Offering a rare look at the musical life of Russia Abroad as it unfolded in New York City, Natalie K. Zelensky examines the popular music culture of the post-Bolshevik Russian emigration and the impact made by this group on American culture and politics. By combining archival research with fieldwork and interviews with Russian emigres of various generations and emigration waves, this book presents a close historical and ethnographic examination of music’s potential as an aesthetic, discursive, and social space through which diasporans can engage with an idea of a mythologized homeland, and, in turn, the vital role played by music in the organization, development, and reception of Russia Abroad, from the 1920s until the present day.
Natalie K. Zelensky is an Associate Professor of Music at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Natalie’s research focus is on Russian music-making in New York within a broader framework of diaspora studies, nostalgia, and Cold War politics. She has published and presented conference papers on Russian popular and sacred music in New York City, Russian night clubs in New York, Russian-American summer camps, and underground sacred music in the Soviet Union as well as on American Classic Blues and Franco-American music in Maine. Natalie received a fellowship with the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2013 to participate in the Columbia University Harriman Institute’s “America’s Russian-Speaking Immigrants and Refugees: 20th-Century Migration and Memory.”