Gerhard's Cultural Milieu: An Explorer and a Survivor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter discusses the duality at the heart of Gerhard’s exile in England –the desire to pursue advanced compositional exploration and the need to survive as a freelance composer. The chapter draws on Hansard, the parliamentary record to provide a detailed understanding of the political milieu Gerhard encountered on his arrival as an exile in England in 1939. It situates Gerhard within the wider émigé community demonstrating how he remained an ‘outsider’ both in terms of his pro-Modernist aesthetic vision as well as his decision to remain a freelance composer rather than seek an academic position. Gerhard’s alignment with European Modernism, particularly from the early 1950s onwards, is discussed with reference to his association with Glock and the agenda he pursued at the BBC and the implications of this in the post-Glock era. At the heart of the chapter is an investigation of the wide range of influences on Gerhard’s work using DNA in Reflection (1963) as a case study. The chapter presents the first in-depth contextual study of this work–highlighting the duality of the composer’s radical experiments in electronic music and the commercial imperatives of an exiled composer through the release of ‘cues’ from this work as library music.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoberto Gerhard
Subtitle of host publicationRe-Appraising a Musical Visionary in Exile
EditorsMonty Adkins, Rachel E. Mann
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9780191991752
ISBN (Print)9780197267134
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the British Academy
PublisherOxford University Press
ISSN (Print)0068-1202


Dive into the research topics of 'Gerhard's Cultural Milieu: An Explorer and a Survivor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this