Communist Modernism: Music, Politics, and Cultural Theory in the German Democratic Republic
Golan Gur’s project addresses the musical culture of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), focusing on the interrelations between political power, cultural institutions, and aesthetic thought. At the center of his research is the work of émigré composers and musicologists who returned to the new East German state after 1945, in particular Hanns Eisler, Ernst Hermann Meyer, and Georg Knepler. Situating their work and ideas in the context of communist politics and cultural theory, Gur argues that East Germany gave rise to a unique Marxist outlook on musical culture, one that was reflected in conflicting interpretations of social and historical reality. Gur’s research uses a philosophical and interdisciplinary approach to explore notions of socialist realism and social function and, by extension, their implications for a sociological music historiography and aesthetics.
Golan Gur is a musicologist specializing in the aesthetics and cultural history of music. He completed his doctoral studies in Music Sociology and the Social History of Music at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He has served as a Newton International Fellow at the University of Cambridge and as a Research Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Herbert D. Katz Center.
“The Other Marxism: Georg Knepler and the Anthropology of Music”, in: Musicologia Austriaca: Journal for Austrian Music Studies 1, Vienna 2016; “Classicism as Anti-Fascist Heritage: Realism and Myth in Ernst Hermann Meyer’s Mansfelder Oratorium (1950)”, in: Kyle Frackman and Larson Powell (ed.), Classical Music in the German Democratic Republic: Production and Reception, Rochester 2015, pp. 34–57; Orakelnde Musik: Schönberg, der Fortschritt und die Avantgarde, Kassel et al. 2013.
IFK_Research Fellow Golan Gur about the Viennese-born musicologist Georg Knepler (1906-2003), in: Musicologica Austriaca, 07/05/2016
Socialist realism was the main aesthetic doctrine and cultural policy of the socialist countries. Drawing on a cultural approach, Golan Gur explores the implications of this doctrine to music aesthetics in the GDR in view of the political experiences and convictions of Hanns Eisler and other émigré composers and musical thinkers.