The Politics of Culture: Historical Moments in Greek Musical Modernism

Ioannis Tsagkarakis

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis spotlights eleven formative moments or ‘events’ in the history of twentieth-century art music in Greece. They date from 1908 to 1979 and are ordered by two master narratives, the ‘Great Idea’ and the ‘European Idea’, concepts with multifarious implications for the making of contemporary Greece.
The nature of the musical works presented during these events, the particular kind of reception they received, the debates they generated, and the role their composers hoped they would play in the construction of a contemporary Greek musical identity are some of the indicative issues that will be discussed, and always in relation to the prevailing political and social context.
More specifically, I will try to show by way of these events how politics and culture were inextricably tied together. In some cases the events directly mirrored the political divisions and social tensions of their time, while in others they formed an easy (‘innocent’) prey to political agendas – indigenous and foreign – that were at some remove from matters aesthetic.
The discussion of these historical moments in the concert life of Greece is partly based on secondary sources, but it is also supported by extensive archival research.
It is hoped that both the general approach and the new findings will enrich and update the existing literature in English, and that they may even serve to stimulate further research in the music history of other countries located in the so-called margins of Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Samson, Jim, Supervisor
  • Johnson, Julian, Advisor
Award date1 Nov 2013
Publication statusUnpublished - 2013


  • Greek Music
  • Music and Politics
  • Art-music in Greece
  • Greek Musical Modernism
  • Music and Propaganda
  • Music and Cold War
  • History of Greek Music

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