February 9th, 2021

New book on the Russians in Shanghai



Networking the Russian diaspora: Russian musicians and musical activities in interwar Shanghai (2020), by Hon-Lun Helan Yang, Simo Mikkonen and John Winzenburg

From the main title (networking the diaspora, hmm...) and the image of the Orthodox Cathedral you may not guess that this is a study of the musical aspects of the diaspora experience that elaborates on the following:
• What was music's role in the Russian community and how did it serve the emigres and musicians alike?
• How did the Russian emigres interact with the international and Chinese communities through music, with primary focus on two cases: the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra (international) and the National Conservatory (Chinese)?
• What was the impact of migration on creativity, especially the works of emigre composers and concerts highlighting Russian and Chinese musicians?
• What was the Russian emigre musicians' contribution to Shanghars musical scene and the developmental trajectory of China's music?

Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION Networking the Musical Communities in Shanghai
CHAPTER 1. Between Limbo and a Haven: The Russian Émigré Community in Shanghai
CHAPTER 2. Networking the Diaspora: Musical Activities of the Russian Community
CHAPTER 3. An Imperfect Musical Haven: Russian Musicians and the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra
CHAPTER 4. Sounding Russian in a Metropolis: Russian Concerts and Soloists of the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra
CHAPTER 5. Foundations of New Chinese Music: Russian Pedagogues and Chinese Students
CHAPTER 6. From “Folk Cure” to Catharsis: Alexander Tcherepnin and New Chinese Piano Music
CHAPTER 7. Partnering with the Shanghai Arts Community: Aaron Avshalomov and Symphonic-Theatrical Experimentation

How legitimate is the "interwar" time bracket when talking about Republican China? To a student of global history in me this feels a bit Eurocentric, but I'm sure the book is fine. We need more books about Shanghai Russians!


Image: Shanghai Symphony Orchestra during an operatic performance at the Lyceum Theatre. USHMM