Provincial Conflicts: Concerning the Issue of “the Center vs the Periphery” in the Activities of the Imperial Russian Musical Society

Vera B. Valkova


The article examines two particularly exemplary episodes in the development of the relations between the center
and the periphery of the Imperial Russian Musical Society (IRMS) at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries – the conflicts
involving the personalities of the directors of the Musical Colleges of the Tambov and Rostov-on-Don affiliated with
the IRMS: Solomon Starikov and Matvey Pressman. On the basis of archival sources, the similarities and differences of
both conflicting situations, as well as the role in them of the St. Petersburg Main Directorate of the IRMS, are traced out.
Special attention is allocated to the “Jewish question,” which turned out to be important in both of the conflicts.
The article comes to the conclusion that the mutual relations of the Main Directorate and the representatives of
regional authorities (including the sections of the IRMS) uncover a deep mental and moral fissure: justice and delicacy
on the part of the enlightened metropolitan directorate, as opposed to the petty interests of provincial society, remote
from genuine creative goals. It is presumed that the reason for this was the gulf on the level of cultural development
between the capital cities characteristic for Russian culture, as well as an insufficiently effectiveness of the organizational
structure of the IRMS.

Keywords: The Imperial Russian Musical Society, Tambov, Rostov-on-Don, Solomon Starikov, Matvey Pressman.

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