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Grant number like: FEL-262404-19

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Pamela M. Potter
University of Wisconsin System (Madison, WI 53715-1218)

Research Programs

[Grant products]

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021

Development of Berlin as a Music Metropolis, 1880-1961

Preparation for publication of a book about the political, economic, cultural, aesthetic, and social aspects of musical culture in Berlin, Germany, from 1880 to 1961.

In the twentieth century, Berlin grew to become a world-class music metropolis, despite the turmoil of two world wars, a failed democracy, a dictatorship, and the Cold War. Yet no one has written a history of this remarkable feat, possibly because Berlin fails to meet standards generally applied in music scholarship that privilege cities such as Vienna, Leipzig, or Mannheim for their capacity to foster the creativity of leading composers. Berlin’s strength lay instead in its capacity for musical “re-creation,” pursued in performance outlets of “high” and “low” culture, educational institutes, and music industries. My book takes an interdisciplinary approach to investigate Berlin’s musical life from the reign of Wilhelm II to the building of the Berlin Wall. I draw on archival and published materials to construct a compelling case study of how the interaction of aesthetics, politics, demographics, and economics can determine whether or not the arts can prosper in an industrial age.