Nicolas Nabokov: A Life in Freedom and Music

ISBN : 9780199399895

Vincent Giroud
584 ページ
163 x 237 mm

Composer and cultural official Nicolas Nabokov (1903-78) led an unusual life even for a composer who was also a high-level diplomat. Nabokov was for nearly three decades an outstanding and far-sighted player in international cultural exchanges during the Cold War, much admired by some of the most distinguished minds of his century for the range of his interests and the breadth of his vision. Nicolas Nabokov: A Life in Freedom and Music follows Nabokov's life through its fascinating details: a privileged Russian childhood before the Revolution; exile, first to Germany, then to France; the beginnings of a promising musical career, launched under the aegis of Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes with Ode in 1928; his twelve-year "American exile" during which he occupied several academic positions; his return to Europe after the war to participate in the denazification of Germany; his involvement in anti-Stalinist causes in the first years of the Cold War; his participation in the Congress for Cultural Freedom; his role as cultural adviser to the Mayor of Berlin and director of the Berlin Festival in the early 1960s; the resumption of his American academic and musical career in the late 1960s and 1970s. Nabokov is unique not only in that he was involved on a high level in international cultural politics, but also in that his life intersected at all times with a vast array of people within, and also well beyond, the confines of classical music. Drawing on a vast array of primary sources, Vincent Giroud's first-ever biography of Nabokov will be of interest readers interested in twentieth-century music, Russian music, Russian emigration, and the Cold War, particularly in its cultural aspects. Musicians and musicologists interested in Nabokov as a composer, or in twentieth century Russian composers in general, will find in the book information not available anywhere else.


Note on transliteration of Russian names and phrases
Chapter 1: The Lubcza Years
Chapter 2: The Petersburg Years
Chapter 3: The Road to Exile
Chapter 4: In Stuttgart and Berlin
Chapter 5: Paris Debuts
Chapter 6: Successes and Frustrations
Chapter 7: New Exile
Chapter 8: Engagement and Americanization
Chapter 9: In Wartime Washington
Chapter 10: In Postwar Germany
Chapter 11: Music and the Cold War
Chapter 12: Moving Center Stage
Chapter 13: Masterpieces of the Twentieth Century
Chapter 14: Culture Generalissimo
Chapter 15: The Rasputin Years
Chapter 16: Disenchantment and New Departure
Chapter 17: Berlin, Don Quixote, and the CIA
Chapter 18: Love's Labours Won
Checklist of Nabokov's Works and Writings
Works Consulted


Born in France and educated at Oxford, Vincent Giroud is a cultural historian who has taught in French, British, and American institutions. He served for many years as curator of modern books and manuscripts at Yale and is currently Professor of English and Comparative Literature at The University of Franche-Comte.