Performing Pain through the Music of Galina Ustvolskaya

Soviet composer Galina Ustvolskaya wrote music that seemed to defy the rules of pain/injury prevention for pianists. Her pieces frequently ask the pianist to play with the edges of the hands, the clenched fist, or the forearms. Additionally, the expressivity of her works is extreme, with dynamics reaching cacophonous levels. Even so, what draws musicians to play her music? How did her music fit into late-Soviet society?

My guests this episode are:
•Maria Cizmic, Professor of Humanities and Cultural Studies at the University of South Florida; author of Performing Pain: Music & Trauma in Eastern Europe
•Tom Curry, Professor of Tuba & Euphonium at UW-Madison
•Iva Ugrcic, Director of LunART Festival (Madison, WI)
•Satoko Hayami, Collaborative Pianist

The music in this episode:
•Bach/Busoni, Chaconne 
•Ustvolskaya, Piano Sonata No. 6
•Ustvolskaya, Composition No. 1 (“Dona nobis pacem”) for tuba, piccolo, piano; featuring Tom Curry, Iva Ugrcic, and Vincent Fuh. Curry’s debut solo album is available from Summit Records: