Towards the Origin of Music. Myths, Legends, and Historiographies in Interdisciplinary Discourses

Symposium, University of Berne, Switzerland Institute of Musicology, 19th&20th November 2015

Call for Papers (deadline for proposals: 31st July 2015)

„The origin of music is obscure“ (Bruno Nettl). Hitherto, thinking about the beginning of music and its representation occurred only sporadically – , especially in the context of myth and religion – and here mostly with sober perplexity. Strikingly, stories about the origin of music in history arise where different developments of music take place, namely as a way of thinking about stylistic shifts and changes, which are often drastically described as “the rise and fall” of certain musical directions. But what do these myths, legends and stories tell about our relation to music in the past and present? The symposium seeks to reflect about the origin of music by focusing in particular on the spectrum of general art mythology, inside and outside of European contexts: The comparisons to other arts, on a structural level, would open the scope to picture these questions in other disciplines. In addition to all the scientific and non-scientific theories, artistic representations, which have a special appeal on the subject, shall be considered as well: e.g. as subjects in operas and oratorios, carved in stone, on canvas and “al fresco” or as a priority issue of Romantic literature. The range of topics is broad, and therefore also capable for a stimulating interdisciplinary dialogue. Thus, the symposium offers a forum for disciplinary and interdisciplinary research projects (especially on doc or post-doc level) located at the boundaries of Art History, History of Science, Literature Studies, Cultural Studies, Anthropology, and (Ethno-)Musicology. These fields of research are largely devoted to the subject of music or the origin of the arts and seek for – or are in need of – a substantive and methodological dialogue. The main focus may be located in historiographically and/or artistically representations of the origin of music and/or the arts: myths and legends of origins in the historiographies of ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary times; historicity, philosophy of history, narratives of “emancipation”; collisions at the end of myths and supposedly new beginnings…

The symposium is organised by the Institute of Musicology at the University of Berne. Keynotes and responses will be provided by researchers, who are known for their interdisciplinary competence (Prof. Franz Körndle, Dr. des. Dominik von Roth, Prof. Michela Garda, Prof. Joachim Kremer). Please note: The conference languages are German and English. Arrival day shall be the 18th November 2015; travel expenses (Europe) and accommodations (2 nights) will be fully covered; the publication of conference proceedings are sought. Proposals for papers in English or German (max. 500 words) must be submitted by 31st July 2015 via e‐mail to or (Authors will be notified about acceptance of submissions by 14.8.2015).

Visual Manifestations of Power and Repression in Music, Dance, and Dramatic Arts. 15th RIdIM Conference

Deadline to submit proposals: extended to July 31, 2015



15th Conference of Association Répertoire International d’Iconographie Musicale (RIdIM)

The Ohio State University Libraries, Columbus, Ohio

9-10 November 2015

The Conference will address research related to manifestations of power and repression reflected in the visual representation of music, dance, and dramatic arts of all periods, cultures and media, including topics related to

  • the oppression of peoples and systems.
  • the establishment and performance of power, supremacy and repression.
  • peoples in diaspora and slavery.
  • Colonial and Postcolonial discourses.
  • social classes, ethnic groups, gender, sexuality.
  • economic, social, religious and political discrimination.
  • media and style-related discourses (for example, “photography and power”).

Also of particular interest are papers and posters that contextualise objects and issues of visual culture in its wider sense and thus present contemporary media within the subject areas. We would also be interested in papers and posters that focus on meta-discourses on manifestations of power and repression as linked with the representation of music, dance, and dramatic arts.

In recognition of the fact that the conference is hosted by The Ohio State University Libraries, the home of the Editorial Centre of the Association RIdIM database, sessions and activities related to data strategies will form an important part of the Conference. Paper and poster proposals in this area are therefore most welcome.

Proposals for papers and posters must present original research and findings, and may be on any topic related to the above themes. Paper presentations will be 20 minutes in length followed by 10 minutes time for discussion. For poster presentations a specific time slot will be assigned prior to the conference.

The language of the Conference is English. Papers and posters must be presented in person by at least one of the authors. There will be a registration fee for participation in the Conference.

Proposals for papers and posters must be submitted via the customised application form by July 31, 2015. Authors will be notified about acceptance of submissions by Friday, 21 August 2015.

Selected papers from the Conference may be published after the Conference. Authors may therefore need to ensure that any material presented is done so with the appropriate copyright clearance and that the paper presentation, or a version of it, has not been committed with a publisher. If there are any issues with this matter, please inform the organisers immediately following the submission of your paper proposal.

Programme Committee

  • Beatriz Magalhães Castro, Chair of the Programme Committee, Professor, Head of Graduate Studies in Music, Universidade de Brasília,
  • Antonio Baldassarre, Professor, School of Music, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, and President, Association Répertoire International d’Iconographie Musicale
  • Zdravko Blažeković, Director Research Center for Music Iconography, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York
  • Alan Green, Professor, Head, Music/Dance Library Ohio State University
  • Clair Rowden, Senior Lecturer, School of Music, Cardiff University
  • Tatjana Marković, Professor, Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien
  • Suzanne Verderber, Associate Professor, Humanities and Media Studies, Pratt Institute

To submit a paper or poster proposal please fill in the application form following this link.

For further information please visit the homepage of Association Répertoire International d’Iconographie Musicale (RIdIM).

OM: Orient in Music – Music of the Orient

Łódź (Poland), Grażyna and Kiejstut Bacewicz Academy of Music, Department of Music Theory, International Conference, 10-11.03.2016

OM, a fundamental meditation sound present in the cultures of Buddhism, is a syllable full of philosophical and transcendental meanings. The category of Orient, as contrasted, antithetical and complementary to the Occident (West) and its culture, appears to be one of the most interesting and long lasting issues discussed in the humanities throughout the centuries. European fascination with oriental cultures has found multifaceted manifestations in science, art, fashion and beliefs.

Music, being an important element of the cultural communication, has always been well suited for transitions and inspirations. The relationship between Orient and Western music seems to compound a wide and fascinating scope of problems, a field of various multidimensional influences which brings an opportunity not only to study particular questions but also search for universal and fundamental values. The main aim of the proposed conference is to outline a range of the relationship between Western music and oriental cultures, the idea that could arouse interest mainly in both groups of researchers: ethnomusicologists and historians (or theoreticians) of music. However, the scope of musicological knowledge can be interestingly broadened by taking into account other perspectives, such as sociological, philosophical and others.


Call for papers

20-minute papers or longer panels of a few speakers (up to 60 minutes) are expected on any aspect connected to the conference theme, including (although not limited to) the following areas:

  1. Orient as a musical category (terminological/geographical frames and ranges of the musical Orient; the Orient and the Occident: musical correspondences; the Orient in musicology and other humanities)
  1. Music of the Orient (musical cultures of the Orient; music of the Orient: idioms and styles; ethnomusicological research regarding oriental cultures)
  1. The Orient as perceived musically (images of the Orient in Western music; oriental inspirations and stylizations in Western music; oriental elements in Western music – classical, popular, folk)
  1. Musical orientalism from theoretical perspective (the Orient in musicological research; methodology of oriental studies in theory of music and musicology; category of the musical Orient from colonial and postcolonial perspectives).

The language of the conference is English. Each submission should include the following information: author(s) name(s), academic affiliation(s), e-mail address, title of presentation, abstract (300 words max.), a short CV. All proposals must be submitted by 1 October 2015 to Prof. Marta Szoka ( or Małgorzata Grajter, Ph.D. ( Final decisions will be announced to speakers by 1 November 2015.

During the conference, an extensive program of mid-day and evening concerts on the 10th and 11th March 2016 (as well as a performance of Carl Maria von Weber’s opera Abu Hassan on the evening preceding the conference, i.e. on the 9th March 2016) is arranged (with a free admission for all participants) – the events will be announced in the build-up to the conference. There will be no conference fee. The organizers could only provide the information about travel opportunities and accommodation in Łódź. After the conference, selected papers will be published in a miscellany.


Analysis – Interpretation – Performance

A Contact Zone for the Reconsideration of Musicological Methods

Annual Conference of the Austrian Society for Musicology (ÖGMW) 2015

University of Music and Performing Arts Graz (KUG)
November 18–21, 2015

Programme Committee:
Christian Utz (chair); Klaus Aringer, Christa Brüstle, Federico Celestini, Martin Eybl, Werner Goebl, Gerd Grupe

Call for Papers [download]

Processes of musical performance are increasingly the focus of musicological attention. The discourse on the relevance of an aural interpretation for a contemporary understanding of music from the past was triggered by the trend towards historically-informed performance practice that developed from the 1960s onwards. Further “performative turns” in aesthetics, literature and theatre studies did not, however, bring about major repercussions in musicology until the 1990s. Together with an enhanced interest in the history of reception and performance, these developments finally contributed to an understanding of musical works not solely as objects of contemplation but also as frameworks for a “performance culture”. Parallel developments in technology enabled recordings to be used broadly as fundamental research material, often in performance-oriented corpus studies.

Nevertheless, the question of the position of musical analysis, as a traditional musicological tool, in the face of this methodological integration of performance and sound remains unresolved. Conventional approaches that considered musical analyses to be “guidelines” for performance have been decidedly refuted since the 1990s, culminating in Carolyn Abbate’s categorical separation of “drastic” musical experiences through live performances and “gnostic” interpretations based on established musicology and analysis. Recently, a more differentiated approach to this field of tension has emerged, paradigmatically represented in Nicholas Cook’s extensive concept of “music as performance”. Increasingly, the term “performance” is understood to encompass not only live situations but also various forms of medially-documented performances.

How can intuitive knowledge applied and gained in performances (as documented in “arts-based research”, for instance) and analytically-substantiated musicological insights synergize fruitfully? This question may be approached from diverse research traditions: along with the studies on reception and performance history that have been carried out over the course of several decades, the historical and systematic methods of British Performance Studies (including the research projects CHARM 2004–2009 and CMPCP 2009–2014), empirical research e.g. in Performance Science (international symposia/ISPS since 2007), and performance-oriented analytical methods, the rediscovery of structural analysis in ethnomusicology (in the journal Analytical Approaches to World Music, among others) has also shed new light on the field of performance, which had always been of central importance to that discipline.

Abstracts submitted for the annual conference of the Austrian Society for Musicology 2015 may thus feature any area of musicology and should address current research on the relationship between analysis, interpretation and performance as a challenge for reconsidering musicological methods.

Section 1: The Presence of Historical Sound
Section 2: Listening to the Twentieth Century: Musical Performance in the Era of Analysis
Section 3: Analyzing Interpretations and Interpreting Analyses
Section 4: Performance and Analysis in Non-Western Musical Genres
Section 5: Performance, Analysis and Empirical Research Methods

Kai Köpp (Bern University of the Arts)
Joshua Rifkin (Boston University)
John Rink (University of Cambridge)
Renee Timmers (University of Sheffield)
Sarah Weiss (Yale University / YaleNUSCollege Singapore)

Abstracts for papers (up to 500 words) and poster presentations (up to 300 words) may be submitted by e-mail to oegmw2015(at) until May 31, 2015. The abstracts will be reviewed anonymously by a jury. Notification of papers accepted will be made by July 15, 2015.

2015 SEMPRE conference on Music and Health/postgraduate study day

Paper and poster submissions are invited for the 2015 SEMPRE conference on Music and Health/postgraduate study day, Glasgow Caledonian University, 21st and 22nd October 2015.

See the call for papers at:

Submissions are invited for:

The SEMPRE Study day on Music Psychology and Education, Wed 21st October. This day is for postgraduate students and we invite work which focuses on music psychology and/or music education, but which may encompass a variety of related disciplines. Submissions should take the form of a 200 word abstract which clearly describes the research area and its relevance to music psychology or music education.

The SEMPRE Conference on Music and Health, Thursday 22nd October. Music is fundamental to human social life around the world, and there is growing evidence that music can have a profound influence upon health and wellbeing. Submissions are invited on research which explores the relationship between music and health, and which may encompass music listening, music performance, music therapy, community music or other topics which clearly relate to the conference theme. Submissions should take the form of a structured 300 word abstract, using the format:  Aims, methods, results, conclusions.


The deadline for submissions for the study day and conference is Monday July 20th 2015. Please submit abstracts to Don Knox, conference organiser at d.knox at


The study day and conference are organised in association with the Scottish Music and Health Network (SMHN). Delegates from the SEMPRE events on 21st and 22nd are also invited to attend the third meeting of the SMHN on Friday 23rd Oct.

Further details on registration, delegate fees and the venue will be released soon via the SMHN website:

ENIM 2015 – 5th National Conference on Musical Research

Évora (Portugal), November 12th to 14th, 2015


Call for papers

The 5th National Conference on Musical Research (ENIM 2015) will be held in Évora (Portugal), November 12th to 14th, 2015. The call is now open for paper and poster submissions, as well as for thematic panels of 3 to 4 presenters. All relevant themes on musical research are welcome.

Submissions should be sent in Portuguese, English or Castilian for the following formats:

Spoken papers: 20 minutes.
Panels: 1 hour and a half, including final discussion. Proposals should include a general abstract and individual abstracts.

Proponents should send an abstract (250 to 300 words, and 3 to 5 keywords), a short bio (ca. 100 words), as well as information about equipment requirements. Panel proposals should indicate the general title and the name of the chair, besides the general abstract (ca. 300 words), and the individual abstracts and their titles. Each proponent can only submit one proposal (including individual submissions and panels). Proposal should be sent in Word format to by June 15th, 2015, at the latest. The mail should include the following information: name, institution, postal address, and phone number. The abstract should not include any identification information, only the title. The abstracts will be blind-reviewed by members of the scientific commission, and evaluation results will be sent by July 15th, 2015.
For further information, please contact:

Scientific Committee
Luísa Cymbron
Susana Sardo
Francisco Monteiro
Manuel Deniz Silva
Helena Marinho
António Vasconcelos

Just in case

Taking British Music(s) Abroad: Soundscapes of the Imperial Message

16 June 2015

King’s College London

This Study Day will bring together PhD students, early career scholars and eminent speakers across the disciplines of Musicology, Ethnomusicology, English and History, whose groundbreaking projects will intersect to explore the nexus between sound, culture and empire in colonial, quasi-colonial and/or postcolonial contexts. Confirmed speakers will present diverse topics such as music at mission stations in nineteenth-century South Africa; transnational discourses of the British popular tune ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’ during the Great War; the British-conceived Municipal Brass Band in 1930s multi-jurisdictional Shanghai; and the construction of British music examining boards as an emblem of imperial power from the late nineteenth century to the present day. There will also be a roundtable on ‘the politics of the archives’.


Philip Burnett:

Erin Johnson-Hill:

Yvonne Liao:

Anyone interested in presenting a paper in the remaining available slots should contact one of the event organisers.


FREE to all attending. Contact the event organisers for further details.

Tea and coffee will be provided during the breaks.

Lunch will be a finger buffet, provided.

Delegates requiring an overnight stay will have to make their own accommodation arrangements.


9.30-10.00 Registration
10.00-11.30 Panel 1
11.35-13:05 Panel 2
13.05-14.00 Lunch
14.00-15.00 KeynoteProfessor Bennett Zon (Durham)
15.00-15.20 Tea
15.20-16.50 Panel 3
16.50-18.00 Roundtable: ‘The Politics of the Archive’Chair:

Dr Kate Guthrie (Southampton)

Panelists will include:

Professor Bennett Zon (Durham)

Professor Sarah Weiss (Yale-NUS)

Dr Heather Wiebe (King’s College London)

Dr Thomas Irvine (Southampton)

Dr Joanna Bullivant (Nottingham)

Each panel will consist of three 20-minute papers with ten minutes of questions per speaker.

Confirmed Speakers

Joanna Bullivant (Nottingham)

Philip Burnett (Bristol)

Thomas Irvine (Southampton)

Erin Johnson-Hill (Yale/King’s College London)

Radha Kapuria (King’s College London)

Yvonne Liao (King’s College London)

Anna Maguire (King’s College London)

Special Guests

Professor Sarah Weiss (Yale-NUS)

Further Details to follow.

Minimalism Unbounded! The Fifth International Conference on Minimalist Music, Turku and Helsinki, September 2015

24–27 September 2015

Organised jointly by the University of Turku in Turku and the Sibelius Academy (University of the Arts) in Helsinki

In this conference we will encourage new debates about the sounds and cultural meanings of minimalist music.

Usually associated with the North American style propagated since the 1960s by composers like Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Terry Riley and La Monte Young, the influence of minimalism on musical life and cross-arts practices extends beyond these now canonical figures and arguably also predates them. This conference will continue to direct focused attention towards the core repertory, but will also encourage work which challenges our assumptions about the boundaries of the style and its significance.

Minimalism Unbounded! will focus above all on the relevance of the minimalist style in the 21st century. The influence of minimalism is especially evident in music performed in multimodal and cross-artistic settings, including film, musical theatre, sound, installation and performance art. It has disseminated and transformed beyond its reductive origins in the musical avant-garde and is today heard in diverse settings, some of them recognisably postminimalist, informed by environmental concerns, inspired by spiritual or mystical ideas, and permeating popular styles and forms including film scores, ambient and drone music, glitch and IDM.

We cordially invite submissions on a broad range of topics representing different disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. We welcome musicologists and composers, cultural theorists and philosophers, inter-arts researchers and music theorists with a view to stimulating lively debate about the past and current state of the art in minimalist music and cognate artistic practices.

We especially welcome work which

  • extends our understanding of minimalism as a sonic, social and cultural practice in the 21st century
  • offers new perspectives on the core minimalist repertory
  • opens new pathways to understanding minimalism as a musical and cross-arts phenomenon, especially how the style has migrated between genres, media and forms
  • offers new perspectives on the different traditions and influences on the style, including precursors of minimalism
  • sheds new light on minimalism in the Nordic region
  • discusses examples of postminimalism which have taken the style in new directions, including drone music and music that draws on alternative tuning systems
  • addresses the rich terrain of intersections of minimalism with popular music and culture, ranging from pop art to IDM.

Conference website:

Keynote speakers (details to be posted later)

  • Robert Fink
  • Jelena Novak

Guest composer (details to be posted later)

  • Kyle Gann

Programme committee

  • John Richardson (Chair)
  • Susanna Välimäki (Vice-Chair, University of Turku)
  • Juhani Nuorvala (Vice-Chair, Sibelius Academy)
  • Petri Kuljuntausta
  • John Pymm
  • Pwyll ap Siôn


The conference fee includes participation in the conference, lunch and other refreshments, the conference programme, a book of abstracts and other relevant material, transportation between Turku and Helsinki, and admission to concerts.

Conference participation fee

  • members of the Society for Minimalist Music: 120€
  • delegates who are not members of the Society for Minimalist Music: 150€
  • University of Turku and Sibelius Academy students (not including food and refreshments): 20€
  • conference dinner (not included in the registration fee): 40€

Proposals for individual papers, sessions and workshops should be submitted using the online form at this address:

All proposed papers, panels, workshops and posters will be subject to peer review. Proposals for individual presentations should not exceed 20 minutes in length with an additional 10 minutes allocated for questions and discussion. Panel proposals should be for a maximum of 90 minutes, workshops a maximum of 120 minutes. Proposals will be accepted only via the online portal.

  • Deadline for proposals: March 30th
  • Applicants will be notified of the programme committee’s final decisions by May 15th, 2015

Minimalism Unbounded! will be a dynamic academic and cultural event staged in two cities, Turku and Helsinki. It will include performances of recent and older music, workshops for composers, public talks and debates, and high-level academic presentations and discussions.

The first two days of the conference will take place at the University of Turku, situated in the beautiful city of Turku on the country’s south west coast, a major cultural centre and the former capital of Finland; the final two days will take place at the Sibelius Academy, in Helsinki’s state of the art Music Centre. Travel between the two locations is included in the conference fee (the journey takes approx. 2 hrs). The organisers will post information about travel and accommodation in good time prior to notifications of accepted papers and sessions.

The conference is organised jointly by the Department of Musicology at the University of Turku and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. It is supported by the Society for Minimalist Music and the International Institute for Popular Culture at the University of Turku.

Contact email:

What does democracy sound like? Actors, Institutions – Practices, Discourses

International Conference, 5th-7th November 2015, Philharmonie de Paris

L’Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales Paris (Centre de recherches sur les arts et le langage & Centre Georg Simmel); Centre Marc Bloch Berlin; Palazzetto Bru Zane Venice; Center for Worldmusic Hildesheim; Philharmonie de Paris

With the question ‘What does democracy sound like?’, this jointly organised German-French conference intends to open up a space for discussing conceptions and potential functions of music within democratic societies. In research, relations between music and politics were especially closely intertwined thought in official representations of feudal societies and in the context of the ideological instrumentalization of music in totalitarian regimes. Considering this, it appears that the relationship between music and politics can carry dangerous, or at least problematic implications. This relationship seems to be also difficult with regard to the (unquestioned) necessity of autonomy and the principle of artistic freedom. In contrast to this stands the positive power of music, as represented by its potential for use in resistance, protest and liberation movements and its mobilization within processes of community and identity building. Instead of viewing these differing perspectives as contradictory, this conference aims to consider them as an expression of the complexity of the relationships between musical practices and diverse conceptions of collective action and social groupings.

In both historical and anthropological approaches, various forms of musical practices, discourses and social groupings (state, regional and local communities, clubs and interest groups etc.) within democratic societies come into consideration here:

How can it, for example, be explained that music often acts as a means of representing a society as being free and equal, i.e. as a medium for the shaping of society? What prerequisites and intentions underlie the understanding of music as social ‘common property’? In how far are different actors/experts (researchers, members of various interest groups or also militant associations) involved in the process of legitimating state intervention in various musical spheres (artistic production, mediation, education, construction of musical spaces)? Also to be discussed are terms such as ‘culture’, ‘music’, ‘society’, ‘the people’ etc., which struggle for definitionwithin the continualinterplay of societal legitimation and contradiction. Musical practice, when viewed in relation to the term ‘democracy’–which shouldalso be problematized with regardtoits social and political processes of mediation – demands an openness of approach. Indeed, the term ‘democracy’ is instinctively connected to unifying societal ideals and political norms, yet the practical implementation of this concept clearly varies according to time and place.

In order to bring this variation to attention, the conference will take on a longue duréeperspective and trace ideas of democratic thinking in music – with its continuities and gaps – from its first appearance (late 18th/early 19th century) up to the present day. The examples of France and Germany can be taken as a starting point but the focus should by no means be restricted to them. Rather, points of reference between different countries and cultural contexts should be drawn upon and produced.

On the basis of these initial questions, contributions to one or more of the following key areas are welcome:

Music and State: music-related cultural and educational policies; debates on societal representation and participation; institutionalization processes; etc.

History of Ideas: historical milestones in the development of concepts of ‘music and democracy’; processes of mobilization and stabilization as well as controversies surrounding related concepts (musical autonomy, representation, cultural diversity, etc.); the construction of musical hierarchies and genres; etc.

Creativity and Politics: debates on the definition and diversity of the terms ‘culture’ and ‘music’ from the viewpoint of artists (social culture, culture for everyone, etc.); conceptions of society and politics that underlie musical practices; politically motivated music; etc.

Space and Reception: construction of musical spaces and events in democratic societies (concert halls, festivals, conservatoires, radio, etc.); social and symbolic dimensions of architectonic conceptions and localizations in space; debates on social responsibility and the financing of musical spaces and events; etc.

Musical Publics: practices and contexts of listening and reception; concepts of ‘the public’ (elite, mainstream, masses, listeners, audiences, fans, etc.); means of constructing and representing the public (statistics, expert studies, market analysis, self-organization, medialization); etc.

By inviting contributions that concern themselves with various historical and geographic situations and that are orientated around different points of access to the topic (different actors, institutions, practices, discourses), the conference intends to open a forum in which the variety of perspectives on this theme can be taken into account. The aim is to consider the relationship between music and politics in all its complexities and different manifestations in democratic societies.

Contributions from a broad range of humanities and social science disciplines are welcome (History, Anthropology, Musicology, Ethnomusicology, Political Sciences, Sociology, DevelopmentalStudies/Pedagogy, Theatre Studies, etc.).
The conference languages are French, German and English.

Proposals (abstract max. 2000 characters, CV max. 500 characters) should be sent by 15th May 2015 at the latest to the following address:
Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by 30th June 2015 and the conference programme published online at
We look forward to receiving your proposals!

Members of the scientific committee:

Philip Bohlman, Esteban Buch, Annegret Fauser, Wolfgang Fuhrmann, Antoine Hennion, Denis Laborde, Karine Le Bail, Julio Mendívil, Olivier Roueff, Patrice Veit, Raimund Vogels, Sarah Zalfen, Hansjakob Ziemer


Talia Bachir-Loopuyt (Université Jean-Monnet), Etienne Jardin (Palazzetto Bru-Zane), Christina Kaps (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Elsa Rieu (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales Paris), Lena van der Hoven (Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung)

Mikis Theodorakis : poésie, musique et politique/ Mikis Theodorakis: Poetry, Music, and Politics

Université Paris-Sorbonne, 18-20 juin 2015

Colloque international organisé par l’Université Paris-Sorbonne et l’Institut de Recherche en Musicologie (CNRS UMR 8223), en partenariat avec MUSIDANSE (EA 1572 – université Paris 8) et le CRAL-EHESS (CNRS UMR 8566), avec le soutien du Centre culturel Hellénique, de la Fondation Hellénique et de l’Institut de Politique Éducative de Grèce.


Né en 1925, Mikis Theodorakis est sans aucun doute le compositeur grec le plus populaire de son époque et jusqu’à aujourd’hui. Homme engagé de gauche, penseur et poète, il fut aussi ministre et député au Parlement grec, mais surtout activiste pour la paix et pour la démocratie. Son œuvre, son action et sa pensée marquent de façon significative plusieurs combats sociaux et politiques de toute la seconde partie du xxe siècle, ainsi que, sur le plan artistique, la nécessité de fonder une musique contemporaine grecque, à la fois savante et populaire.

Son action, qui commence pendant la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, est ensuite ancrée dans la vie politique interne de la Grèce à travers la Guerre Civile, l’organisation des « Jeunesses Lamprakis », la dictature des Colonels jusqu’au « Mouvement des Citoyens Indépendants Spitha » (« Etincelle ») qu’il a fondé plus récemment. La musique et la politique – les deux engagements complémentaires qui déterminent sa vie et qui reflètent sa personnalité dynamique – sont à l’origine de son aura qui dépasse rapidement les frontières grecques, et le propulsent en tant que la « Voix de la Grèce » dans les monde.

Engagé depuis son plus jeune âge en faveur des grands idéaux humanistes – la Liberté, la Paix, la Démocratie –, il exprime ses idées et incite à la mobilisation et à la révolte aussi bien par ses écrits que par ses compositions musicales. Son engagement s’exprime également dans ses choix artistiques : ainsi Theodorakis défend dans son œuvre l’accès du peuple à des genres poétiques et musicaux perçus comme étant réservés à l’élite sociale. Inversement, il défend aussi l’introduction d’instruments (comme le bouzouki) et de styles populaires (comme le rebetiko) aux genres musicaux savants. Compositeur prolifique, il signe plus d’un millier de mélodies, dont plusieurs devenues extrêmement populaires, et qui fondent le genre très particulier et très fécond du entechno (la « chanson savante-populaire » grecque). Il est également l’auteur d’œuvres symphoniques et de chambre, de plusieurs hymnes et oratorios, de plus de dix ballets, de cinq opéras, et il a composé la musique de plus de cinquante œuvres théâtrales ou cinématographiques.

Emprisonné, torturé, exilé, Mikis Theodorakis a payé dans sa chair nombre de ses engagements, et c’est en France, qui l’accueille en 1970, où il organise son action de résistance, politique et musicale, contre la dictature des Colonels. Auparavant, un premier séjour à Paris dans les années 1950 l’avait notamment conduit au Conservatoire de Paris, dans les classes d’Olivier Messiaen et d’Eugène Bigot. Ainsi Theodorakis entretient-il une relation tout à fait singulière avec la France, tant dans sa vie artistique que militante.

Pour tous ses engagements, militants comme artistiques, Theodorakis, a été et est toujours adulé, admiré, célébré, mais aussi parfois critiqué (de surcroît, au cours des décennies, tantôt par une certaine droite que par une certaine gauche, par une partie du « peuple » ou certaines « élites », etc.).

Malgré sa diversité et sa richesse, force est de constater qu’à ce jour l’œuvre de Mikis Theodorakis a fait très peu l’objet d’études. Ainsi, l’ambition de ce colloque est d’aborder spécifiquement l’œuvre de Mikis Theodorakis en croisant les regards disciplinaires et de stimuler la réflexion critique, longtemps figée face à ce personnage singulièrement complexe, dense et riche.

De même, se plonger à nouveau dans l’œuvre theodorakienne à cette période de crise, et interroger sa valeur diachronique, est sans aucun doute la meilleure façon de rendre hommage au compositeur pour son 90e anniversaire.

Axes envisagés (propositions non limitatives) :

  • Poésie et musique dans l’œuvre de Mikis Theodorakis
  • Mikis Theodorakis et son engagement politique et social
  • La place de l’œuvre theodorakienne dans la littérature musicale contemporaine
  • Mikis Theodorakis et la France
  • Musique et dictature, musique et résistance, musique et torture à travers l’œuvre de Theodorakis

Les propositions de communication (titre et résumé d’environ 200 mots) accompagnées d’une courte notice biographique sont à envoyer avant le 15 mars 2015 par voie électronique à l’adresse :

L’acceptation des propositions sera notifiée avant le 31 mars 2015

Langues du colloque : français et anglais. Des communications dans d’autres langues peuvent être acceptées à condition qu’une traduction en français soit remise à la disposition du comité d’organisation avant le 12 juin 2015.

Comité d’honneur :

Costa Gavras, réalisateur

Angelique Ionatos, chanteuse-compositrice

Asteris Koutoulas, écrivain, traducteur et réalisateur

Vasso Papantoniou, artiste lyrique, directrice de la Société pour la maison de l’opéra et de l’académie d’Art lyrique « Maria Callas », Athènes

Arja Saijonmaa, chanteuse et comédienne

Margarita Theodorakis, directrice des Editions Romanos et de l’Οrchestre populaire Mikis Theodorakis, fille du compositeur

Vassilis Vassilikos, écrivain

Nena Venetsanou, chanteuse-compositrice

Comité scientifique :

Christophe Corbier, CR CNRS – EHESS CRAL

Jean-Marie Jacono, MCF, université d’Aix Marseille

Paloma Otaola, Professeure, université de Lyon

Théodora Psychoyou, MCF, IReMus – Paris-Sorbonne

Makis Solomos, Professeur, MUSIDANSE – université Paris 8

Kalliopi Stiga, Docteure en musicologie, Institut de Politique Éducative de Grèce

Comité d’organisation :

Théodora Psychoyou · IReMus, Paris-Sorbonne, Mado Spyropoulou · Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3, Kalliopi Stiga · Institut de Politique Éducative de Grèce

Paris-Sorbonne university, 18-20 June 2015

International conference organised by Paris-Sorbonne university and the Institut de Recherche en Musicologie (CNRS UMR 8223), in collaboration with MUSIDANSE (EA 1572 – University Paris 8) and the SARC-EHESS (CNRS UMR 8566), with the support of the Centre culturel Hellénique à Paris, of the Fondation Hellénique, and the Institute for Educational Policy of Greece


Born in 1925, Mikis Theodorakis is undoubtedly the most popular Greek composer of his time. A leftist politically-committed thinker and poet, he has also been Minister and a Member of the Greek Parliament, but above all he features as an activist for peace and democracy. His work, actions and thoughts had a significant impact on the social and political struggles that marked the second half of the twentieth century. Artistically speaking, his activities aimed at fostering a Greek contemporary music that would combine both art music and popular music devices.

His action begins during the Second World War. Since then, the name of Theodorakis remains anchored in the Greek political life, through the civil war, the organisation of the “Lamprakis Youth”, the military dictatorship and, more recently, the creation of the “Movement of Independent Citizens Spitha” (“Spark”).

Music and politics – two complementary commitments that characterize his life and personality – created a charismatic aura that rapidly exceeded the Greek boundaries, propelling him as the “Voice of Greece” throughout the world. Since his youngest years, Theodorakis got involved in the defence of great humanistic ideals such as Freedom, Peace, and Democracy; mobilization and revolt were encouraged and emulated through both his writings and his music. Thus, his artistic choices also bear the stamp of a highly personal commitment. In his work, Theodorakis defends the access for the common people to sophisticated poetic and musical genres, which were then perceived as exclusively intended to a social elite. Conversely, he also advocates the introduction of popular instruments (such as the bouzouki) and popular styles (such as the rebetiko) into Western classical genres.

A prolific composer, Theodorakis has a thousand melodies to his credit, many of which became extremely popular, creating the very particular and fruitful genre of the entechno (an erudite-popular Greek song). He has also penned symphonic and chamber music works, as well as several hymns and oratorios, more than ten ballets, five operas, and over fifty incidental music and film music scores.

Imprisoned, tortured and exiled due to many of his political commitments, Mikis Theodorakis has suffered in his flesh. It is from France, a country that hosted him in 1970, that he organized his political and musical actions against the Greek military junta. A first stay in Paris two decades earlier (1950s) had led him notably to the Paris Conservatoire, in the classes of Olivier Messiaen and Eugène Bigot. Thus Theodorakis seems to have a quite singular relationship with France, both as an artist and as an activist.

For many of his commitments, either on a political or an artistic level, Theodorakis was, and still is revered, admired, celebrated ; but he was also criticized over the past decades, sometimes by some Right-wing sensibilities or Left-wing sensibilities, sometimes by a part of the “people” or a fraction of the elite.

Despite its diversity and richness, the work of Mikis Theodorakis has not yet been enough scholarly studied. Consequently, the aim of this symposium is to focus specifically on the work of Mikis Theodorakis, through cross-disciplinary perspectives and, critical and scholarly thinking that has often been static and out of phase with this singularly complex, dense and rich character.

Similarly, delving back into the specific work of Mikis Theodorakis during this time of crisis, and questioning its diachronic value, is undoubtedly the best way to pay a tribute to the composer for his 90th birthday.

Proposed topics (unexhaustive list)

  • Music and poetry in the work of Mikis Theodorakis
  • Mikis Theodorakis and his social and political commitment
  • Theodorakis work within the contemporary musical literature
  • Mikis Theodorakis and France
  • Music and dictatorship, music and resistance music and torture through the work of Theodorakis

Paper proposals must include a title, an abstract (about 200 words), and a brief biographical statement. The deadline for submission is March 15, 2015. Proposals should be sent by mail at:

The decision of the programme committee will be notified by March 31, 2015

Conference languages: French and English. Papers in other languages may be accepted, provided that a translation in French is submitted to the organising committee before June 12, 2015.

Honorary committee:

Costa Gavras, film director

Angelique Ionatos, songwriter, guitarist and singer

Asteris Koutoulas, author, translator and film director

Vasso Papantoniou, lyric artist, director of the Society for an opera house and Lyric art academy “Maria Callas”, Athens

Arja Saijonmaa, singer, actress and activist

Margarita Theodorakis, director of Romanos editions and of the Popular orchestra Mikis Theodorakis, composer’s daughter

Vassilis Vassilikos, writer

Nena Venetsanou, songwriter and singer

Scientific/programme committee:

Christophe Corbier, CR CNRS – EHESS CRAL

Jean-Marie Jacono, university of Aix Marseille

Paloma Otaola, university of Lyon

Théodora Psychoyou, IReMus – Paris-Sorbonne university

Makis Solomos, Professeur, MUSIDANSE – Paris 8 university

Kalliopi Stiga, Institute for Educational Policy of Greece

Organising committee:

Théodora Psychoyou (IReMus, Paris-Sorbonne), Mado Spyropoulou (Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3), Kalliopi Stiga (Institute for Educational Policy of Greece)