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Matthews Distinguished University Professor of History Emeritus, Dept. of History

Northeastern University
Boston, MA 02115

Ph.D. (1980) and M.A. (1975), University of California, Berkeley
Slavic Languages and Literatures (Russian and Czech)
B.A.(1972)Yale University, Russian (Phi Beta Kappa, Magna cum laude)


University at Albany, State University of New York
Dept.of Slavic Languages and Literatures (1980-1994, Chairman 1992-94)
Dept.of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures (1994-96, Chairman 1994-95)

Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Dept.of Modern Languages Full Professor 1996- (Chairman 1996-99)
Dept.of History 1999- (joint appointment)
Dept.of English (Graduate Faculty)
Program in Cinema Studies 1996- (Acting Director, 1998-99)
Head Advisor, International Affairs Program 2000-2001

Russian language and literature (undergraduate and graduate), Russian Culture, Russian Music and Dance, Soviet Cinema, Russian Drama, Film Music, Modernism, Translation, Opera, Introduction to the Humanities, Exploring the Humanities Through Film, International Affairs

Lewis Milestone: Life and Films (forthcoming from University Press of Kentucky, Nov. 2019)


Sergei Prokofiev: A Biography 573 pp. Viking (1987), Paragon (1988), British and Spanish-language editions; reissued with a new foreword and afteword by Northeastern University Press, 2002 


The Last Impresario: The Life, Times and Legacy of Sol Hurok 521 pp. Viking (1994) Penguin (1995)

Selected Letters of Sergei Prokofiev Translated, edited and with an introduction by Harlow Robinson 348 pp., Northeastern University Press (1998)


Russians in Hollywood, Hollywood's Russians: Biography of an Image, University Press of New England (2007)

Articles for International Dictionary of Opera (St. James Press, 1993)
“Music,” in The Cambridge Companion to Russian Culture, Cambridge U. Press, 1998
“Composing for Victory: Classical Music in the USSR During World War II,” Culture and Entertainment in Wartime Russia, Richard Stites, ed. Indiana U.Press (1995) 62-76.
“Sergei Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and the Russian Ballet Tradition,” Crossed Stars: Artistic Sources and Social Conflict in the Ballet “Romeo and Juliet”, San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum (1994), 34-38.
“Shostakovich Symposium: Maksim Shostakovich,Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Solomon Volkov, Kenneth Kiesler,” moderated, translated and edited by Harlow Robinson in Shostakovich Reconsidered, Allan B.Ho and Dmitry Feofanov, eds., Toccata Press (1998), 373-399.
41 reviews of operas on video for Metropolitan Opera Guide to Opera on Video, Paul Gruber, ed., Norton (1997).
other scholarly articles in Opera Quarterly, Soviet Union/Union Sovietique, Russian Review, Studies in Comparative Communism, Musical Quarterly
program essays for Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Opera, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Opera Guild, Da Camera of Houston, Baltimore Symphony, Houston Grand Opera
liner notes for Sony, BMG, Dorian, Teldec, Artona, Philips, Elektra-Nonesuch, ESS.A.Y, Bridge

Regular contributor to Stagebill, New York Times Book Review


Music critic for New York Post, Los Angeles Times, Musical America


Articles published in New York Times Arts and Leisure Section, Dance Magazine, Opera News, American Record Guide, Christian Science Monitor, American Theatre, San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation, LA Weekly, Performing Arts Magazine, San Francisco Review of Books, Ballet News, Hartford Courant regular contributor to “Performance Today” on National Public Radio (1994-1999) and to Texaco-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network; appearances on “A Note to You” (WGBH, Boston), Canadian Broadcasting Corporation “Critic’s Choice,” Oregon Public Broadcasting Radio, BBC, Film Critic for KQED-FM (San Francisco, CA)

Writer, editor and on-air host for “Soviet Television Tonight” for PBS/SUNY-New York Network, six hour-long programs aired nationwide 1988-89

Consultant and interview subject for documentary on Sergei Prokofiev for German television and cable, 1998

Musical and historical consultant for PBS national broadcast of Chicago Lyric Opera production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, 1985

European Mozart Academy (Mala Wies,Poland); Sochi Musical Exhibition (Sochi,Russia); Composers Union of USSR Prokofiev Conference (Leningrad,USSR); Metropolitan Opera Guild; New York Philharmonic; Boston Symphony Orchestra; Philadelphia Orchestra; Bard Music Festival; Boston Jewish Film Festival; Westchester Philharmonic; Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Los Angeles Music Center Opera; Town Hall; Pittsburgh Symphony; Dallas Opera; Seattle Opera; Princeton University; Yale University; Williams College; Amherst College; College of William and Mary; Columbia University; University of Oregon; University of Washington; Cornell University; Southwestern University; UCLA; New York University; University of Texas; Texas A&M; Dalhousie University,
Moscow University, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Tilles Center at Long Island U., Boston University, San Francisco Symphony

Consultant to New York Philharmonic for “Ivan the Terrible” screening at Lincoln Center


Consultant to Lincoln Center for special events during complete cycle of string quartets by Dmitri Shostakovich performed by Borodin String Quartet (1994)and by Emerson String Quartet (2000)


Consultant to Lincoln Center for Martha Clarke’s Vers la flamme (1999)


Consultant to Canadian National Broadcasting series on Prokofiev and Shostakovich


Reader for St.Martin’s Press, Indiana University Press, Russian Review, Musical Quarterly, Northeastern University Press, Ashgate Publishing, State University of New York Press

Whiting Foundation Fellowship for research in Czech Republic, 2002
Vice-President, American Assoc. of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (2001-3)
Northeastern University Faculty Development Grant for research in Russia, 2002
Prague Summer Seminars, U. of New Orleans and Charles University, Prague, 2001
Associate Fellow, Davis Center for Russian Studies, Harvard University 1998-99
Summer Literary Seminars, Herzen Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia (2000)
Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Washington, D.C.), Short-term research grant (1993)
Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship (USSR, 1991-92)
IREX-Soviet Academy of Sciences Research Fellowship (USSR, 1991-92)
Soros Foundation Fellowship (1991)
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (1987, declined)
American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship (1984-85)
IREX Grad Student Research Fellowship (USSR, 1979-80)
Fulbright-Hays Grad Student Fellowship (London, Paris, 1978-79)

Private study of piano (15 years) and violin (10 years)
Choral singing at Yale University (Freshman Glee Club, Yale Russian Chorus), U.of California, Berkeley (Collegium) and in Russian Orthodox church choirs (Paris, San Francisco)
Courses in music history and theory at Yale U., UC-Berkeley, Juilliard Extension Division