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, 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, 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, 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, Emory University
"This book is far more than an ethnography of the Russian musical diaspora: it investigates the stages of emigration of Russian composers as manifested in the music they actually composed. The wide range of composers and compositions examined makes this volume an excellent addition to the shelf that includes more general histories of 20th– and 21st–century Russian music, such as work by Malcolm Brown and Richard Taruskin. . . . Highly recommended."~W. E. Grim, Strayer University, Choice
"Russian Composers Abroad: How They Left, Stayed, Returned examines the movement of both Soviet and post-Soviet composers within the greater paradigm of socio-political identities, ones which shifted and morphed, or not, according to geography and circumstance. Connections in and around these inner and outer realities are ones Dubinets takes particular care with; such investigations have pointed resonance to the current, perilous displacements and journeys being made by so very many. Utilizing a myriad of references and quotations from a variety of sources (including composers Boris Filanovsky, Anton Batagov, Serge Newski and Dmitri Kourliandski) Dubinets examines the 20th and 21st-century diasporic musical landscapes through wonderfully contextualized lenses of history, culture, finance, socio-religious beliefs and practices, and old and current politics, as well as the ways in which identity can and does change according to a combination of these factors."~Catherine Kustanczy, The Opera Queen
"This weighty 388-page-long musicological work by Elena Dubinets is clearly a work of love. Love for her own country of origin, love for the music, and last but not least, love for the achievements that many of the composers Ms. Dubinets has known personally have reached. . . . Elena Dubinets follows the history, fate, and success of many composers, their initial struggle to adapt to a new and mostly-unknown ambiente. She does so in a sincere and partly hard way, describing the noble but also selfish aspects of each of her subjects."~Giorgio Koukl, EarRelevant
"In an age of widespread movements of people, this important book about the fates of composers who left Russia for various reasons is also relevant to the problems of emigration and repatriation from and to many other countries. . . . Elena Dubinets's monograph deserves close reading by scholars of contemporary Russian music, and the attention of all those concerned with the theory and reality of emigration."~Arnold McMillin, Slavonic and East European Review
- Outstanding Academic Title