Plaza Bandstand - Closeup. View: Close-up of the bandstand in the Plaza showing the ornately detailed columns and roof. Photographer: Unidentified, probably C. D. Arnold. Source: Music at the Pan-American Exposition: Organists, Orchestras, Bands, 1901. Courtesy of Kerry S. Grant.
Music was a major component of the many offerings of the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, 1901. It encompassed orchestral, band, organ, choral, and ethnic music, as well as performances by noted vocalists and instrumentalists. Displays and demonstrations of instrument manufacturers were also part of the Exposition's musical offerings. The following statement in the Final Report of the Pan-American Exposition Company summarizes the quantity of band and orchestra music alone that was offered.
With the exception of but a few weeks three bands, or two bands and one orchestra, were in attendance and played twice each day during the Exposition. It will thus be seen that an average of six band or orchestra concerts were given each day and evening, or an approximate total number of one thousand such concerts were given during the period of the Exposition.
The great majority of the classical music performed by the bands and orchestras could be classified as either "light classics" or other classical works that had already been assimilated into the public's musical taste. Arrangements of operatic works can be found on programs of the bands (especially Wagner), orchestras, and organ recitalists. Among the programmed works are many by composers whose names are no longer readily familiar to us. In short, the musical programming was geared towards the popular taste and more adventuresome contemporary music was ignored. But the panoply of music provided by the different venues of the Exposition was nonetheless impressive.
The map below shows the grounds of the Pan-American Exposition with the bandstands and Temple of Music highlighted. These were the major venues for performance of concert music at the Exposition. Other venues of concert music included an occasional use of the Stadium and demonstrations of new musical instruments in the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building. The Midway too was always alive with music at such sites as Alt Nürnberg, Beautiful Orient, Hawaii, Streets of Mexico, Venice in America, African Village, and the Japanese Village.