Shostakovich, the Waldorf Conference and the Cold War

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Deery, Phillip (2012) Shostakovich, the Waldorf Conference and the Cold War. American Communist History, 11 (2). pp. 161-180. ISSN 1474-3892 (print) 1474-3906 (online)


The purpose of this article is to examine Shostakovich’s trip to the United States in 1949: why he went, why he experienced such extreme discomfort— ‘‘I still recall with horror my first trip to the USA’’ —and what it suggests about the paradoxical position of the creative artist from a Communist country during the early Cold War. Using Shostakovich as its primary focus, this article will reveal the contradictions between his officially sanctioned role and his private doubts and misgivings. Because the first subsumed the second, the costs were considerable: his creative work diminished and his self-respect suffered. This public/personal disjuncture was most acute from February 1948, associated with the ideological assault on his music led by Soviet functionary Andrei Zhdanov, until the death of Stalin in March 1953. In March 1949 it reached its apotheosis.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1080/14743892.2012.705982
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1606 Political Science
Historical > FOR Classification > 2103 Historical Studies
Historical > SEO Classification > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Arts
Keywords ResPubID25982, Dmitri Shostakovich, USA, United States of America, USSR, Soviet Union, Cold War, communism, classical composers, communists, The Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace, Waldorf conference, Russians, 1949, Joseph Stalin
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