Music and the Archive

“Discover Prokofiev: Music and the Archive” is a unique program that brings together live music and documentary archives. Cynthia Liu, CC ’18, performs three solo piano works that highlight Prokofiev’s virtuosity as a composer and foreground the notions of interruption and irony, themes that recur brilliantly and tragically in Prokofiev’s art and life. Archivist Natalia Ermolaev (GSAS ‘10), an alumnus of  Columbia’s Department of Slavic Languages, complements the music with insights from the archive, illustrating the importance of documentary traces in mapping the complex, transnational impact of Prokofiev’s music for the last century.

See the recap of the November event in Paris – including photos and video clips – on Columbia Global Center | Paris website. 


Three works by Sergei Prokofiev (1891 – 1953)

Sonata No. 2 in d minor, Op. 14
I. Allegro ma non troppo – Più mosso – Tempo primo
II. Scherzo – Allegro marcato
III. Andante
IV. Vivace – Moderato – Vivace

Toccata in C Major, Op. 11

Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Op. 82
I. Allegro moderato
II. Allegretto
III. Tempo di valzer lentissimo
IV. Vivace

Cynthia (Cindy) Liu (CC ‘18) is a senior pursuing a B.A. in English and Sociology. Since beginning piano studies at age six, first with her teacher emeritus, Elena Arsenyev, and now her mentor, Dr. Magdalena Stern-Baczewska, Cindy has enjoyed performances in New York’s Carnegie and Steinway Halls; Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center Concert Hall and Hungarian & Austrian embassies; her parents’ hometowns in China, Beijing and Neixiang; Toronto; and Paris. Cindy is writing her Sociology thesis, entitled, “Why Have There Been No Great Female Musicians?: Occupational Barriers to Women in the Classical Music Industry,” and has carried out research on Sergei Prokofiev’s formative time in Paris, presented in a paper entitled “Prolific, Passionate, Pivotal: Prokofiev in Paris.”

Natalia Ermolaev (GSAS ‘10) is the archivist for the Serge Prokofiev Archive at Columbia University. She has a PhD in Russian Literature from Columbia (2010) and a Master’s in Library Science from Rutgers University (2013). Natalia specializes in the Russian émigré community in interwar Paris, and was a Reid Hall Fellow in summer 2006. Working at the intersection of archival studies, information science, and literary history, Natalia is the Assistant Director of the Center for Digital Humanities at Princeton University.

This event is sponsored by: Columbia Global Centers | Paris; Department of Music, Columbia University; the Harriman Institute at Columbia University; Columbia University Club of France; Columbia Undergraduate Programs in Paris;  Fritz Reiner Center for Contemporary Music; Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University