Musicologist Says Music Behind The Iron Curtain Is Fraught With Tension

By Paige Phelps
Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - 12:08pm
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Annette Hornischer/American Academy in Berlin
Peter Schmelz, Associate Professor of Musicology at ASU

We all know about the political tensions of the Cold War.

The Kitchen Debate and the Space Race were very public displays of a smoldering competition. But the music created behind the Iron Curtain was just as fraught, or so says Peter Schmelz, Arizona State University associate professor of musicology.

When you listen to compositions of East versus West, you hear a battle of tuneful versus ugly. Schmelz, an expert on the music of the Cold War, says this was a battle of ideas.

Now he’s been awarded 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship to further this research.

The Show spoke with Schmelz to help understand the complexities hidden within musical scores.

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