Professor Pauline Fairclough

B.A., M.A.(N'cle), Ph.D.(Manc.)

  • BS8 1SA

Personal profile

Research interests

I am a cultural historian specialising in Soviet music and the music of Dmitri Shostakovich. My first book, A Soviet Credo: Shostakovich's Fourth Symphony (Ashgate, 2006) was an in-depth study of Shostakovich's symphonic masterpiece, which had to wait twenty five years for its premiere in the post-Stalin era. My second book, funded by an AHRC Early Career Fellowship and a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship, was Classics for the Masses: Shaping Soviet Musical Identity Under Lenin and Stalin (Yale, 2016), which was co-winner of the BASEES Women's Forum Book Prize in 2018 and won the 2017 Choice award for Outstanding Academic Title. It has been translated into Spanish as Clásicos para las masas (Akal, 2021).

I have edited four volumes: The Cambridge Companion to Shostakovich (with David Fanning, Cambridge University Press, 2008), Shostakovich Studies 2 (Cambridge University Press, 2010), Twentieth Century Music and Politics: Essays in memory of Neil Edmunds (Ashgate, 2012) and 1917 and Beyond: Continuity, Rupture and Memory in Russian Music (MHRA, 2019, with Philip Bullock).

My biography of Shostakovich, written for Reaktion Books' 'Critical Lives' series, was published in 2019 and translated into Turkish in 2023.

From 2021-23 I held a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship and my study of Shostakovich's opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk for Oxford University Press's 'Keynotes' series is due to be published in 2024.

I am General Editor of Routledge's Slavonic and East European Music series and with Olga Digonskaya of the Shostakovich Archive in Moscow, I run the 'Shostakovich and his Epoch' study group of the International Musicological Society. From 2017-2022 I was an elected Vice-President of the Royal Musical Association.


Conferences organised:

'Russian and Soviet Music: Reappraisal and Rediscovery' with Patrick Zuk, Music Department, University of Durham, 11-14 July 2011.

'Shostakovich 2006: International Centenary Conference'

'1948 and all that: Music, Politics and Power in the Soviet Union' with Marina Frolova-Walker, CRASSH, University of Cambridge, 2009:

'Twentieth-century Music and Politics', Department of Music, University of Bristol, 14-16 April 2010

External positions

External Examiner, Royal Holloway University

Sept 20232027

External Examiner, BA, University of Edinburgh

1 Sept 202131 Jul 2024

Co-editor, Twentieth-Century Music

1 Jan 201831 Dec 2022

External Examiner, Music Tripos Part II, University of Cambridge

1 Jan 20181 Jul 2020

Vice President, Royal Musical Association

1 Jan 20171 Jan 2022

General Editor, Russian and East European Music Series, Routledge

1 Jan 201631 Dec 2026

Editorial Council, Art of Music. Theory and History


External Examiner, BA Music, Newcastle University

1 Jan 201431 Dec 2016

Co-Convenor, International Musicological Society Shostakovich Study Group

2012 → …

Directorium member, BASEES Russian and East European Music Study Group



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