12 Jan 2017 - 14 Jan 2017 All day Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT


Transformations in the music and culture of the new post-Soviet states and Eastern Europe


Registration for the conference is now closed. 



Marina Frolova-Walker (University of Cambridge)



The fifteen national republics of the Soviet Union were originally very disparate in culture but, by the Brezhnev period, they had to a large extent converged on a common Soviet culture. The major structures and precepts of this common culture had also been exported to the countries of Eastern Europe, extending the borders of Soviet cultural space even further. The watershed years of 1989-1991 wrought profound cultural changes, from outright rejection of Soviet practices in one case at least, more modest programmes of adjustment, or in some cases, a continued endorsement of the Soviet cultural legacy.  

Focusing on music and the other arts, this conference seeks to bring together some of the unique stories of transformation from these vastly different regions, but also to draw out emerging patterns and common trends. 

Keynote speakers:

  • Professor Melita Milin (Institute of Musicology, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts)
  • Professor Jim Samson (Royal Holloway)
  • Professor Richard Taruskin (University of California, Berkeley)




Supported by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), the University of Cambridge's Faculty of Music, the Cambridge Humanities Research Grant Scheme, and the Royal Musical Association.


Administrative assistance: events@crassh.cam.ac.uk


Day 1 - Thursday 12 January
8.45 - 9.15


9.15 - 9.30

Opening Address

Marina Frolova-Walker (University of Cambridge) 

9.30 - 11.00

Session 1 – Migrations

Chair: Marina Frolova-Walker (University of Cambridge) 


Razia Sultanova (University of Cambridge)

The Non-Russian Face of Russia: Music and Culture of Migrant Communities in Post-Soviet Moscow


Ivana Medić (Institute of Musicology, Belgrade)

Parallel Histories: Serbian Music in Emigration

11.00 - 11.30


11.30 - 13.00

Session 2 – Folk Music 

Chair: Jim Samson (Royal Holloway, University of London)


Liesbet Nyssen (Leiden University Institute for Area Studies)

Khakas Music Revitalisation of the First Post-Soviet Decade: Ethnic or Religious?


Claudiu Oancea (New Europe College, Bucharest)

From Folklorism to Proto-Manele and Back: Folk Music in 1980s and 1990s Romania

13.00 - 14.00


14.00 - 16.00

Session 3 – Rock Music 

Chair: Leah Goldman (Reed College)


Diana Kudaibergenova (University of Cambridge)

Punk Shamanism, Revolt and Break Up of Traditional Linkage: The Waves of Cultural Production in Post-socialist Kazakhstan


Dominic Martin (University of Cambridge)

Russkii Rock and Religious Revival: Big Stone’91


Tetiana Paperniuk (Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv)

'Braty Gadiukiny' Band as the Representer of New Ukrainian Identity (1989-1991)

16.00 - 16.30


16.30 - 17.30

Keynote Lecture 1 

Jim Samson (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Looking for Narts: Circassians and their Homelands

17.30 - 18.00


Day 2 - Friday 13 January
9.30 - 11.00

Session 4 – Historical Narratives

Chair: Razia Sultanova (University of Cambridge)


Leah Goldman (Reed College)

Creating Crimea: Opera and Cultural Empire at the Post-Soviet Boundary


Olga Danyliuk (University of Kent / University of Westminster)

De-Communisation in Ukraine: Way to Freedom or Governmental Tool?

11.00 - 11.30


11.30 - 13.30

Session 5 – Opera

Chair: Marina Frolova-Walker (University of Cambridge)


Evgenii Bershtein (Reed College)

Scandal at the Bolshoi: Dmitry Cherniakov’s Staging of Eugene Onegin


Natalia Yakubova (State Institute for Art Studies, Moscow)

Saint Traviata 


Firuza Melville (University of Cambridge) 

Tajik and Azerbaijani Operas and Ballets as Case Study of Soviet and Post-Soviet Cultural Identity building

13.30 - 14.30


14.30 - 16.00

Session 6 – Musicology

Chair: Pauline Fairclough (University of Bristol) 


Tara Wilson (independent scholar, London-Moscow)

Musicology in Transition? Attitudes and Approaches to Music Analysis in Post-Soviet Russia


Patrick Zuk (University of Durham)

The Transition to the Post

16.00 - 16.30


16.30 - 17.30

Keynote Lecture 2

Melita Milin (Institute of Musicology, Belgrade)

Art and Popular Music After the Fall of Socialist Yugoslavia: The Case of Serbia

17.30 - 18.00


Day 3 - Saturday 14 January
9.30 - 11.30

Session 7 – Cultural Heritage 

Chair: Marina Frolova-Walker (University of Cambridge) 


Kiril Tomoff (University of California, Riverside)

Soviet Cultural Empire in Crisis: The National and Imperial in the Soviet Cultural Community, 1956-57


Rezeda Khurmatullina (Kazan Federal University)

Musical Culture in Post-Soviet Tatarstan


Sanubar Baghirova (Azerbaijani Academy of Sciences)

Soviet Cultural Heritage and Post-Soviet Cultural Environment in Azerbaijan

11.30 - 12.00


12.00 - 13.00

Session 8 – Politics and Identity 

Chair: Rūta Stanevičiūtė-Kelmickienė (Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre)


Claudia Giorleo (University of Calabria)

'My Body is My Weapon': FEMEN Body-Poster in Post-Soviet Ukraine

13.00 - 14.00


14.00 - 15.30

Session 9 – Folk Traditions

Chair: Kiril Tomoff (University of California, Riverside)


Caroline Bithell (University of Manchester)

Georgian Polyphony Reimagined: Transformations and Crosscurrents in Musical Practice and Discourse in Post-Soviet Georgia


Tanya Merchant (University of California, Santa Cruz)

'Not Your Grandmother's Dutar': Transforming Politics and Performing Contexts for Women Dutarists in Uzbekistan

15.30 - 16.00


16.00 - 17.30

Keynote Lecture 3 

Richard Taruskin (University of California, Berkeley)


17.30 - 18.00

Closing Discussion

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