April 23, 2001
Director of Media

AMHERST, Mass.— Peter A. Kupfer, a graduating senior at Amherst College, has been awarded a J. William Fulbright Fellowship for postgraduate study overseas. Kupfer, son of Carl and Carola Kupfer of Highland Park, Ill., will study how the cultural identity of the German Democratic Republic was embodied and reflected in the treatment of opera at the Komische Oper in East Berlin.

“How can such seemingly simple black marks on a white page create so many totally dissimilar, yet equally feasible, worlds?” Kupfer asked about music in his Fulbright proposal. “Not only did the East German government need to control music being composed during the Cold War, but it also needed to reconcile the music of the great German composers with its political agenda.”

Kupfer plans to examine the records and documents of the Komische Oper kept at the Deutsches Musikarchiv in Berlin, and to interpret their ideological importance in his studies in the Lehrgebiet fuer Musiksoziologie in the Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar at the Humboldt Universitaet.

A music, German studies and computer science major at Amherst, Kupfer has been president of the Amherst College Orchestra, in which he also played bassoon. He also played on the ultimate frisbee team and was president of the German House. Upon completing the Fulbright Kupfer plans to attend graduate school or work in the computer industry.

Congress created the Fulbright Program in 1946 to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges. Senator J. William Fulbright, sponsor of the legislation, viewed scholarship as an alternative to armed conflict. Today the Fulbright Program, the federal government’s premier scholarship program, funded by an annual Congressional appropriation and contributions from other participating countries, allows Americans to study or conduct research in over 100 nations.