Podiumsdiskussion: Vermessung einer postsowjetischen Landkarte Neuer Musik

Wiener Konzerthaus, Schönberg Hall, Vienna
June 18, 2023 5:00 PM

On June 18, starting at 5 p.m., a discussion event will shed light on the cornerstones of the content of The Tower of Babel project. Philipp Blom, author and historian, will moderate two panels with composers from the concert programme and additional guests. Questions about the relationship between the avant-garde and cultural identity, as well as about a polyphonic future of musical life in the vast post-Soviet cultural landscape, will be at the centre of the exchange of ideas.

The panel discussion will take place before the concert "The Tower of Babel I".

Admission free with registration (Tickets available via the Ticket & Service Center of the Wiener Konzerthaus)


17:00 - 17:50
Panel 1: Music and Cultural Identity in the Post-Soviet Space .

The first part of the panel discussions highlights the historical context of the project "The Tower of Babel". Since the late 1970s, the music scene in many Soviet republics, from Georgia to Ukraine, from Belarus to the Baltic countries, has become a vanguard and epicenter of the struggle for independence, as well as the cradle of national identity. What did building a cultural identity through music mean twenty or thirty years ago, and what does it mean today? How important is this identity for the composers involved in "The Tower of Babel" project?

On the panel: the composers Jamilia Jazylbekova, Anna Korsun, Dariya Maminova, Sergej Newski and the researcher Andrei Zavadski (TU Dortmund). (Discussion held in German)

17:50 - 18:10 - Coffee Break

18:10 - 19:00
Panel 2: From Homophony to Polyphony of Voices: Post-Colonial Future of the Cultural Scene

The structure of the Soviet cultural scene can be compared to homophony, with Russian culture leading and national cultures from Soviet republics serving as accompaniment. In many republics of the former USSR, academic music served as a tool for artistic protest against the colonial policies of the semi-official cultural authorities from the center. These same processes also influenced the direction of music after the fall of the USSR, shaping the work of a new generation of composers who emerged in the early 21st century.
The symposium “The Great Russian Music Tradition and What Should We Do With It?” held in St. Petersburg in the early 2000s by the composer group Structural Resistance (StRes) was emblematic of this opposition between the past and the future. This contrast has become particularly evident in recent years, during the era of the neo-imperial turn in Russian culture. Is it possible to envision a post-colonial future for the music scene of the former USSR? Can we foster a dialogue between representatives of various national composer schools and thereby move beyond the challenges posed by past and present socio-cultural cataclysms?

On the panel: the composers Alexander Khubeev, Alexey Sysoev, Anton Svetlichny, political scientist Alexander Baunov (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) and Marina Davydova (Director of Drama of the Salzburg Festival) 


Philipp Blom, author and historian


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