Russian Composers Abroad

How They Left, Stayed, Returned

by Elena Dubinets

Published by: Indiana University Press

392 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 7 b&w tables, 89 printed music items

  • Paperback
  • 9780253057785
  • Published: October 2021


  • Hardcover
  • 9780253057778
  • Published: October 2021


  • eBook
  • 9780253057808
  • Published: October 2021


As waves of composers migrated from Russia at the end of the 20th century, they represented their native country while also grappling 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 between the 1970s and the collapse of the USSR, and how aspects of their diasporic identities played out in their music. Difficult decisions about belonging shaped their careers and the personal freedoms feeding their creativity. In most cases, their music does not actually reveal their nationality. In Russian Composers Abroad, Elena Dubinets challenges essentialist understandings of Russian music as congruent with so-called Russianness in music.

As a Russian émigré herself, Dubinets soberly scrutinizes how, given the multitude of influences inevitably affecting these composers' creative expressions, critics and listeners are wrong to identify them as simply "Russian."