A virtual lecture entitled “Music and Resilience in Early Postwar Poland” will be presented by Mackenzie Pierce, assistant professor of musicology at the University of Michigan, on October 28. This event is hosted by U-M’s Center for Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies (CREES) in the ‘CREES Noon Lecture’ series. Registration for this Zoom webinar is required at http://myumi.ch/dOX55.
This talk examines the composers who survived the Second World War in Poland and the music they wrote during the war’s aftermath. It analyzes longer-range continuities in composition in Poland across the war period. To do so, Dr. Pierce examines previously unconsidered archival materials to show how the wartime survival of the composers Tadeusz Zygfryd Kassern, Zygmunt Mycielski, and Roman Palester informed their postwar aesthetics. He shows how these individual reactions to the war gained—or failed to gain—broader social support. Ultimately, he argues, these composers reactivated deep-seated beliefs about the power of the aesthetic to mediate individual and collective experience, bolstering an expressive, emotional musical style that would resonate through postwar Polish composition for years to come.
Mackenzie Pierce is assistant professor of musicology at the School of Music, Theater & Dance at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the cultural aftermath of WWII among Poland’s composers, musicologists, and performers, and he has overseen world and US premieres of the works of Roman Palester and Tadeusz Zygfryd Kassern, among others. His articles appear in 19th-Century Music, The Journal of Musicology, and The Cambridge Companion to Music and Fascism. His research has been supported through fellowships from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews, and the Kościuszko Foundation.