Music Societies

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Music Societies


groups of professional musicians and music lovers who join together to promote the performance, popularization, and study of certain forms of music. Both national and international music societies are devoted to performance (orchestral, choral, or chamber music societies), composition (composers’ or musicological societies), or scholarly and educational work.

The first music societies, known as music academies, arose in 16th-century Italy and were concerned primarily with the performance of musical compositions (by the societies’ own members). In the 17th century a type of music society called the Collegium musicum appeared in Germany and a number of other European countries. In the 19th century, male choral societies, Liedertafeln, became popular in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and elsewhere (the first appeared in Berlin, 1809). Later, amateur choral societies known as Orphéons appeared in France (the first, in 1835). Music societies became very widespread in the 19th century, particularly in Germany.

In Russia, music societies first appeared in the late 18th century. The first major society, uniting professional orchestral musicians, was the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Society, which was founded in 1802 and which regularly arranged concerts of symphonic music and oratorios. In 1840 the Symphonic Society was founded in St. Petersburg. The Concert Society, which was devoted to the popularization of classical music, was founded in the Russian capital in 1850; in 1859 the Russian Music Society was organized. Music societies in Moscow have included the Russian Choral Society, which was founded in 1878, and the Moscow Philharmonic Society, which was established in 1883. Other music societies included the St. Petersburg Chamber Music Society (1872–1915), the Circle of Russian Music Lovers (1896–1912, Moscow), the House of Song (1908–18, Moscow), and the Library of Music Theory (1908–24, Moscow).

After the Great October Socialist Revolution, public music organizations were organized. These include the Modern Music Association (1923-early 1930’s, Leningrad and Moscow), the Russian Association of Proletarian Musicians (1923–32), the Association of Revolutionary Composers and Musical Workers (1925–32), and the N. D. Leontovich All-Ukrainian Society (1921–28). From 1931 to 1935 the International Music Bureau, an association of workers’ and revolutionary music organizations of Austria, Germany, the USA, the USSR, France, and Japan, was located in Moscow. The Composers’ Union of the USSR was founded in Moscow in 1932, and the All-Russian Choral Society in 1957.

In other countries, including socialist countries, there are many associations of composers and performers, as well as international music societies, many of which belong to the International Music Council of UNESCO (founded in Paris, 1949).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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