Joan Peyser offers a history of twentieth century music through the lives and works of its greatest composers in To Boulez and Beyond. Peyser provides historical context and suggests psychological insight for these masters, including Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern of the Second Viennese School; their immediate ancestors Wagner and Mahler; Rimsky-Korsakov and his pupil Stravinsky; and Hindemith, Bartok, Cowell, and Varese. Discussing proponents of serialism and twelve-tone technique, as well as those who worked against these styles, the book also considers Berio, Stockhausen, Shostakovich, Babbitt, Copland, Wuorinen, and Cage, among others, describing how and why music moved throughout the 20th century. The largest section of the book is devoted to the life and works of Pierre Boulez. A new preface and a bibliography help to round out this revised and updated edition.
Joan Peyser wrote regularly for the Arts & Leisure section of the Sunday New York Times from the late 1960s to the early 1980s and is the author of several books, including The Orchestra: Origins and Transformations; Bernstein: A Biography; The Memory of All That: The Life of George Gershwin; and Twentieth Century Music: The Sense Behind the Sound.