Event—Adult Education

The Russians Are Coming: Repression in Russian Music, from Tchaikovsky to Shostakovich


Guided by the music and lives of Borodin, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, and others, this class will journey through the brilliance of Russian music history.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Source: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Class Description

You don’t need to be a Russophile to appreciate Russian music. 19th- and 20th-century Russian music is some of the most brilliant, moving, and technically difficult of all time. We Westerners know little about the roots of this vast body of work.

Russia was a late bloomer in developing traditional classical music due to suppression by the Orthodox Church. Peter The Great saw European music as a mark of civilization and a way of westernizing his country. He began his focus on European music. Repression of Russian art and music continues to this day.

Our class will journey through Russian music history from the 1800s through late 20th century. We will be guided by the music and lives of Borodin, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, and others using the visual arts, audio media, contemporary readings, and performances of their music. This is a class for music aficionados and those who would just like to explore a musical heritage little known to many Westerners.

Glenn Derringer began his musical career at age 9, appearing on the Jackie Gleason Show, Perry Como, and as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra. After graduation from Temple University, he held executive positions with Wurlitzer, Baldwin, Gibson Guitar, and taught music for more than 40 years.

Materials List

  • No required materials

First Reading:

Please read the following articles before the first session:

Cost and Registration

Six sessions, $235 ($210 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant. Register

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