Carmel Impresarios

Carmel-by-the-Sea on the California Coast was an artistic hot spot of the West in 1921 when two women paid a visit and decided to stay. They were in their mid-thirties, they had just met, and they intended to spend the rest of their lives living and working together. This book is a cultural biography of their personal and professional partnership.

Best selling author Riane Eisler calls Carmel Impresarios "A real gift!"

Dene and Hazel

From the 1920s to the 1950s Dene Denny and Hazel Watrous worked together to bring art, music and beauty to their world. Against all odds, and through the darkest years of the Great Depression, they founded the Carmel Music Society and the Carmel Bach Festival; created a civic orchestra; founded and ran an unusual repertory theater in Monterey; and produced a major concert series in San José. They even designed three dozen of Carmel's distinctive early houses and its first art gallery and helped to establish the unique cultural style of Carmel cottages.

Dene and Hazel were visionary artistic innovators who used the arts to bring people together in harmony, but their full story has never been documented. Carmel Impresarios presents their life stories within a broad context of their pioneer parents, their very different childhoods, their first meeting in San Francisco, and how they joined their lives together and became an inspirational duo in art, music and theater.

This 400-page volume includes nearly 300 vintage photos and illustrations. It places the lives and work of its two colorful subjects within the context of the artistic, intellectual, and cultural currents of early 20th century California, and sheds new light on Carmel's musical and theatrical history.

"Carmel Impresarios is a wonderful, long-overdue biography of two amazing pioneers in music, architecture, design, and the arts who, as often happened with women, were 'disappeared' from earlier accounts. Written with zest and love, this book is a major contribution. David Gordon has given us a real gift!"

—  Riane Eisler

Best-selling author of The Chalice & the Blade;
The Real Wealth of Nations; and Nurturing Our Humanity.

View two videos of David talking about the creation of the Carmel Bach Festival


Book Cover
  • 11camap
  • 8-denny-store
  • 24-dene-5
  • 14-mission
  • 22-dene-2
  • 31-dene-1950
  • 12-orch
  • 16-hazel-2
  • 15-hazel-1
  • 30-hazel-1950
  • 26-tuck
  • 33-17-mile-drive
  • 34_dene_hazel
  • 20-art-gallery
  • 18-dene-rad
  • 2-gallery-ad
  • 17-harmony
  • 21-dene-1
  • 23-dene-4
  • 32-dene-1945
  • 25-oak-farm
  • 13-cbf-1935
  • 7-duo-1
  • 4-noel
  • 9-duo-2
  • 19-hats
  • 28-usigi