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New Deal Exhibit: Federal Music Project

An Online Catalog for the Exhibit at Brooklyn College

The Federal Music Project

Similar to the other WPA art programs, the goal of the Federal Music Project (FMP) was to provide work for professional musicians: instrumentalists, singers, performers, and music teachers.

The conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, Nikolai Sokoloff, led the FMP from 1935-1938. In this short time, thirty-four symphony orchestras were established across the country that gave musicians, music teachers, and even Federal Art Project artists jobs creating posters for the concerts. The

FMP endorsed both classical and popular music, taught music appreciation, and provided low cost entertainment for the general public. A large division of the WPA art programs, the FMP employed circa 16,000 musicians by 1936.

Listen to the WPA

WPA NY Civic Orchestra Album, 1939

Listen to an excerpt of the 1939 New York Civic Orchestra performing Tchaikovsky's "Elegy" from Serenade for Strings. Courtesy of WNYC Archives.

Federal Music Project Gallery

Free Band Concerts at the Brooklyn Museum

Federal Music Project WPA Poster Collection Courtesy of the Library of Congres

WPA: Songs and Music Everybody Should Know

Poster for a Federal Music Project series of programs on songs and piano music at the Prospect Plaza Community Centre, 912 Union Street, Brooklyn, New York. Physical description: 1 print (poster) : silkscreen, color. between 1936 and 1941

Bridgeport Symphony Orchestra Federal Music Project Poster

WPA poster, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.