Dictators and their Puppets: Musicians who advocated for musical integrity in twentieth-century regimes
MetadataShow full item record
In the ruthless dictatorships of the Twentieth Century, specifically Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s USSR, and Mao’s China, musicians maintained a high degree of social and political influence. From a musical standpoint, interaction between despots and musicians had a profound impact on the quality and quantity of music created during these eras. What do societies owe musicians in order to facilitate their creative output, and, in return, what do musicians owe society as artists? Personal accounts from Winifred Wagner, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Arnold Schoenberg, Dmitry Shostakovich, Yin Chengzong, and those who knew them, exhibit direct interactions between dictators and musicians. This focus on specific relationships demonstrates the extent of political control. Although viewing these regimes’ atrocities as bygone history is convenient, oppressive governments continue to blight humanity today, and musicians have a unique ability to respond.
- Music