Branding Brussels Musically: Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism in the Interwar Years Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Hughes, Catherine
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Music, Musicology Graduate Program
  • In Belgium, constructions of musical life in Brussels between the World Wars varied widely: some viewed the city as a major musical center, and others framed the city as a peripheral space to its larger neighbors. Both views, however, based the city's identity on an intense interest in new foreign music, with works by Belgian composers taking a secondary importance. This modern and cosmopolitan concept of cultural achievement offered an alternative to the more traditional model of national identity as being built solely on creations by native artists sharing local traditions. Such a model eluded a country with competing ethnic groups: the Francophone Walloons in the south and the Flemish in the north. Openness to a wide variety of music became a hallmark of the capital's cultural identity. As a result, the forces of Belgian cultural identity, patriotism, internationalism, interest in foreign culture, and conflicting views of modern music complicated the construction of Belgian cultural identity through music. By focusing on the work of the four central people in the network of organizers, patrons, and performers that sustained the art music culture in the Belgian capital, this dissertation challenges assumptions about construction of musical culture. Paul Collaer, Henry Le Boeuf, Corneil de Thoran, and Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians each responded to the cultural and political forces by supporting the newest in music and Belgian composers, drawing from both cosmopolitan and nationalist impulses in their organization of performances. This dissertation contributes to current discussions in musicology about processes of cross-cultural exchange, cultural appropriation, and cosmopolitanism. It also enriches current understanding of the roles of patrons, concert organizers, and institutional directors in the circulation of new music and the construction and conception of cohesive musical cultures. Finally, it offers a framework with which musicologists might consider local music identities in smaller European cultural centers that fostered cosmopolitan attitudes and established identities distinct from those of such dominant international cities as Paris, London, and Vienna.
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  • In Copyright
  • Rivers Ndaliko, Chérie
  • Nádas, John Louis
  • Dufour, Valérie
  • Fauser, Annegret
  • Bonds, Mark Evan
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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