Rethinking Russian music

Russian composer Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev (1891-1953) (credit: George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress)

Russian music and musical life from around 1840 to the post-Soviet era has long been misrepresented. The music of the 19th century was characterised as exotic and folk-like while only a very few Soviet composers were considered worthy of critical attention.

Through extensive archival research, Marina Frolova-Walker debunked many of these myths, significantly raising awareness of lesser-known composers from the Soviet era and offering new perspectives on Russian music.

Frolova-Walker’s career-long research and public engagement in the area of Russian music has made her the indispensable voice of Russian music for the UK and, increasingly, international audiences.

Through BBC appearances, participation in the Bard Festival (New York), public lectures, pre-concert talks and publications for general audiences in the UK, US, Russia, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg, Frolova-Walker has deepened public understanding of Russian music in this era.

Her research has also directly benefitted practitioners, including radio producers and presenters (particularly at the BBC), festival organisers and arts organisations, whose programming she has guided. Her research has also had an impact on professional creative practice, influencing the interpretation and creation of musical works, including the award-winning soundtrack to The Death of Stalin (2017).

“[Frolova-Walker] was simply brilliant: one of the best guests I’ve ever had on the programme. The perfect amalgam of erudition, specific detail, broad brush, wit and humour.”

– Host of BBC Radio 3’s Composer of the Week