Ashley Holdsworth Quinn

Research title: Choral Culture in Early Twentieth Century Scotland: Music, Geopolitics, Community

Research Summary

Prior to the Revolutionary period Russian composers and musicians had already started to tour Western Europe, and the visits of some to the UK, such as Tchaikovsky, have been well-documented.  Contact between British and Russian musicians continued throughout the period of revolution and civil war in Russia, and into the early years of the Soviet regime. Professional relationships and friendship networks developed, resulting in various forms of cultural exchange: letters, concert performances by Russian musicians, and the programming of Russian music in UK concert halls. Journalistic and academic critical interest in Russian music developed simultaneously.

Much existing English-language criticism contemporary with these performances, and subsequent research into the reception of Russian music in the UK has focussed almost exclusively on performances in England. Scottish, Welsh and Irish performance cultures are frequently described as different from those prevalent in England, yet the nature of these differences is seldom specified. This research draws on archival material to identify Scottish interest in Russian music in the early decades of the twentieth century. It will map some of the channels by which musicians and music from Russia reached Scotland, and consider the significance of personal contacts within transnational professional networks of musicians, composers, publishers and academics. Finally, the research will examine the influence of Russian music and musicians on Scotland’s musical culture while simultaneously exploring Scottish perceptions of Russian music during a key period in the history of both countries.


Research interests

mobility, cultural exchange, musical diplomacy, transnationalism, reception studies, twentieth century concert culture.