Stefano Flavoni: Oral History

March 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

I was very intrigued by the oral history topic we discussed in class.  However, accessing relevant oral histories for my topic was a bit of a challenge.  While I originally went through Oskicat hopeful we’d have a dedicated volume involving the music of Shostakovich, when I switched to searching through the music library, instead, I found a book that actually contained within it an oral history-style memoir of Shostakovich, himself.  Inside was a very helpful interview that went over topic such as his experience with censorship and the Soviet government, his affinity for atonality at the heels of a widely impressionist movement outside of Russia, his relationship with other Soviet composers, and his political influence in countries such as the United States in various bilateral attempts to end the Cold War well before the fall of the Berlin Wall.  What is also interesting about this resource was that it referenced several musical works of Shostakovich I hadn’t heard that helped me improve my knowledge of his artistic portfolio.

A side note: when I found this book, I had been going through a sort of existential crisis with my own major in terms of determining the true utility of essentially devoting my life to producing art.  However, if artists can be proactive political figures as Shostakovich was, perhaps there is a future for me in music yet.


Shostakovich, Dmitri. “Testimony: the memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich (Свидетельство:

мемуары Дмитрий Шостакович).” New York: Harper & Row, 1979.


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