Music Research Seminar: Music in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War

Date & time

3.30pm 26 March 2015


Kingsland Room
Level 6, ANU School of Music




Yolanda Acker


Dr Kate Bowam
02 6125 4251
Globe with headphones

In recent years the subject of music and war has captured the attention of music scholars and historians, as part of a wider academic interest in the social and cultural history of modern warfare. In Spain, while some very valuable work has been done since the beginning of the Democracy on the state of certain areas of the performing arts during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), including theatre and cinema, music has been largely ignored: in the majority of studies of twentieth-century Spanish music and biographies of Spanish musicians and composers, this period is often avoided or simply overlooked. Most treat these years as musically barren and resume their discussions with the Nationalists’ victory and the installation of Franco’s dictatorship in April 1939. While the issue of composers and musicians who went into exile in countries including England and Mexico has been examined in some detail, those who remained in Spain during the conflict have received less attention. Bibliography in the English-speaking world on twentieth-century Spanish music in general is very scarce, to say nothing of a study exclusively focusing on music during the Civil-War period.

This study proposes to fill in the gaps in our knowledge of many aspects of music in Spain during the Civil War, focusing on the nation’s capital, Madrid (as one of the Republican strongholds, together with Valencia and Barcelona as temporary capitals of the Republic), examining the city's musical and concert life during this period, and revealing that —contrary to the view traditionally given in Spanish music historiography, and although music making was undoubtedly affected by the conflict— it did not come to a complete halt as a result of it.

Updated:  12 June 2013/Responsible Officer:  Head, School of Music/Page Contact:  Development Officer