Music and Nature: Between Scientific Reason and Divine Power

The Stony Brook University Music Department announces its Fourth Annual Graduate Student Symposium, to be held February 14-15, 2014.

The symposium will feature a keynote address by Holly Watkins (Eastman School of Music), as well as the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra concert with works by Richard Strauss, Hindemith and Bartòk.

Music has always involved nature by imitating its sounds, referring to it in texts set by composers, and more recently by means of recording technology. As environmental awareness has become more widespread, an increasing number of musicological works have engaged with ecological questions.

Since Ancient Greece, thought about music has considered its relationships to nature, as both philosophy and physics were concerned with the nature of musical sound. The concept of nature itself has been constantly changing throughout history and Aristotle’s idea that understanding of nature involves understanding of change is still valid today. The broad conception of nature includes the essential quality of things, the inherent force that directs either the world or humans, and the material world itself.

We welcome the Symposium participants to explore these various conceptions of nature and how they relate to historical, social, philosophical and scientific manifestations in music, and also invite composers to share of their works that involve sounds of nature. The topics may include, but are not limited to:
• musical depictions of nature and supernatural;
• natural beauty versus artificial artworks;
• acoustics and the nature of musical sound;
• naturalistic music theories;
• the “natural genius” or cults of genius;
• performing in a natural way;
• gender, sexuality, and revealing human nature in music;
• nature versus industry at the age of modernity;
• sounds of nature in electronic works;
• sound studies in the era of changing technology;
• acoustemology, local musical ecology and soundscape;
• political ecology in musical works;
• bodily engagement in music experience.
We invite submissions of 250-word abstracts for 20-minute papers, 30-minute composer presentations and 40-minute lecture recitals. Proposals for composer talks should include a description of the proposed work and a short biography.

Please submit proposals to musicgradsymposium@stonybrook.edu by Friday, December 6 2013. Stony Brook (NY, US) is accessible via JFK and MacArthur Airport, the Long Island Rail Road, and the Bridgeport/Port Jefferson ferry. Housing with Stony Brook graduate students may be available for presenters staying overnight. For more information, please visit http://sbugradsymposium.blogspot.com

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