Building an Avant-Garde: The Warsaw Autumn Festival and New Polish Music
Presenter: Lisa Jakelski
This talk will explore the connections between mu-sic institutions and compositional style in postwar Po-land. It will consider how socialist realism* in Polish classical music was related to the political and institu-tional contexts of the first postwar decade. It will also trace shifts in Polish composers’ musical styles during the mid-1950s, a period of political upheaval and cul-tural thaw. During these years, Polish composers were aided not just by political factors, but also by the emer-gence of new institutions to support contemporary mu-sic. The Warsaw Autumn Festival was the most important of these. The festival’s early history illumi-nates a moment when artistic aspirations and adminis-trative activities became creatively intertwined, as composers invested in exploring modernist techniques in their music simultaneously worked to shape an in-stitution where such pieces would be valued
*Unlike social realism, socialist realism often glori-fies the roles of the meek and working class and the struggle for its emancipation. (Ed.)
Lisa Jakelski is an assistant professor of musicology at the Eastman School of Music. Her primary areas of research are Polish music post-1945 and Cold War cul-tural politics. She has presented papers at conferences in North America and Europe, and she received a Sum-mer Stipend from the National Endowment for the Hu-manities in 2013. Her work has appeared in the
Journal of Musicology and Twentieth-Century Music, and a new article is forthcoming in East European Politics and Societies.