1930 and 1945...

" by Villa-Lobos
Heitor Villa-Lobos
Heitor Villa-Lobos was a Brazilian composer, described as "the single most significant creative figure in 20th-century Brazilian art music". Villa-Lobos has become the best-known and most significant Latin American composer to date. He wrote numerous orchestral, chamber, instrumental and vocal works...


Solomon's belief in Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 was a driving force in these early years, but it wasn't until 1973 that his writings explicitly reflected this. His 1973 book Marxism and Art is one of the books on Marxism from this period that has been continuously in print.

In the late 60's Vanguard had some success with rock artists, most notably "Country Joe and the Fish" (today usually called Country Joe McDonald
Country Joe McDonald
Country Joe McDonald is an American musician who was the lead singer of the 1960s psychedelic rock group Country Joe and the Fish.-Personal life:...

). There were also some recordings of jazz, blues and disco that have not stood the test of time. One of the most surprising signings that he made in 1969 was Michael Szajkowski, an electronic composer. The material was borrowed from Handel, but the sound, on a synthesiser, was far from classical. His brother Seymour, however, had previously signed humorous electronic music artists Jean-Jacques Perrey
Jean-Jacques Perrey
Jean-Jacques Perrey is a French electronic music producer and was an early pioneer in the genre. He is best known within the sphere of popular music as a member of the influential electronic music duo Perrey and Kingsley, and for his unusually light-hearted style of music.-Biography:Perrey was...

 and Gershon Kingsley
Gershon Kingsley
Gershon Kingsley a contemporary German American composer, is well known as a pioneer of electronic music and the Moog synthesizer and founder of the First Moog Quartet, as a partner in the famous electronic music duo Perrey and Kingsley, and for his rock-inspired compositions for Jewish religious...

 in 1965 (Perrey and Kingsley
Perrey and Kingsley
The musical duo Perrey and Kingsley are pioneers in the field of electronic music. Before their collaboration, starting in 1965, electronic music was considered to be purely avant-garde...

). The team's work, proved to stand the test of time, and their Vanguard music is still used on commercials, on children's television, among a couple of examples. He continued to work with folk artists up to the 1980s but then moved towards classical music.

As musicologist

Solomon later embarked on a second career as a musicologist, notably as author of composer biographies, and his work (particularly his studies of Mozart and Beethoven) has met with some critical acclaim.

Characteristic of Solomon's approach is a careful sifting of the scholarly evidence, often with the goal of supporting new hypotheses about the events or motivations of the great composers and the people they knew (for instances cited in this encyclopedia, see Maria Anna Mozart
Maria Anna Mozart
Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia Mozart , nicknamed "Nannerl", was a musician, the older sister of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and daughter of Leopold and Anna Maria Mozart.-Childhood:...

, Mozart's Berlin journey
Mozart's Berlin journey
One of the longest adulthood journeys of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a visit, beginning in Spring 1789, to a series of cities lying northward of his adopted home in Vienna: Prague, Leipzig, Dresden, and Berlin.-Departure:...

, Mozart's name
Mozart's name
The composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart went by many different names in his lifetime. This resulted partly from the church traditions of the day, and partly from the fact that Mozart was multilingual and freely adapted his name to other languages.-Baptismal record:...

, and Antonie Brentano
Antonie Brentano
The Immortal Beloved is the mysterious addressee of a love letter which composer Ludwig van Beethoven wrote on 6–7 July 1812 in Teplitz...

). A great deal of effort seems to reside in the attempts to compare and contrast certain ideas that need to be analyzed. Solomon is also careful to avoid uncritical repetition of old formulae in composer biographies; for example, like other recent biographers, he suggests that the final year 1791 of Mozart's life was one of personal revival, cut off by illness, rather than the steady slide into the grave that characterizes the traditional account. Most boldly, Solomon has not hesitated to offer specific psychological analyses and diagnoses of his subjects. He has, however, been criticized for anachronistic assumptions and a lack of understanding of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century German.

Solomon became, in 1997, a member of the International Musicology Society, and addressed its congress in London. He is the author most recently of Mozart: A Life, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

 in Biography, which won the Deems Taylor Award, as did his biography of Beethoven, and his study of Charles Ives
Charles Ives
Charles Edward Ives was an American modernist composer. He is one of the first American composers of international renown, though Ives' music was largely ignored during his life, and many of his works went unperformed for many years. Over time, Ives came to be regarded as an "American Original"...

. His Beethoven Essays won the Otto Kinkeldey Award for the most distinguished book on music published in 1988.

An associate editor of American Imago
American Imago
American Imago is an academic journal established in 1939 by Sigmund Freud and Hanns Sachs. It seeks to explore the role of psychoanalysis in contemporary cultural, literary, and social theory, while also considering issues related to anthropology, philosophy, politics, history, art history,...

, and co-founder of the Bach Guild, he has also published articles in applied psychoanalysis and has edited several books on aesthetics. His current projects include a life of Schubert
Franz Schubert
Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer.Although he died at an early age, Schubert was tremendously prolific. He wrote some 600 Lieder, nine symphonies , liturgical music, operas, some incidental music, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music...

 and a book tentatively titled Beethoven: Beyond Classicism. He has held visiting professorships at Yale
RapidMiner, formerly YALE , is an environment for machine learning, data mining, text mining, predictive analytics, and business analytics. It is used for research, education, training, rapid prototyping, application development, and industrial applications...

, Harvard, and Columbia
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, and is currently on the graduate faculty of the Juilliard School
Juilliard School
The Juilliard School, located at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, United States, is a performing arts conservatory which was established in 1905...


Selected discography of records produced by Maynard Solomon

  • - "Best of the Vanguard Years" (2000) (The Clancy Brothers)
  • - "Best of the Vanguard Years" (2000) (Tom Paxton
    Tom Paxton
    Thomas Richard Paxton is an American folk singer and singer-songwriter who has been writing, performing and recording music for over forty years...

  • - "Best of the Vanguard Years" (1998) (Ian and Sylvia)
  • - "Best of the Vanguard Years" (2004) (The Rooftop Singers)
  • - "Best of the Vanguard Years" (2003) (Buffy Sainte-Marie
    Buffy Sainte-Marie
    Buffy Sainte-Marie, OC is a Canadian Cree singer-songwriter, musician, composer, visual artist, educator, pacifist, and social activist. Throughout her career in all of these areas, her work has focused on issues of Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Her singing and writing repertoire includes...

  • - "Best of the John Hammond" (1989) (John Hammond)
  • - "Best of the Eric Anderson" (1970) (Eric Anderson)
  • - "Vanguard Sessions: Baez Sings Dylan" (1998) (Joan Baez)
  • - "Reunion at Carnegia Hall, 1963, Pt 1" (2001) (The Weavers)
  • - "Reunion at Carnegia Hall, 1963, Pt 2" (2001) (The Weavers)

External links

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