Department of Music

Conference: Music and Communism

Red Strains: Music and Communism outside the Communist Bloc after 1945

The British Academy, London
Thursday 13 January – Saturday 15 January 2011

Keynote speakers: Professor Anne Shreffler (Harvard University) Professor Gianmario Borio (University of Pavia), Professor Georgina Born (University of Cambridge)

Panel session: Konrad Boehmer, Henry Flynt, Giacomo Manzoni

The relationship between state communism and music behind the Iron Curtain has been the subject of much scholarly interest. The importance of communism for musicians outside the communist bloc, by contrast, has received little sustained attention. This conference aims to examine:

  • the nature and extent of individual musicians' involvement with communist organisations and parties; 
  • the appeal and reach of different strands of communist thought (e.g. Trotskyist; Castroist; Maoist); 
  • the significance of music for communist parties and groups (e.g. groups’ cultural policies; use of music in rallies and meetings); 
  • the consequences of communist involvement for composition and music-making; 
  • how this involvement affected musicians' careers and performance opportunities in different countries.

Download the provisional conference programme and abstracts booklet(pdf). Conference registration is now closed. More information about the conference may be found at the conference blog.

For further information please contact the conference organiser Dr Robert Adlington (


Department of Music

The University of Nottingham
Lakeside Arts Centre
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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