Recent publications

The Cold War and Music Study Group maintains a list of recent publications by its members. The following list was last updated on 25 Feburary 2016.

Broinowski, Adam. Cultural Responses to Occupation in Japan: The Performing Body During and After the Cold War. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.

Description: Cultural Responses to Occupation in Japan examines how the performing arts, and the performing body specifically, have shaped and been shaped by the political and historical conditions experienced in Japan during the Cold War and post-Cold War periods. This study of original and secondary materials from the fields of theatre, dance, performance art, film and poetry, probes the interrelationship that exists between the body and the nation-state. Important artistic works, such as Ankoku Butoh (dance of darkness) and its subsequent re-interpretation by a leading political performance company Gekidan Kaitaisha (theatre of deconstruction), are analysed using ethnographic, historical and theoretical modes. This approach reveals the nuanced and prolonged effects of military, cultural and political occupation in Japan over a duration of dramatic change. Cultural Responses to Occupation in Japan explores issues of discrimination, marginality, trauma, memory and the mediation of history in a ground-breaking work that will be of great significance to anyone interested in the symbiosis of culture and conflict.

Bylander, Cindy. “Charles Ives and Poland’s Stalowa Wola Festival: Inspirations and Legacies.” Polish Review 59/2 (2014): 43-60.

Keywords: festival, music, twentieth-century, arts, Solidarity, independent

Bylander, Cindy. “Disorientation at the Warsaw Opera: Transcryptum by Wojtek Blecharz.” Musical Opinion (April-June 2014): 34-35.

Keywords: Blecharz, opera, Warsaw, Poland, twentieth-first century

Desai, Manan. “Korla Pandit Plays America: Exotica, Racial Performance, And Fantasies of Containment In Cold War Culture.” The Journal of Popular Culture 48/4 (August, 2015): 714–730.

Dubnov, Arie M. “The Missing Beat Generation: Coming of Age and Nostalgism in Arik Einstein’s Music.” Jewish Social Studies 21/1 (2015): 49–88.

Keywords: Israeli pop music, Arik Einstein, youth culture, nostalgia

Description: The singer-songwriter Arik Einstein (1939–2013) long ago secured his place in the Israeli cultural pantheon. Prolific and versatile, Einstein is often considered the singer who recorded the first Israeli rock album, importing sophisticated Anglo-American music to Israel. Soon thereafter, though, Einstein refashioned himself as a melancholic and nostalgic singer. Moving from musicology to cultural history, this article places Einstein’s musical career in a larger cultural and sociopolitical context. I read Einstein’s music against the backdrop of a failed attempt to construct Israeli youth culture during the late 1960s and highlight the affinity between this cultural project and the short-lived political attempt to forge a New Israeli Left. I then examine Einstein’s switch to nostalgia, which should be read as an ironic and reflective nostalgia that ultimately helped create a distinctively Israeli sense of home coupled with a critical and alienated sense of not being at home.

Giroud, Vincent. Nicolas Nabokov: A Life in Freedom and Music. Oxford University Press, 2015

Description: Composer, cultural diplomat, and man about town, Nicolas Nabokov (1903-78) counted among his intimate friends everyone from Igor Stravinsky to George Kennan. While today he is overshadowed by his more famous cousin Vladimir, Nicolas Nabokov was during his lifetime an outstanding and far-sighted player in international cultural exchanges during the Cold War and admired by some of the most distinguished minds of his century for his political acumen and his talents as a composer. This first-ever biography of Nabokov follows the fascinating stages of his life: a privileged childhood before the Revolution; the beginnings of a promising musical career launched under the aegis of Diaghilev; his involvement in anti-Stalinist causes in the first years of the Cold War; his participation in the Congress for Cultural Freedom; his role as cultural advisor to the Mayor of Berlin and director of the Berlin Festival in the early 1960s; his American academic and musical career in the late 1960s and 1970s. Nabokov is unique not only in that he was involved on a high level in international cultural politics, but also in that his life intersected at all times with a vast array of people within – and also well beyond – the confines of classical music. Drawing on a vast array of primary sources, Vincent Giroud’s biography opens a window into history for readers interested in twentieth-century music, Russian emigration, and the Cold War, particularly in its cultural aspects. Musicians and musicologists interested in Nabokov as a composer, or in twentieth century Russian composers in general, will find in this book information not available anywhere else.

Fosler-Lussier, Danielle. Music in America’s Cold War Diplomacy. University of California Press, 2015.

Keywords: United States, diplomacy, cultural exchange, Armstrong, Anderson, Ellington, jazz, classical, avant-garde, folk, rock, blues

Description: During the Cold War, thousands of musicians from the United States traveled the world, sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Cultural Presentations program. Performances of music in many styles—classical, rock ’n’ roll, folk, blues, and jazz—competed with those by traveling Soviet and mainland Chinese artists, enhancing the prestige of American culture. These concerts offered audiences around the world evidence of America’s improving race relations, excellent musicianship, and generosity toward other peoples. Through personal contacts and the media, musical diplomacy also created subtle musical, social, and political relationships on a global scale. Although born of state-sponsored tours often conceived as propaganda ventures, these relationships were in themselves great diplomatic achievements and constituted the essence of America’s soft power. Using archival documents and newly collected oral histories, Danielle Fosler-Lussier shows that musical diplomacy had vastly different meanings for its various participants, including government officials, musicians, concert promoters, and audiences. Through the stories of musicians from Louis Armstrong and Marian Anderson to orchestras and college choirs, Fosler-Lussier explores the value and consequences of “musical diplomacy.”

Herrera, Eduardo. “The CLAEM and the Construction of Elite Art Worlds: Philanthropy, Latinamericanism, and Avant-garde music.” Ph.D dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2013. 

Keywords: Elites, Latin America, 20th Century, Cold War, Philanthropy, Patronage, Alberto Ginastera, Rockefeller Foundation, Ethnomusicology, Centro Latinoamericano de Altos Estudios Musicales

Description: In this dissertation I argue that the Centro Latinoamericano de Altos Estudios Musicales (CLAEM, 1962-1971) accurately exemplifies how the embrace of avant-garde art music by several young Latin American composers is crucial to understand the creation and consolidation of particular social groups often identified as elites. This dissertation is a concrete case study of how elites in a formation phase consolidate their status and achieve distinction by looking at the stories composers and patrons tell about themselves, their relation to the musical avant-garde, and discourses of Latin Americanism. By following, consuming, and rearticulating international musical models, the members of this art world—as patrons, composers, critics and listeners—engaged in a hegemonic process that resulted in their legitimization of new elites and the institutionalization of the avant-garde in Argentina. There are three key questions that I want to answer with this dissertation. First, how was the avant-garde articulated in Latin America, and in which ways did it respond or not to theories of avant-garde movements and modernity in the rest of the world? Second, how were composers during the 1960s engaging with discourses of Latin Americanism as professional strategy, identification marker and musical style? Third, what is the role of art in the legitimation and construction of elite status and identity? The case study of the CLAEM provides insight into three different aspects of music making, elite art worlds, and the embrace of the avant-garde in Argentina and Latin America during the second half of the twentieth century. These aspects become my main themes throughout the dissertation. The first theme involves the unique way in which composers at the CLAEM followed, consumed, and rearticulated international models of the avant-garde that were then embodied, resignified and institutionalized. The second theme explores how the CLAEM was a formative social experience, where transnational connections between actors who are part of the same cultural formation—both from Latin America as well as Europe and the United States—created important networks of solidarity, communication and intellectual exchange and resulted in the adoption of Latin Americanism as a professional strategy and musical style. Finally, this work explores the consolidation of elite groups and the creation of elite art worlds as the result of philanthropic efforts led by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Di Tella family.

Jakelski, Lisa. “Pushing Boundaries: Mobility at the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music.” East European Politics and Societies 29/1 (February 2015): 189-211.

Keywords: music; Poland; cultural mobility; Cold War; modernism

Description: This article examines how the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music facilitated mobility across socialist borders in the 1960s. The Warsaw Autumn was one of the most important zones of cross-border cultural contact during the Cold War, for its eclectic programming featured musical works and performers from both the Soviet and American zones of cultural, political, and economic influence. The article demonstrates that the festival enabled multiple connections to form across socialist borders. Some of these were top–down, international contacts among socialist state institutions, which resulted in carefully curated performances of cultural diplomacy that tended to reinforce prevailing notions of East–West opposition. Other connections involved informal, personal ties that facilitated the transnational circulation of musical modernism throughout the socialist bloc. The article proposes that the Warsaw Autumn’s advocacy of modernist music by unofficial Soviet composers exposed and encouraged the development of cultural affinities that challenged the socialist bloc’s presumptive hierarchies while also mitigating the Cold War’s broadly drawn divisions between East and West. The article further suggests that the significance of mobility at the Warsaw Autumn in the 1960s depended on the continued fixity of borders in other areas—between states, the Cold War’s geopolitical regions, and contrasting musical styles.

Jakelski, Lisa. “Witold Lutosławski and the Ethics of Abstraction.” Twentieth-Century Music 10/2 (September 2013): 169-202.

Description: Scholars have struggled to reconcile the expressive immediacy of Witold Lutosławski’s works with his claims that he wrote absolute music. This article seeks a more nuanced understanding of the place of abstraction in Lutosławski’s creative practice by exploring connections between his 1981 speeches on artistic ethics and his approach to melodic construction in Chain 2 (1984–5). Lutosławski’s words and music both rely on convention, and recycle rhetoric from his past. But these are not their only correspondences. They also engage with a trio of concepts – withdrawal, integrity, and autonomy – that are at the heart of a moral code Lutosławski articulated in response to the volatile political conditions of 1980s Poland. The article thus sheds new light on the entanglement of modernism, ethics, and politics in the late twentieth century, while illuminating what the idea of abstraction may have meant in a particular time and place.

Kelly, Elaine. “Art as Utopia: Parsifal and the East German Left.” Opera Quarterly 30/2-3 (2014): 246-66.

Kelly, Elaine. Composing the Canon in the German Democratic Republic: Narratives of Nineteenth-Century Music. Oxford University Press, 2014.

Kelly, Elaine. “Reflective Nostalgia and Diasporic Memory: Composing East Germany after 1989.” In Remembering and Rethinking the GDR: Multiple Perspectives and Plural Authenticities, ed. Anna Saunders and Debbie Pinfold, 116-131. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013

Kouvarou, Maria. “American Rock with a European Twist: The Institutionalization of Rock’n’Roll in France, West Germany, Greece, and Italy (20th Century).” Historia crítica (2015): 75-94.

Keywords: Rock’n’roll, Europe, Cold War, institutionalization, music industries.

Description: This paper assesses the practices developed in France, Italy, Greece, and Germany in order to accommodate rock’n’roll music and bring it closer to their own music styles and societal norms, as these are heard in the initial attempts of their music industries to create their own versions of it. The paper deals with these practices as instances of the French, German, Greek and Italian contexts to institutionalize rock’n’roll according to their positions regarding the USA, their historical and political situations, and their cultural and musical past and present.

McCormick, Lisa. Performing Civility: International Competitions in Classical Music. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Description: Although competitions in classical music have a long history, the number of contests has risen dramatically since the Second World War, all of them aiming to launch young artists’ careers. This is not the symptom of marketization that it might appear to be. Despite the establishment of an international governing body, competitions are plagued by rumors of corruption, and even the most mathematically sophisticated voting system cannot quell accusations that the best talent is overlooked. Why do musicians take part? Why do audiences care so much about who wins? Performing Civility is the first book to address these questions. In this groundbreaking study, Lisa McCormick draws from firsthand observations of contests in Europe and the US, in-depth interviews with competitors, jurors and directors, as well as blog data from competition observers to argue that competitions have endured because they are not only about music, they are also about civility.

Milin, Melita. “Cultural isolation of Yugoslavia 1944-1960 and its impact on the sphere of music: the case of Serbia.” Muzikoloski Zbornik (Musicological Annual) 51/2 (2015): 149-161.

Description: In the decades after the end of WW2 and the establishment of the communist regime in Yugoslavia, cultural isolation affected Serbia in more or less the same way as the other five federal republics. This article examines aspects typical of that period, such as the level of musical exchange with the foreign, i.e. Western world; the creative responses of Serbian composers of all generations to post-war avantgarde movements; guest concerts of foreign musicians and ensembles in Serbia and the international tours of Serbian musicians; repertoires on concert and opera programs; and the legacy of the period.

Pérez, Pedro Reina. “A Cellist in Exile.ReVista (Cambridge) 15/2 (Winter 2016): 14-17.

Rothe, Alexander Karl. “Staging the Past: Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle in Divided Germany during the 1970s and 1980s.” Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 2015.

Description: The staging of Richard Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen provides an ideal site to examine representations of the German past in the opera house and the broader cultural world surrounding it, in particular how these representations reveal different conceptions of the past in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). By looking at three different productions of the Ring cycle in divided Germany during the 1970s and 1980s, I will show how Wagner stagings both reflected and contributed to historical debates about the Nazi past and discussions about cultural and national identity. The introduction considers why stagings of Wagner’s Ring cycle are so important for understanding national identity and the process of coming to terms with the Nazi past (Vergangenheitsbewältigung) in the two German states. Along with describing my own methodology, I give an overview of the different approaches to opera staging in recent musicological scholarship. Chapter One provides contextual information on divided Germany during the 1970s and 1980s, and it also introduces three historical debates that appear in the case studies. Chapter Two begins by looking at the Leipzig Ring (1973-1976), directed by Joachim Herz, as a parable about nineteenth-century class conflict. I then consider what the Leipzig production has to say about the relationship between the GDR and the Nazi past, particularly with respect to Herz’s depiction of the Gibichung court as a fascist state. Chapters Three and Four investigate the Bayreuth centennial Ring (1976), staged by Patrice Chéreau and conducted by Pierre Boulez, each of whom had a different vision of Wagner. In spite of their differences, both Chéreau and Boulez treat Wagner’s work as an opportunity to reflect on their own experiences of the 1968 student protest movement. Both artists articulate a sense of unease about revolutionary activity, which mirrors the growing anxiety in both West Germany and France about the radical left. Chapter Five examines the multiple views of Wagner in Ruth Berghaus’s Frankfurt Ring (1985-1987). While the director Berghaus interprets the work in terms of a tradition of epic theater and historical materialism, the dramaturge Klaus Zehelein focuses on aspects of language, textuality, and representation. I also discuss how the reception of the Frankfurt Ring in West German newspapers reflects the re-intensification of the Cold War in the 1980s.

Schlosser, Nicholas J. Cold War on the Airwaves: The Radio Propaganda War against East Germany. University of Illinois Press, 2015.

Description: Founded as a counterweight to the Communist broadcasters in East Germany, Radio in the American Sector (RIAS) became one of the most successful public information operations conducted against the Soviet Bloc. Cold War on the Airwaves examines the Berlin-based organization’s history and influence on the political worldview of the people–and government–on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Nicholas Schlosser draws on broadcast transcripts, internal memoranda, listener letters, and surveys by the U.S. Information Agency to profile RIAS. Its mission: to undermine the German Democratic Republic with propaganda that, ironically, gained in potency by obeying the rules of objective journalism. Throughout, Schlosser examines the friction inherent in such a contradictory project and propaganda’s role in shaping political culture. He also portrays how RIAS’s primarily German staff influenced its outlook and how the organization both competed against its rivals in the GDR and pushed communist officials to alter their methods in order to keep listeners. From the occupation of Berlin through the airlift to the construction of the Berlin Wall, Cold War on the Airwaves offers an absorbing view of how public diplomacy played out at a flashpoint of East-West tension.

Tomoff, Kiril. Virtuosi Abroad: Soviet Music and Imperial Competition during the Early Cold War, 1945–1958. Cornell University Press, 2015.

Description: In the 1940s and 1950s, Soviet musicians and ensembles were acclaimed across the globe. They toured the world, wowing critics and audiences, projecting an image of the USSR as a sophisticated promoter of cultural and artistic excellence. In Virtuosi Abroad, Kiril Tomoff focuses on music and the Soviet Union’s star musicians to explore the dynamics of the cultural Cold War. He views the competition in the cultural sphere as part of the ongoing U.S. and Soviet efforts to integrate the rest of the world into their respective imperial projects. Tomoff argues that the spectacular Soviet successes in the system of international music competitions, taken together with the rapturous receptions accorded touring musicians, helped to persuade the Soviet leadership of the superiority of their system. This, combined with the historical triumphalism central to the Marxist-Leninist worldview, led to confidence that the USSR would be the inevitable winner in the global competition with the United States. Successes masked the fact that the very conditions that made them possible depended on a quiet process by which the USSR began to participate in an international legal and economic system dominated by the United States. Once the Soviet leadership transposed its talk of system superiority to the economic sphere, focusing in particular on consumer goods and popular culture, it had entered a competition that it could not win.

Waite, Mike. “Revolutionary music or music for revolution? Thirteen paragraphs on Cornelius Cardew: the composer and his communism.” Twentieth Century Communism 9/9 (August 2016): 121-135.

Description: Paragraphs on the English composer: his life and work through different phases, and his musics’ political contexts and implications. Many regret Cardew’s adoption of maoism from the early 1970s, not least because it led to his bitter renunciation of his earlier avant garde work. A suggestion: Cardew’s political and artistic choices came from dilemmas which anyone concerned with the left and culture can usefully revisit.

Wang, Ban. “Third World Internationalism: Films and Operas in the Chinese Cultural Revolution.” In Listening to China’s Cultural Revolution, 85-106. Palgrave, 2016.

Keywords: China, Cultural Revolution, Opera, Film

Description: Eight hundred million people watching eight shows” is a cruel joke about the barrenness of culture during the Cultural Revolution. But in recent years, scholars such as Paul Clark and Barbara Mittler, among others, have demonstrated that there was life—and much of it quite interesting and vibrant—in the proverbial cultural desert. In his book The Chinese Cultural Revolution, Clark offers insights into cultural innovations and professional perfectionism beyond the conventional narratives of elite power games in high places. Listening attentively beneath the loud noise of propaganda to the muffled music of artistic experiment and innovation, Clark shows that an undercurrent of cultural life was still going on, and creating a new aesthetics.1 Taking a long view of China’s revolutionary history, Barbara Mittler, in her A Continuous Revolution, decries the myth that the Cultural Revolution is something radically new and disruptive

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