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Carolina Seminar • Dmitry Shostakovich and Mainstream Soviet Cinema

March 8, 2018 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Dmitry Shostakovich’s long and impressive career in film scoring from 1929 to 1971 uniquely positioned him to participate in the cultural politics of cinema, and allow him a space where he could hone his skill as a film composer. As the first designated “film composer” in 1929, he built a career in film scoring that matured during high Stalinism and beyond. In this time, in collaboration with directors such as Grigory Kozintsev, Sergey Gerasimov, the Vasilyev brothers, and Aleksandr Dovzhenko, to name a few, he composed scores that had their stylistic basis in his experimental practices of earlier periods that were wedded with outwardly socialist realist film narratives. This created what I call a “mainstream” scoring practice, one which ultimately would be heard as a socialist realist. In this seminar, I focus on Shostakovich’s music to films that date from the late 1920s to the mid-1940s, while discussing the concept of scoring for a Soviet “mainstream” cinema.

To request a copy of the paper, please email Dr. Eren Tasar (

Joan Titus is an associate professor of musicology at UNC-Greensboro. Her research topics include music in screen media, cultural politics, and music and gender. Her most current projects address cultural histories of scoring for Soviet cinema, global identities in music and cinema, and women’s musical performance in contemporary Morocco. She is the author of The Early Film Music of Dmitry Shostakovich (Oxford UP, 2016).
The Carolina Seminar: Russia and Its Empires, East and West is co-sponsored by the Carolina Seminar Program, the UNC Department of History, and the Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies. Please note that the participants will give an overview of their projects, but will not read a formal paper. Instead, papers or book chapters will be circulated ahead of time to those who are interested in attending and participating in the discussion. 


March 8, 2018
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
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