Fred Skinner, Author, Historian, Academy Village Resident
Wednesday, March 29, 2023,
ASA Koffler Great Room & Zoom
The author’s passion for Beethoven’s music and expertise in Russian history combine in this intriguing look at the interaction of culture and politics. Beethoven in Russia: Music and Politics shows how Beethoven’s music served as a call to action for citizens and weaponized state propaganda in the great political struggles that shaped modern Russian history.
Fred Skinner’s presentation, including slides and music videos, explores the interface between music and politics in Russian Beethoven reception history from the early nineteenth century to the present. As outlined in his historical work Beethoven in Russia: Music and Politics (Frederick W. Skinner, Indiana University Press, 2022) the focus is on the role Beethoven’s music played in the revolutionary struggle culminating in the Revolution of 1917, the appropriation of Beethoven and his music by the communist regime to consolidate its own authority and promote a rapid modernization campaign, and trends in Beethoven reception history from the death of Stalin in 1953 to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Fred Skinner received his M.A. and Russian Institute Certificate from Columbia University in 1968, and his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1973. During his graduate career, he was awarded a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship, Carnegie Foundation Fellowship, Ford Foudation Foreign Area Fellowship, Fulbright-Hays Graduate Fellowship, and an International research and Exchange Board Award. While teaching at the University of Montana from 1973-2006, his research and publication interests focused primarily on Russian urban history. Fred gained expertise in the field of Beethoven reception history at an NEH Summer Institute on Beethoven at Arizona State University which enabled him to combine his knowledge of Russian history with his passion for Beethoven’s music, resulting in the book under review in this talk. Since 2013 Fred and his wife have divided their time between Academy Village and their residence in Missoula, Montana.
Compiled and Edited by Patti Woodbury, Academy Village Volunteer
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