“MUSIC AND THE SOVIET CULTURAL EMPIRE, 1945-1958”
Given by Kiril Tomoff (University of California, Riverside)
After World War II, the Soviet Union set about constructing an empire that stretched from the Danube to the Pacific and sought to influence and attract states across the developing world as they achieved their independence from empires with Western European metropoles. One of the keys to this Soviet effort was the emergence of an imperial cultural community that spanned Eurasia. In this lecture, I propose a model for understanding the cultural geography of this empire, use examples of music and musical life to examine the cultural delegations that travelled in Eastern Europe in the 1940s and 1950s as one of the crucial mechanisms by which the cultural empire was instituted and its cultural community was maintained, and offer some preliminary conclusions about the nature and significance of the Soviet cultural imperial project.