Music, Diplomacy and Cold War

Meri Herrala's research project examines musician's role in the Cold War.


“In my interdisciplinary post doctoral book project Music, Diplomacy and Cold War I analyze the ways in which the superpowers — the Soviet Union and the United States — deployed their elite musicians, performance groups, etc. as instruments of “soft power” in the Cold War from 1954 until 1983.

With my case studies, I show how the signing of agreements for concert tours and recording deals for Soviet soloists connected the two superpowers to maximize their monetary profits. Cultural diplomacy also contributed to the lessening of the Cold War tensions, enhanced positive connections, and increased mutual understanding between the superpowers. I show that cultural diplomacy, which often occurred during the times when more diplomatic channels failed, played a more important role in the Cold War than previously realized.” The Music, Diplomacy and Cold War research has finished at the University of the Arts Helsinki`s History Forum on the 31st of December 2021.

Project name

Music, Diplomacy and Cold War