This is the story of the orchestra, from 16th-century string bands to the "classical" orchestra of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Spitzer and Zaslaw document orchestral organization, instrumentation, social roles, repertories, and performance practices in Europe and the American colonies, concluding around 1800 with the widespread awareness of the orchestra as a central institution in European life.
John Spitzer studied with Reuben Brower and Barrington Moore at Harvard, where he received his first degree. He studied musicology and ethnomusicology at Cornell University with William Austin, James Webster, Sotiros Chianis, and Bell Yung. He held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh (1983-84), then taught at the University of Michigan (1984-87). From 1987 to 2005 he taught at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. In 2004 he joined the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has published scholarly articles on the history of the orchestra, American song, authorship, and authenticity, as well as music reviews and articles in newspapers, magazines, dictionaries, and encyclopedias. Neal Zaslaw holds degrees from Harvard, The Juilliard School, and Columbia University. He is the author of more than 65 articles on baroque music, historical performance practices, Mozart, and the early history of the orchestra, as well as numerous books, including Mozart's Symphonies: Context, Performance Practice, Reception (Oxford, 1989), The Classical Era from the 1740s to the End of the 18th Century (Macmillan, 1989), and most recently, Mozart's Piano Concertos: Text, Context, Interpretation (University of Michigan Press, 1995). A member of the Akademie fur Mozart-Forschung of the Mozarteum and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Zaslaw has taught at Cornell University since 1970.