Between East and West: Ideology, aesthetics and politics in the musical relations between Sweden and the GDR 1949-1989


The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies

Project type


In this project we study the musical relations between Sweden and the GDR. We focus on the connections between esthetic and musical ideas and political ideology and we analyze the influence of the musical relations on cultural politics during the Cold War. The project consists of three sub-projects: The first sub-project studies the exchange of artists, groups, orchestras and musical productions between Sweden and the GDR, the second sub-project analyzes interpretations of "the German musical heritage", and the third project examines the connections within musicology. It also focus on interpretations of "socialistic realism" in music and the meaning of "folkmusic".

We are studying material from German and Swedish archives and conduct interviews with contemporary witnesses. The theoretical approach is inspired of "historie croisée" and some important key words in our study are culture, nation, cultural transfer and transnationalism.

Ursula Geisler, docent i musikvetenskap, Växjö universitet

Henrik Rosengren, docent i historia, Lunds universitet

Research area / geographic area

Historical and Contemporary Studies Ethnology Historical Studies Art & culture Baltic Eastern Europe

Project time

2016 — 2019


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