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The greatest virtuoso career in history - that of Franz Liszt - has been told in countless biographies. But what does that career look like when viewed from the perspective of European cultural history? In this study Dana Gooley examines the world of discussion, journalism, and controversy that surrounded the virtuoso Liszt, and reconstructs the multiple symbolic identities that he fulfilled for his enthusiastic audiences. Gooley's work is based on extensive research into contemporary periodicals - well-known and obscure journals and newspapers - as well as letters, memoirs, receipts and other documents that shed light on Liszt's concertising activities. Emphasising the virtuoso's contradictions, the author shows Liszt being constructed as a model aristocrat and a model bourgeois, as a German nationalist and a Hungarian nationalist, as a sensitive romantic artist and a military dictator, as a greedy entrepreneur and as a leading force for humanitarian charity.
Dana Gooley is Assistant Professor of Music at the Case Western Reserve University, Ohio. He has presented numerous papers on virtuosity and on issues of gender and music, and has published in the journals 19th Century Music and the Journal of the American Liszt Society. Dana Gooley is also an accomplished pianist who plays in jazz clubs and concerts halls around the world.