Close Encounters With Music Presents “Russian and Soviet Film Music: A Tuneful Survey” with Timothy Sergay

In a lecture illustrated with film clips, Professor Timothy Sergay of UAlbany will present an overview of Russian and Soviet film music. His focus will be not only the famous contributions of Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich, but also lesser known master Georgi Sviridov, the Soviet adoption of the Hollywood musical genre in the 1930s, the cultural role songs created for Soviet films, and the influence of Russian music on Hollywood film scores. Other composers to be discussed will include non-Russians, such as the Armenian composers Aram Khachaturian (soundtrack for Spartacus) and his student, Mikael Tariverdiev (more than 100 film scores!), as well as the Italian Ennio Morricone. The talk will conclude with a review of the conventions of Hollywood’s musical representation of Russia and the world beyond the Iron Curtain.
Timothy D. Sergay is a scholar and translator of Russian with multiple MA degrees in Russian language and literature—from the University of Michigan, Middlebury College Russian School, the Pushkin Institute of Russian Language in Moscow, and Yale University.  His Yale doctoral dissertation was on the Christian sensibility of novelist and poet Boris Pasternak. (Pasternak is known in the West mostly for his novel Doctor Zhivago and the Nobel Prize he was forced to decline in 1958.)
The Russian contribution to the art of film has been considerable, leaving a lasting impression on the industry.  Among the most famous collaborations between directors and composers was between Sergei Eisenstein and Prokofiev in Alexander Nevsky 1938) and Ivan the Terrible Parts I and II.  Recognized as a powerful tool for conveying messages and propaganda, later Soviet film became subject to almost total state control.  Professor Sergay will guide us through the meandering trail of early film music through the important period of the twenties, to the social realist Stalinist period and on to post-Glasnost.
“RUSSIAN AND SOVIET FILM MUSIC,” Sunday, April 22 at Edith Wharton’s The Mount is part of a series of intimate and stimulating conversations about music and ideas, an intrinsic part of the Close Encounters With Music season. “Conversations With…” has presented such notable cultural personages as writer, editor and Bob Dylan biographer Seth Rogovoy; composer, National Endowment grantee and Guggenheim Fellow composer Judith Zaimont; baritone and actor Benjamin Luxon; Emmy Award-winning animator, illustrator, cartoonist and children’s book author R.O. Blechman; art restorer David Bull; Academy Award nominee Daniel Anker and Directors Guild of America Award winner Peter Rosen; scholar, performer and multimedia artist Robert Winter; former Yankee, author and sportscaster Jim Bouton; Metropolitan Opera costume designer Charles Caine, and  award-winning poet Charles Coe.
TICKETS for this event are $20 and are available on the Close Encounters website –, at 800-843-0778, or at the door. Light refreshments, following the presentation, are included.
Close Encounters With Music stands at the intersection of music, art and the vast richness of Western culture. Entertaining, erudite and lively commentary from founder and Artistic director Yehuda Hanani puts composers and their times in perspective to enrich the concert experience. Since the inception of its Commissioning Project in 2001, CEWM has worked with the most distinguished composers of our time: Thea Musgrave, Paul Schoenfield, Robert Beaser, Osvaldo Golijov, Lera Auerbach, Jorge Martin, John Musto, among others to create important new works that have already taken their place in the chamber music canon and on CD. A core of brilliant performers includes pianists Roman Rabinovich, Ran Dank, Walter Ponce, Soyeon Kate Lee, Michael Chertock and Jeffrey Swann; violinists Vadim Gluzman, Itamar Zorman, Hagai Shaham, Daniel Phillips and Erin Keefe; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein and Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Jennifer Rivera, Kelley O’Connor, and Danielle Talamantes; the Escher, Dover, Ariel, Muir, Manhattan, and Avalon quartets; and guitarist Eliot Fisk. Choreographer David Parsons and actors Richard Chamberlain, Jane Alexander and Sigourney Weaver have also appeared as guests, weaving narration and dance into the fabric of the programs.
The Mount, a National Historic Landmark, is a cultural center that celebrates the intellectual, artistic, and humanitarian legacy of Edith Wharton. The estate, designed and built by Edith Wharton in 1902, embodies the principles outlined in her influential book, The Decoration of Houses (1897). In addition to the mansion, the property includes three acres of formal gardens, including a French flower garden and an Italian white garden. Extensive woodscapes surround the formal gardens. Each year, The Mount hosts over 30,000 visitors. Daily tours of the property are offered May-October with special events throughout the year. Annual summer programming includes Wharton on Wednesdays, Music After Hours, and the popular Monday Lecture Series.  Exhibitions explore themes from Wharton’s life and work.
Close Encounters With Music
Post Office Box 34
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Close Encounters on the Radio/Podcast
Close Encounters With Music concerts are broadcast on WMHT-FM, and audiences are encouraged to tune in to the new weekly broadcasts of “Classical Music According to Yehuda” on WAMC Northeast Radio or visit
Grand Piano Trios–Mendelssohn and Smetana
Sunday, April 29, 3PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA
The Faux and the Fabulous–ACRONYM Ensemble
Saturday, May 12, 6PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA
Gala:  Lenny at 100—Feel the BERNstein!
Saturday, June 9, 6PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA
The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center is located at 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA.
Saint James Place is located at 352 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA.
A reception with light refreshments follows each concert October through May. A Patrons Gala Reception follows the June concert.


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