German, Nordic, and Slavic, UW-Madison; Director, Center for German and European Studies
Resident Fellow, IRH
At the end of World War II, musical activity in Berlin came back to life at an alarming rate. This presentation will explore the reasons for this rapid revitalization by looking at the competition for German reeducation among Allied occupation forces, the remarkable persistence of Berlin’s reputation as a musical mecca over several decades of political turmoil, and Berlin’s place in the longer history of music as a centerpiece of German national identity.
Pamela Potter, Professor in the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic, specializes in relating music, the arts, and the writing of cultural history to ideological, political, social, and economic conditions in twentieth-century Germany. She is the author of Most German of the Arts: Musicology and Society from the Weimar Republic to the End of Hitler's Reich (1998; German ed. 2000; Portuguese ed. 2015; Chinese ed. forthcoming) and Art of Suppression: Confronting the Nazi Past in Histories of the Visual and Performing Arts (2016). She is co-editor of Music and German National Identity (2002) and Music and World War II (forthcoming). Previous honors include the Alfred Einstein Award of the American Musicological Society, the Vilas Associate Award, the Romnes Faculty Fellowship, and the Kellett Mid-Career Award, in addition to fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the German Academic Exchange, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council.
Image: Sergiu Celibidache conducting Beethoven’s Egmont overture in the ruins of the Philharmonie concert hall, 1950. Image credits: still from documentary film Ambassadors of Music (Botschafter der Musik), reproduced in Gerhard Forck, ed., Variationen mit Orchester: 125 Jahre Berliner Philharmoniker, Vol. II (Berlin: Henschel, 2007), p. 257.