Praise Everlasting, Rest Eternal

Ken Myers

In 1885, Mrs. Jeannette Meyers Thurber—a New York socialite and wife of a prosperous grocery wholesaler—founded in Manhattan the National Conservatory of Music of America. In her student years, Mrs. Thurber had studied at the Paris Conservatory and came to appreciate the importance of the role of the arts in nurturing national identity. The American Founders, however, and several generations of their practically minded heirs, were significantly less confident about encouraging the pursuit of beauty than their Old World predecessors had been. “Democratic nations,” observed Alexis de Tocqueville, “cultivate the arts which serve to render life easy, in preference to those whose object is to adorn it. They will habitually prefer the useful to the beautiful, and they will require that the beautiful should be useful.”

The daughter of an immigrant violinist from Copenhagen, Jeannette Thurber found this negligence disturbing. She lamented that “America has, so far, done nothing in a National way either to promote the musical education of its people or to develop any musical genius they possess, and that in this, she stands alone among the civilized nations of the world.” Several other philanthropists helped her launch the conservatory, which benefited from the leadership of its first director, the famous baritone Jacques Bouhy, a product of the conservatories of Liège and Paris. When he returned to Europe in 1889, Mrs. Thurber began a quest for a new director, and finally persuaded Antonin Dvořák—after relentless badgering via letters, telegrams, and personal emissaries—to come to America.


Ken Myers is the host and producer of the Mars Hill Audio Journal. Formerly an arts editor with National Public Radio, he also served as editor of Eternity, the Evangelical monthly magazine, and This World, the quarterly predecessor to First Things. He also serves as music director at All Saints Anglican Church in Ivy, Virginia. He is a contributing editor for Touchstone.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!


Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

more on Music from the online archives

33.3—May/June 2020

Consolation in Death

Bach's Cantata BWV 106, Gottes Zeit ist die allerbesteZeit (God's time is the very best time) by Ken Myers

more from the online archives

33.4—July/August 2020

No Option

Clear Out the Rubble & Rebuild! by Anthony Esolen

14.2—March 2001

The God of Princes

on the Political Use of Religion by Wilfred M. McClay

31.5—September/October 2018

Pastoral Realism

on the Congregation as a Wilderness by Paul Gregory Alms

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone