Centre for Russian, East-Central European and Post-Soviet Music Studies


Researchers have frequently described Russian culture of the last centuries as “logocentric” (Frolova-Walker 2007) integrating foreign influences through direct cultural contacts or various media and technologies such as translation, with scholars like Juri Lotman going so far as to propose an entire semiotic geography characterized by wave-like degrees of transcultural exchanges (2017).

With the advent of global music history studies, the notion of Russia and the Soviet Union as importing and exporting musical cultures deserves a critical reappraisal. However, musicologists and music theorists still lack an adequate vocabulary and methodology to account for the various modes of musical transfer manifest in a wide range of sources. Therefore, we propose an interdisciplinary joint hybrid panel of musicologists and music theorists to be held at the GfM and GMTH annual conferences that will take place in late September and early October 2022 in Berlin and Salzburg (GfM: 28 Sep–1 Oct; GMTH: 30 Sep–2 Oct).

We propose a special focus on compositional models and schemata, as (re)introduced in the recent musicological and music-theoretical discourse of the last two decades. For example, Gjerdingen (2007) considers schemata as basic analytical units operating on different musical levels; Kaiser (1995), Fladt (2005), and Aerts (2007) approach models of harmony, voice-leading, and syntax as formulas or ‘/topoi/’ that, drawing from Dahlhaus, function as superordinate semantic agents.

Through our research we have found that protagonists in Russia were often more conscious about the implications of musical transfer than scholarship in the West might suggest. The increasing institutionalization of music education in conservatories and similar organizations throughout the Russian 19th-century hints at musical

models as resulting from an “educationalization of the world” (Tröhler 2013) that understood music as an array of individually teachable elements. Following Druskin’s work on Stravinsky and Parisian musical life around 1900 (1973) and its further development among his lesser-known pupils, it seems possible to devise an approach to implementing compositional models in musicological research, contextualizing their cultural origins and hermeneutics, and investigating both the structural and aesthetical aspects of model and schema theory.


Papers may address but are not limited to the following themes:


  • Compositional models as means of cultural transfer between Russia and the West,
  • Model and schema terminology and models as analytical categories in Russian scholarship,
  • Reception of Russian and Soviet music scholarship abroad,
  • We especially encourage submissions related to the 150th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Scriabin, investigating aspects of his work and the scholarship induced by it.


Please submit A 300–500-WORD ABSTRACT and A SHORT BIOGRAPHY to

Patrick Becker-Naydenov <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> and Wendelin Bitzan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> BY 2 JANUARY 2022. We will inform about the outcome of the selection process within two weeks after the deadline and prepare our panel proposal to the conference organizers during January 2022.


We are aware of the structural inequalities in global academia and material challenges to knowledge production. Therefore, we will apply for funding of bursaries to the presenters and, thus, especially hope to encourage researchers from outside the German-speaking and Western area to submit.