Rebranding Tchaikovsky: Homosexuality & the Reception of a Russian Cultural Icon

FEB 11, 2014 | 5:30 PM TO 7:30 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue


9100: Skylight Room


February 11, 2014: 5:30 PM-7:30 PM





Barry S. Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation


The seminar revisits important issues in the reception history of Tchaikovsky, both in Russia and abroad, in light of recent events in Russia that have brought to the fore once again the thorny issue of the composer’s homosexuality. Far from being an ancillary question in the reception of Tchaikovsky’s music, his sexual orientation has historical and aesthetic significance insofar as it colored the cultural construction of a perceived national icon. The current cultural environment in Russia is a clear indication that this question continues to intrigue and divide scholars, politicians, and the public. The seminar will address the implications of Tchaikovsky’s sexuality for his career and his relationship to the Russian establishment of his time, his strategies for negotiating social stigma, and the repercussions of his homosexuality for the reception of his music.

Prof. Simon Morrison
Professor of Music at Princeton University

James Melo
Musicologist for the Ensemble for the Romantic Century and
Senior Editor at RILM Abstracts of Music Literature

Presented by the Barry S. Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation, CUNY, and the Ensemble for the Romantic Century in connection with ERC’s theatrical concert Tchaikovsky: None but the Lonely Heart,
at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, March 5-9, 2014

To find out more about ERC’s theatrical concerts, visit our website: