Hosted by: The Department of Music at the University of California, Berkeley

Conference Organizers: Anicia Timberlake and Emily Richmond Pollock
Contact: musicindividedgermany@gmail.com

In the year 1949, Germany was split into two nations; the year 1989 saw them brought back together. Yet despite the political acts that severed and then sutured them, the East and the West were never really culturally disentangled, and even now remain in some ways warily distinct. The complexity of musical and cultural life in the two Germanys over these four decades yields a rich potential for dialogue across disciplinary and methodological boundaries. Scholarly discussion in this area is forced to contend with the fever pitch of debates saturating this period, concerning such questions as the proper relationship between artistic and political expression; the values that inform high art, middlebrow, and popular cultures; the legitimacy of modernism and the role of the academy; and the relationship between contemporary politics and stylistic revolution, retrenchment, and restoration. For the conference this September we have assembled an international group of scholars working on music in either or both East and West Germany to discuss these issues as well as the following areas of particular relevance:
  • The social role of art and social constraints on art, including musical life in particular cities or communities, the history of institutions, education/academia, and arts policy.
  • Music and media, including recording, radio, and print culture, as well as arts journalism and criticism, musicology, and propaganda.
  • Points of contact or collaboration between institutions, musicians, and/or composers in the two Germanys as well as abroad.
The conference will feature a keynote session on Saturday afternoon, "Musical Ghosts of Divided Germany: Past, Present, Future," with position papers by Amy Beal (University of California, Santa Cruz), Joy Calico (Vanderbilt University), and Anne Shreffler (Harvard University). Please see here for the full program and here for a list of presenters.