Music and politics may seem like an unlikely pair for subject matter, but they turn out to be relevant in today’s heavily political and pop-culture oriented world.
Conductor and Saddleback instructor Carmen Dominguez hosted a lecture on music and the oppression of politics throughout history in a one hour feature. Dominguez focused on a few key examples of how music had been hindered, or attempted to be hindered.
During World War II and the attempted occupation of Leningrad by the Germans, no one was able to get in or out of the country for 900 days. The Russians however, decided to premiere Dmitri Shostakovich’s seventh symphony with speakers placed around the city for German soldiers to hear. It is historical examples such as this that proved how powerful music is, and how it is shaped by the particular politics of the day.
Dominguez went on to explain how music is carried throughout the world by travelers. People take aspects of their culture and help to spread the seed of their culture into another.
“When we travel, we carry the culture of the spirit of our people,” Dominguez said. “Music is serving the purpose of capturing the spirit of a people.”
Music can be a tool to bring the world together, but it can also be used as propaganda to tear us apart.
Music was smothered in the media around the time of World War II and the establishment of the House Un-American Committee (HUAC), which brought much of Hollywood under fire for possibly being involved with communism. The HUAC brought in stars such as Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart to testify on whether or not they sympathized with the communist party. Composers such as Aaron Copland were also brought under fire by HUAC, threatening to destroy the artists’ careers should they answer any questions wrong.
Acts and committees such as these have been around throughout history to put a cap on music and stop the creativity of society.
Besides Dominguez, several additional fine arts faculty members expressed their views on the subject.
“I really enjoyed hearing the professors speak,” said Rhea D’aliesio, 19, vocal performance. “It was very nice and refreshing.”
Once a month at noon a free concert is hosted in FA 101 for anyone who wishes to attend, highlighting a variety of music.