Invented Primary Sources

Over the course of the 2015-2016 fall semester, students in Music 345, “Paris in the 1920s” were asked to write a series of short essays in which they would invent primary sources providing valuable information about people, institutions, and events important to musical life in 1920s Paris. Ideally, the essays would be more than mere reports: they would make arguments about the significance, meaning, or impact of their subjects in the context of the debates and trends that characterized French musical life at the time. Their essays would take the form of typical primary source documents like letters, memoranda, newspaper articles, and concert reviews. (To see the assignment prompt in full, click here.)

Below you can peruse a selection of their short essays, many of which help contextualize other material on this website.

Musical Figures

George Antheil

Carina Ari

Georges Auric

Jane Bathori

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker

Nadia Boulanger (private)


Coco Chanel

Claire Croiza (private)

Jane Evrard

Marya Freund

Serge Koussevitzky

Wanda Landowska (private)

Marguerite Long

Marcelle Meyer

Darius Milhaud

Bronislava Nijinska

Francis Poulenc

Ida Rubinstein

Winaretta Singer, Princesse Edmond de Polignac

Germaine Tailleferre

Virgil Thomson

Louis Vierne

Institutions and Performing Groups

Le Boeuf sur le Toit

Concerts Lamoureux

Moulin Rouge

Casino de Paris


Concerts Colonne

Schola Cantorum

Ballets Russes (private)

Ballets Suédois



Orchestra Pasdeloup

Salle Erard (private)

Société des Concerts du Conservatoire

Société Musicale Indépendante

Société Nationale de Musique

Le Bal Nègre

Théâtre de la Cigale

Théâtre des Champs-Elysées

Théâtre du Vieux-Columbier

Reviews of Paris Premieres

Honegger’s Pacific 231

Honegger’s Le Roi David

Poulenc’s Sonata for Clarinet and Bassoon

Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments

Ravel’s Chansons madécasses

De Falla’s El Retablo de Maese Pedro

Milhaud’s Le Train bleu

Ravel’s La Valse

Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Piano

Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps (first revival)

Debussy’s La Boîte à joujoux

Tailleferre’s Concerto for Piano

Stravinsky’s Symphonies à vent (private)

Satie’s Mercure

Stravinsky’s Pulcinella

Auric’s Pastorale

Poulenc’s Le Bal masqué

Ravel’s Tzigane

Auric, Honegger, Milhaud, Poulenc, Tailleferre – Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel

Poulenc’s Le Bestiaire

Copland’s Music for the Theatre