A discussion of Lisa Cooper Vest's recent book, Awangarda: Tradition and Modernity in Postwar Polish Music (University of California Press, 2020). The author will be joined in conversation by Joy Calico (Vanderbilt University) and Peter Schmelz (Arizona State University), moderated by Paul Lerner (USC).
About the Book:
In Awangarda: Tradition and Modernity in Postwar Polish Music, Lisa Cooper Vest explores how the Polish postwar musical avant-garde framed itself in contrast to its Western European counterparts. Rather than a rejection of the past, the Polish avant-garde movement emerged as a manifestation of national cultural traditions stretching back into the interwar years and even earlier into the nineteenth century. Polish composers, scholars, and political leaders wielded the promise of national progress to broker consensus across generational and ideological divides. Together, they established an avant-garde musical tradition that pushed against the limitations of strict chronological time and instrumentalized discourses of backwardness and forwardness to articulate a Polish road to modernity. This is a history that resists Cold War periodization, opening up new ways of thinking about nations and nationalism in the second half of the twentieth century.
About the Author:
Lisa Cooper Vest is assistant professor of musicology at the University of Southern California. Vest's work is focused on the aesthetic and political contexts of the post-WWII Polish musical avant-garde. Additionally, Vest has presented on issues of voice and gender in Krzysztof Penderecki’s 1968 opera The Devils of Loudun, and she has published about educational initiatives within the Polish Composers’ Union in the late 1950s.
This workshop is part of the Levan Institute's “Book Chats” series, a monthly conversation about new books published by USC scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.