2008 Student Research Conference:
21st Annual Student Research Conference

Dmitri Shostakovich: Composer, Hero, and "Gentile Jew"
Eric M. Schweizer
Prof. Shirley McKamie, Faculty Mentor

Dmitri Shostakovich was a twentieth-century composer in the Soviet Union during the Stalinist era. Shostakovich's works From Jewish Folk Poetry, Op. 89 and Symphony No. 13, 'Babi Yar,' Op. 113 are two compositions which rally behind the cause of the most socially oppressed people under Stalin's rule: the Jews. Stalin’s motivation for oppressing religion, in particular Judaism, may be traced to his adoption of Marxism, and later Bolshevism, in the place of Russian Orthodoxy. These political ideologies, warped by his paranoia, led Stalin to oppress any and all who stood in the way of his pursuit of absolute power. It was the job of Shostakovich, the heroic artist, to stand up for all of the oppressed peoples in Russia, including artists and Jews. He did this through the use of literature, political statements, and Jewish cultural characteristics in his music. Through these means Shostakovich cried out against social injustice.

Keywords: Social Injustice, Religious Oppression, Babi Yar, Stalinist Russia, Jewish Culture

Topic(s):Interdisciplinary

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 37-4
Location: OP 2210
Time: 2:00

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