‘We Feel the Breath of the Soil and Fate…’ Georgy Sviridov and Russian Culture in the Twentieth Century

for the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth

16-18 December 2015 Moscow

International Scholarly Conference

1 – 4 March 2016 Saint-Petersburg

International conference of young researchers

Saint-Petersburg State University and State institute of Art History wishes to draw the attention of the scholarly community to the conference “We feel the breath of the soil and fate…: Georgy Sviridov and Russian culture in the twentieth century” dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth. The conference organizers invite scholars, teachers, graduate and undergraduate students in history, philosophy and religious studies departments, as well as representatives from the fields of art history, musicology, literary criticism, sociology and cultural studies to take part.

This interdisciplinary conference will provide the opportunity to examine problems in music history and the creativity of composers more broadly than from a purely musicological perspective. The conference organizers see its main aim as the opportunity to consider the life and work of Sviridov in the light of the underlying problems of Russian history in the twentieth century and its culture, as well as from the perspective of global artistic processes. We wish to see the centenary of Sviridov’s birth serving as the occasion for serious scholarly discussion of a range of basic issues relating to approaches to the history of the Soviet period of Russian music and to the elaboration of new criteria for aesthetically, culturally and sociologically evaluating what has been achieved in the recent past in order to prepare a prognosis for the future development of our musical culture.

Sviridov’s life was a long one. He was born, shortly before the revolutions of 1917, and died after perestroika. The vicissitudes of Russian history of the twentieth century have been reflected in his fortunes. Numerous significant events and shifts in Russian history came to the composer’s attention, became the subject of artistic interpretation and gained musical realisation. In his creative work Sviridov was a rather solitary figure. After the war, as he found his way, critics wrote that he was “swimming against the tide”. Soon after, he bypassed the temptation offered by various trends in the western music of his time and did not join any musical party. He created an individual style of his own. In particular, it may be said that Sviridov differed from his contemporaries in his inclination to word-centredness or, more accurately, logocentrism.

The composer produced a significant collection of romances and songs from the second half of the twentieth century. Sviridov’s choral music, his cantatas, oratorios and numerous a cappella choruses provided an impetus for the development of the genre of choral music in Russia. Such creations as the choral concerto A Pushkin Garland or the choral cycle Canticles and Prayers have won recognition beyond Russia and have become widely famous all over the world.

Sviridov’s art is inextricably connected with Russian music, both past and present. At the same time, while being a national composer, Sviridov is inconceivable without the context of world culture. This concerns however, not only musical creativity. As an enlightened man, the composer could perfectly well find his way around the entire expanse of humanity’s lofty spiritual heritage.

The structure of the conference is presented in eight main sections. The sections are arranged chronologically. Depending on the number and character of paper proposals submitted to the organizing committee, the conference will take place in either a single or parallel sequence of plenary and sectional sessions.

The key research objectives for the conference are as follows:

I. Left march: revolution and culture of Russia in the early twentieth century.

II. Art of the 1930s (1930 – 1941).

III. The war years (1941-1945).

IV. The post-war situation: the end of the Stalin régime.

V. The Khrushchev “Thaw” and the artistic culture of Soviet Russia in the mid-1950s
and early 1960s.

VI. The state of art in the last decades of Soviet power (1964-1991).

VII. The problem of the cultural interaction of Russia and the West at the end of
the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first century.

VIII. Music and the word in the self-consciousness and creative work of Georgy Sviridov

IX. The place of Georgy Sviridov in the modern musical process.

Subjects for the concluding discussion:

1. The current state and horizons for the development of Russian culture;

2. «The end of Soviet music», what next? Perspectives on the development of Russian
music in the post-Soviet period: “spiritual independence” or “multiculturalism”?

To participate in the conference, send an application (full name, place of work and position, phone numbers and email) and an abstract (1000-1500 printed characters) to the organizing committee in Russian and/or English before 15 October 2015 (for Moscow) and 15 January 2016 (for Saint-Petersburg – young investigators’ conference).

The working languages of the conference are Russian and English.

Forms of taking part in the conference: plenary paper, session paper, written rather than spoken paper. Each presentation should last 15 minutes with an additional 5 minutes for discussion.

The conference in Moscow will be based at the State Institute of Art Studies.

Address: Moscow, Kozitsky pereulok, 5.

The conference in Saint-Petersburg will be based at Saint-Petersburg State University< Institute of History.

Address: Saint-Petersburg, Vasilevsky Island, Mendeleev line, 5.

Contact Information (for Moscow):

Secretaries of the organizing committee:

Alexander Sergeevich Belonenko

Е-mail: belonenko@mail.ru

Nadezhda Ivanovna Teterina

E-mail: nad_teterina@mail.ru

(questions about sending proposals for papers to the organizing committee and the wording of topics)

Contact Information (for Saint-Petersberg):

Secretary of the organizing committee:

Е-mail: belonenko@mail.ru (questions about sending proposals for papers to the organizing committee and the wording of topics for papers)

madnickhistory@gmail.com – Nikolaev Nikita Ivanovich (about conference organization)

Ivanyakoovleev@mail.ru – Yakovlev Ivan Dmitrievich (about conference organization)

Enclosure № 1

Registration Form

First Name:

Last Name:

Scientific degree:


Institution Address:

Country Representing at the Conference:

Post address______________________________________________________


Fax _____________________________________________________________


I plan to take part in the conference with

  • a plenary paper (with a title)

  • a session paper (with a title)

  • round table discussion

  • stand paper + a title (external participation)

Special requests__________________________________________________________