Russian Composers Abroad
How They Left, Stayed, Returned
Published by: Indiana University Press
As waves of composers migrated from Russia in the 20th century, they grappled with the complex struggle between their own traditions and those of their adopted homes.
Russian Composers Abroad explores the self-identity of these émigrés, especially those who left from the 1970s on, and how aspects of their diasporic identities played out in their music. Elena Dubinets provides a journey through the complexities of identity formation and cultural production under globalization and migration, elucidating sociological perspectives of the post-Soviet world that have caused changes in composers' outlooks, strategies, and rankings.
Russian Composers Abroad is an illuminating study of creative ideas that are often shaped by the exigencies of financing and advancement rather than just by the vision of the creators and the demands of the public.
Note on Transliteration
Part I: National versus Global
1. The "Universal": Globalizing the Local
2. The National: Super-Icons
3. National Identification versus Cultural Affiliation: Non-Russian Composers
4. Cultural Affiliation versus Citizenship: Russian Diaspora
Part II: How to: Perspectives of Music Creation
5. The "Social" Perspective
6. The "Production" Perspective
Part III: How they left
7. A Brief History of Russian Diaspora Through Music
8. "Kolbasa Emigration": a New Cultural Mythology?
Part IV: How they stayed
9. The Trauma of Migration
10. The Many Professions
11. Supporters and Connectors
Part V: How they returned
12. Homecoming and Reception at Home
13. Russia under Putin: to stay or to go?
Elena Dubinets is the rare scholar who brings her immense knowledge to bear on mainstream musical life: her tenure as artistic administrator of the Seattle Symphony was a golden age in modern American orchestra programming. In her brilliant and revelatory new book, Dubinets tracks the tangled histories and variegated creative output of composers who have emigrated from Russia, whether in Soviet times or later. The reader will emerge with a vastly enriched understanding of recent Russian musical history and of the complex forces that have shaped its makers.~Alex Ross, The New Yorker
In a beautifully written and compelling book, musicologist and leading impresaria Dr. Elena Dubinets opens up the rich and multi-faceted world of a Russian musical diaspora that is as vast and diverse as our Internet-connected globe. Dubinets shows us how Russian émigré composers navigated their new lives and made their way in a transnational musical landscape connected by new media and technologies. Innovative, impeccably researched and theoretically informed, this book is a pioneering contribution to a truly global musicology.~Anne C. Shreffler, Harvard University
At once an intrepid scholar and engaging storyteller, Elena Dubinets offers a richly stimulating account of Russian diasporic composers that charts over a century of restless change and polarizing forces, right up to the present. She lays bare the choices and pressures that have shaped succeeding waves of émigrés – from those, like Rachmaninov, consistently branded as Russian to figures who embody multiple ethnonational intersections. As portrayed by Dubinets, these musicians emerge as distinctive personalities who challenge received ideas of "Russianness" in music. Weaving together meticulous research and fascinating musical cameos, she homes in on their complex, often contradictory, negotiation of national, cultural, commercial, and personal identities. The result not only makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of how modern and contemporary music has developed but sheds light on current preoccupations with issues of cultural affiliation and identity.~Thomas May, journalist, Musical America
With insider access and rare incisiveness, Elena Dubinets brings us into a widely misunderstood creative world that has profoundly shaped classical music culture for the last half-century. At a time when the complexities and contradictions of modern Russia are more powerfully felt than ever before, her book provides an anchor of understanding, pathways for listening, and many causes for hope.~Kevin C. Karnes, Emory University