BASEES Study Group for Russian and Eastern European Music Annual Conference 2012: Minority Composers


British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies
Study Group for Russian and Eastern European Music
Annual Conference 2012


The University of Manchester, Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama
Saturday 13 October 2012

Like my German forebears, I live in Russia, I can speak and write Russian far better than German. But I am not Russian… My Jewish half gives me no peace. (Alfred Schnittke)

Strictly speaking, performing the proposed pieces within the context of WOMEN’S music is a humiliation. (Galina Ustvolskaya)

The BASEES Study Group for Russian and East European Music (REEM) seeks to foster collaborative research and exchange of ideas within a growing community of researchers working in the fields of Russian/Soviet, Central and Eastern European music. Having explored, in past conferences, topics such as nationalism, modernism, the ‘Thaw’, musical theory and criticism, this year we would like to bring ‘minority composers’ into the spotlight. We invite proposals for twenty-minute papers on various aspects of the lives and works of composers who were – or could be perceived as – ‘minorities’ with reference to dominant paradigms (white, male, European, Western(ised), educated, heterosexual, etc.), as well as on contexts (historical, cultural, ideological) that shaped perceptions of ‘minorities’. The notion of ‘minority’ is understood in the broadest sense of the term, and may relate to issues of ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social and political allegiances and circumstances, or even artistic choices. Papers may address – but do not need to be limited to – some of the following questions:

  • The impact of a composer’s relationship with a ‘minority group’ on their work (ranging from celebration to critique or even denial of being a minority composer);
  • Analysis of various perceptions of ‘minorities’ in given historical, social and cultural contexts, and the way in which such perceptions were reflected on music;
  • Self-identification vs historiographical identification of minority composers;
  • The label of ‘minority’ as a marketing tool;
  • Composers associated with more than one ‘minority group’;
  • Minority composers whose music has crossed cultural boundaries and has become mainstream;
  • Minority composers’ stance towards assimilation: dichotomy between the desire to preserve any distinctive traits (religions, languages, cultural institutions, etc.) and a willingness to fit in and be accepted as ‘equals’ by the exponents of dominant paradigms;
  • Comparative studies of minority composers

Keynote speaker: Prof. Stephen Downes (University of Surrey)

Convenors: Ivana Medic, Philip Bullock and Katerina Levidou

Abstracts of no more than 400 words and short biographical notes (of no more than 200 words) should be sent to by 31 May 2012. Abstracts will be reviewed and results will be announced by 30 June 2012.