Interested in the history of the phrase "Will it play in Peoria"?

Read the article in Wikipedia.


Welcome to the companion web site for From Paris to Peoria: How European Piano Virtuosos Brought Classical Music to the American Heartland by R. Allen Lott. This book traces the tours of five European pianists in mid-nineteenth-century America: Leopold de Meyer, Henri Herz, Sigismund Thalberg, Anton Rubinstein, and Hans von Bülow. Their itinerary, management, repertoire, performance style, and reception are examined along with the changing attitudes toward music of the period.

This site offers additional material and documentation than was possible to include in the book as well as features such as audio music examples and complete pieces of sheet music that are ideally suited to the web. The site is a work in progress, so check back occasionally to see what has been added.

This home page explains some of the features you'll find here.

You might begin by reading the Preface from the book that explains its coverage, aims, and attitudes.

"a vivid, buoyantly entertaining and often genuinely dramatic narrative" (Jonathan Keates in The Times Literary Supplement, February 20, 2004)

" . . . grateful scholars of the New World appropriation of Old World music will profit -- immeasurably -- from Lott's industry and discernment." (Joseph Horowitz in Los Angeles Times Book Review, August 31, 2003)

More Reviews


Excerpts from concert reviews for each pianist give a glimpse into their technique and performance style. Additional anecdotal material, mostly of a lighter character, is also included here.

Here you'll find information on the almost 1,000 concerts given in more than 100 cities in the United States and Canada by these five pianists. The book provides dates and cities for each concert; the web site also provides venues, names of important assisting artists, and the source of information for each concert.

The American repertoires of Leopold de Meyer, Henri Herz, and Sigismund Thalberg are provided here. For Anton Rubinstein and Hans von Bülow, whose repertoires are included in the book, the web site lists the contents of selected programs.

Audio Examples

These pages reproduce the musical examples from the book following its numbering system and include audio MP3 files. By clicking the audio link, your computer's default audio player should automatically play the files.

The examples are performed by Hana Park, a 2003 D.M.A. graduate of the School of Church Music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and by the author.

Complete pieces of music are available in a Finale format that allows easy printing and listening. Several pieces are currently available; several more will be posted in the near future. The Links page will navigate you to several sites that provide scanned images of original sheet music.

Other People
Information on other performers associated with these pianists is provided here. More people will be added in the near future.


Several lengthy satirical articles appear here that spoof virtuoso pianists, traveling artists in general, the people who managed them, and the people who heard them. Don't miss the classic "Jud Brownin's Account of Rubinstein's Playing" and my personal favorite, "Audiences—The Sleepers."

Clicking the Next button on the bottom of each page will take you to every page in the site in sequence (with the exception of the scores).



Copyright 2003 - R. Allen Lott - All Rights Reserved

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