Performing Indeterminacy

An international conference

Friday 30 June – Sunday 2 July 2017

School of Music, University of Leeds

Organised by the AHRC-funded project, ‘John Cage and the Concert for Piano and Orchestra, this international conference will address the performance of indeterminate and experimental musics as its central theme, and is intended as a forum for the exchange of perspectives from musicologists, performers, composers, and a wider audience.

Including a performance of John Cage’s Concert for Piano and Orchestra (1957–58) performed by Apartment House, the conference will include papers, practice-based contributions, panel discussions, and musical performances. Further details, including invited speakers and the call for proposals, will be announced in June 2016.

The Musical Humanism of the Renaissance and its Legacy

Call for Papers

The Musical Humanism of the Renaissance and its Legacy

A University of Warwick Conference

held at Warwick’s Palazzo Papafava, Venice

2-4 June 2016

in collaboration with the

Royal Musical Association Music and Philosophy Study Group

In modern Western culture, music is often defined as the art of feeling or the language of the soul. This conception of music has its origins in the musical humanism of the Renaissance, whose influence on musical thought was as enduring as it was widespread. Even though Renaissance humanism had no concrete link to the musical practice of antiquity, humanistic concerns were pivotal for the development of contemporary music and musical thought. Ancient and medieval stories about musical ethos, in particular about the power of music to move the passions, were of special interest to Renaissance scholars. This conference will investigate these Renaissance conceptions of the connection between music and mind, their origins, and how they were ultimately developed into our modern notion of music as an expressive art. In particular, it will probe how Latin translations of ancient Greek musical sources and vernacular translations of these Latin texts promoted a new kind of musical humanism. In light of recently published work on the topic, it will examine the influence of Marsilio Ficino, whose translations and commentaries of Plato and of Neoplatonic literature shaped and conditioned many sixteenth and seventeenth-century theories about musical ethos throughout Europe. Moreover, the conference will examine how a renewed interest in Aristotelian poetics advanced the notion that by means of imitation music could move human affections. In short, the conference will study how Renaissance musical humanists extended the accessibility of classical literature on music, reshaped the ways in which this literature was understood, and, ultimately, radically transformed classical conceptions of the power of music.

The purpose of this conference is twofold:

  1. To offer new perspectives on the musical humanism of the Renaissance and its legacy from the disciplines of musicology, philosophy, history of science, classics and literary studies. More specifically, the conference aims to do this by tracking and interrogating the nature, revival, and eventual radical transformation of classical conceptions of the power of music.
  2. To offer opportunities for scholars from different disciplines both to find common ground and to explore constructive differences in order to develop conceptual frameworks, research methods and future directions in the field.

Though grounded in the disciplines of musicology, philosophy, history of science, classics and literary studies the symposium hopes to foster dialogue among scholars from across the humanities. Possible topics may include, but are by no means limited to, the following:

Renaissance conceptions of the power of music, their ancient and medieval background, and changes in their reception from the mid-seventeenth century onwards

  • The reception of classical myths and biblical stories concerning music
  • Musical models of the soul
  • Health as a harmony
  • Theories and practices of musical healing (including criticism and debate about their status)
  • Music, love, lovesickness, melancholy, nostalgia and death
  • Music and the pursuit of happiness
  • Musical imagination, dreams and ecstasy
  • Music, the supernatural, demons and spirits
  • Music, language and rhetoric
  • Music’s role in humanist education

Please submit titles (along with an abstract of no more than 300 words) for 20-minute papers to the conference convener, Jacomien Prins (, by 15 December 2015.

For further information, please visit:

Music for Audio-Visual Media II Conference

Music for Audio-Visual Media Conference
Monday 20 – Wednesday 22 June 2016
School of Music, University of Leeds

The School of Music at the University of Leeds is hosting its second Music for Audio-Visual Media Conference (MAViM) as part of the AHRC-funded research project The Professional Career and Output of Trevor Jones, and in association with the British Audio-Visual Research Network (BARN). The conference aims to engage with music and sound across a wide range of audio-visual media for presentation through papers, themed panel sessions, scores for screen media, and short films and film extracts.

Call for Papers, Panels, Scores and Films 

We welcome and encourage submissions relating to all aspects of music and sound in and for audio-visual media including but not limited to film, television, games, music video, screen advertising, the internet and interactive media, and have particular interest in proposals in the following areas:

  • The screen music of Trevor Jones
  • Audio-visual archives and documentation
  • The technology of music for audio-visual media
  • Creative practice in screen music
  • Pre-existing music in film, television and other screen media, and its afterlife
  • Music in television and screen advertising

Submission Instructions

Papers: 250-word abstracts for papers of 20 minutes’ duration, followed by 10 minutes’ discussion.

Themed Panel Sessions (2 or 3 papers): 250-word introduction and 200-word abstract per paper for a 60- or 90-minute session, including time for discussion.

Screen Compositions and Films: 250-word abstracts for screen scores or short films with sound/music (complete or extract) lasting no more than 20 minutes, followed by discussion.

Submission Method and Deadline

All proposals should be emailed to by Monday 18 January 2015. All enquiries should be sent to the same email address. The programme will be announced in February 2016.

Conference Committee: Prof. David Cooper (University of Leeds, Chair),  Dr Laura Anderson (University of Leeds), Dr Kevin J. Donnelly (University of Southampton), Ms Sarah Hall (University of Leeds), Dr Catherine Haworth (University of Huddersfield), Dr Vasco Hexel (Royal College of Music), Mr Alex King (Leeds International Film Festival), Dr Ian Sapiro (University of Leeds)

Further details will be posted on the conference website,, as they become available. For further details about the conference and the overarching research project please see the Trevor Jones project website,, email, or find us on Facebook or twitter: @TJFilm.

14th Annual Plenary Conference of the Society for Musicology in Ireland

Conference: SMI 14th Annual Plenary Conference
Venue: St Patrick’s College, Dublin City University
Date: 10
–12 June 2016
CFP deadline: 5 January 2016

14th Annual Plenary Conference of the Society for Musicology in Ireland
St Patrick’s College, Dublin City University, 10–12 June 2016


Call for papers

The Fourteenth Annual Plenary Conference of the Society for Musicology in Ireland / Aontas Ceoleolaíochta na hÉireann will be hosted by the Music Department, St Patrick’s College, Dublin City University on 10–12 June 2016.

Professor Georgina Born (University of Oxford) will deliver the keynote lecture.

Proposals from all areas of musicology and related music studies are invited for the following:

  • Individual papers
  • Poster presentations
  • Lecture recitals
  • Themed sessions
  • Roundtable sessions (up to six people, each presenting a position paper, followed by a discussion)

Individual papers and lecture recitals
Individual papers and lecture recitals will be twenty minutes in duration, to be followed by ten minutes for questions and discussion. Proposals should be submitted in one file that includes: a) title of paper/lecture recital and abstract/proposal (max. 250 words); b) name, contact details and affiliation; c) a brief biography (up to 100 words); d) an indication of equipment required.

Poster presentations
The SMI 2016 conference committee encourages poster presentations, and aims to include scheduled question-answer sessions on current projects (postgraduate research, collaborative research projects, or other research projects) in its overall programme. Proposals should be submitted in one file that includes: a) title and short description of project (max. 200 words); b) an indication of who will represent the project along with a brief biography (up to 100 words).

Themed sessions and roundtable sessions
Themed sessions and roundtable sessions will be ninety minutes in duration, including time for discussion. A broad range of formats will be considered for proposals of themed sessions which may include individual papers, performance-based presentations, composition-based presentations, and sound installations or short films followed by discussion. Roundtable sessions will comprise a panel of up to six people, each presenting a position paper, followed by a discussion. Proposers for themed sessions or roundtable sessions should submit one file that includes: a) overall title and abstract/proposal (max. 400 words) followed by titles and abstracts/proposals for each proposed contributor (max. 250 words); b) name, contact details and affiliation of convenor; c) name and affiliation of all other proposed presenters; d) a brief biography (up to 100 words) for the convenor and for each of the other proposed presenters; e) an indication of equipment required.

All proposals should be submitted to the SMI 2016 Conference Committee by email as a Microsoft Word attachment to

Deadline for submissions: Tuesday, 5 January 2016

The conference committee will endeavour to notify proposal authors of its decision by end of February 2016.

Conference Committee: John O’Flynn (St Patrick’s College, DCU, Chair), Roisín Blunnie (Mater Dei Institute, DCU), Rhona Clarke (St Patrick’s College, DCU), Áine Mangaoang (St Patrick’s College, DCU), Michael Murphy, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, representing SMI), Barry O’Halpin (St Patrick’s College, DCU).

Any queries regarding the submission process should be addressed to the Conference Committee Chair, John O’Flynn at

A conference website will be launched in early 2016. Delegates will be informed of this when contacted by the Conference Committee at the end of February. Updates will also be posted on the website of the Society for Musicology in Ireland, and on the webpage of the Music Department, St Patrick’s College, Dublin City University

Working in Music: the Musicians’ Union (MU), musical labour and employment

Mitchell Library, Glasgow, 14-15 January 2016

Registration is now open for the ‘Working in Music’ conference, which marks the end of ‘The Musicians’ Union: A Social History’, a four year research project based at the University of Glasgow.

The conference features local and global perspectives on musical work from different disciplines, covering issues related to musicians as workers, musical practice, gender and representation, copyright and the music industries. Other papers deal specifically with the role of the MU and the conference will conclude with a panel discussion addressing the current issues facing the Union.

The keynote speakers are Matt Stahl (University of Western Ontario) and Catherine Tackley (The Open University). Matt’s subject is ‘Young Musicians, Old Beggars? American R&B and Soul Singers’ Late-Career Struggles for Union-Mandated Health Care and Pensions’. The title of Catherine’s talk is ‘‘Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters’: Seafarers as Musicians, Musicians as Seafarers’.

For more on our keynote speakers and to read the full programme, please see our project website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Registration is now open at the early bird rate (£75/50) until 4 December; registration at the full rate (£100/75) closes 18 December. Register now at

Hope to see you in Glasgow!

Martin Cloonan

Heather Middleton

John Williamson

Musicians’ Union: A Social History

University of Glasgow

Tel: 0141 330 7414



13th International Conference from the series “Musica Practica, Musica Theoretica” – Cultural Identity in the European Musical Tradition

Poznań, 19–20 April 2016

On behalf of the Faculty of the Theory of Music at the I. J. Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznań I would like to invite you to participate in the 13th International Conference from the series “Musica Practica, Musica Theoretica” – Cultural Identity in the European Musical Tradition to be held on 19th our Academy’s Presidential Hall.

The conference shall concentrate on issues referring to a musical work and various relations between artistic and composing theory and practice. The problems should be presented from the perspective of the sense of cultural identity related to European tradition. Such orientation stems from a belief that it is this sense that has a significant influence on artistic and musical practice, including artists’ stylistic preferences, choice of composing techniques, and consequently the created artistic and aesthetic values.

We hereby suggest the following research areas:

● Cultural identity: semantic and historical aspect of the term, its social
indicators (with particular focus on musical culture)

● Elements that constitute an artist’s (mainly composer’s) identity rooted in heterogeneous European culture

● Planes of intercultural dialogue created in a musical work

● “Unity in diversity” versus identity and cultural diversity

● Musical work: analysis and interpretation in the context of an artist’s sense of cultural identity

● Reception of a musical work in the perspective of cultural diversity.

The lecture, including musical excerpts, should not exceed 20 minutes. The conference shall be held in Polish and English. A paper delivered in Polish should be accompanied by a presentation in English.

Conference participants shall be offered accommodation in the Academy’s guest rooms, full board and modest remuneration.

You are kindly requested to declare your willingness to take part in the conference and send us the subject and abstract of your paper in English (up to 400 words) till 31st January 2016.

Upon receiving our acceptance (no later than 20th February 2016) you will be asked to transfer a conference fee of PLN 300, till 29th February 2016, to the following account number:

BZ WBK S.A. VI O/POZNAŃ 66 1090 1362 0000 0000 3601 7907

Your application, subject and abstract of the presentation should be sent to the following e-mail address:

Further details shall be sent at a later date.

Sincerely yours

Hanna Kostrzewska

5th Symposium of the Musics of East Asia (MEA) ICTM Study Group


Organized by the Academia Sinica and the Taipei National University of the Arts
Deadline for submission: JAN 20 2016EAST ASIAN ETHNOMUSICOLOGIES?
2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of the ICTM Musics of East Asia Study Group, which took place in August 2006 in Ilan, Taiwan. Coming full circle to Taiwan again, this meeting provides a forum to look back on 10 years of the MEA Study Group’s development from a fledgling research group to an important and diverse community that is itself disciplining music research in different ways, and through different voices. As such, the overlying theme of East Asian Ethnomusicologies – understood in the plural – seeks to be as inclusive as possible, while encouraging reflexivity of approach and understanding. A revisit of Witzleben 1997’s article Whose Ethnomusicology? Western Ethnomusicology and the Study of Asian Music provides a useful starting point for re-interrogating issues that continue to concern East Asian musical academia, interpreted today not simply against the proverbial and amorphous ‘Western’ musical academia in a stereotypical binary reading. But fault lines continue to be drawn intra-discipline, even as new bridges span the boundaries of different kinds of academic intersectionality.The following questions are pertinent to the conference topic:

– Are there East Asian Ethnomusicologies, and how do they relate to distinct East Asian musicologies? What are the disciplinary canons and scholarly lineages, and who are the activists of East Asian ethnomusicologies? Is there a ‘we’ in East Asian Ethnomusicology/ Ethnomusicologies? If so, are we as unique as we think we are? To what extent are differences related to cultural or political fault lines? How is ethnomusicology applied in East Asia, vis-à-vis education policies and emerging foci on sustainability and impact?

– Do East Asian Ethnomusicologies still privilege content, typologies and analysis over discourse and criticism? Is the ICTM MEA group an interventionist (or protectionist) space in an international ethnomusicology scene that sees a rumoured 40% conference abstract rejection rate (a process which potentially privileges native speakers of English)?

– How has recent economic expansion in East Asia reshaped infrastructural, funding and research/ teaching flows within the region, and also beyond? How have global academic and political communities come to understand the rising trend in foreign academics coming to work in East Asia (esp China), in tandem with an increase in the number of East Asian students conducting research and studying overseas? How have such transnational movements in themselves changed the nature of emerging sub-disciplines in ethnomusicology, music and sound studies, as well as the geographical spread of different communities of overseas students?

– How do younger scholars, or female scholars, or LGBT scholars in East Asia negotiate changing academic and institutional power structures that nevertheless continue to be dominated by the hegemonies of patriarchy and institutional hierarchy within (and also without) East Asia?

This series of preliminary questions seeks to highlight reflexively the pluralities of music and sound studies, refocused through the themes below. Many of these topics have been discussed – in changing articulations – over the course of the history the MEA study group itself. Indeed, the group’s10th anniversary meeting provides a platform for a review of milestones in the development of music scholarship in East Asia over the past few decades, and a vantage point for looking into the future.

1. Music and Embodiment
Recent studies of the role of the body in processes of listening, musical production, musical learning and musical emoting have turned in new understandings of corporeal and experiential musicianship/ dance practice (Clayton 2013, Gillan 2013). Yet, stereotypes in popular culture continue to abound of East Asian bodily ‘conservatism’, ‘stiffness’; and ‘inscrutability’. This theme calls for new examinations of whether, and if so, how, different East Asian musical bodies exist and locate themselves culturally, psychologically and materially.

2. Cosmopolitanism, transnational flows, creative labour markets
While the words ‘global’ and ‘globalisation’ in music have recently taken a back seat against newer terms such as ‘cosmopolitan’, ‘intercultural’ and ‘transnational’, what do they mean in different East Asian musical contexts, and how are they separate or related to each other? The questions may be partly addressed through understanding the above processes through the lenses of shifting global capital and changing creative labour markets, particularly in (but not limited to) the situating of East Asian musical articulations in the world/ fusion music markets, transnational pop (particularly K-pop), and in urban soundscapes. But while such new and exciting conceptualisations of culture continue percolate, where do they leave space for imagining and practising the ‘traditional’ – in postcolonial modernity or otherwise?

3. Eco-criticism and Music
As Paris hosts the UN Climate Change Conference in Nov 2015, East Asia agitates and watches with slow but increasing interest. How can music researchers and ethnomusicologists weigh in on a topical subject that has in many ways pushed for wider interdisciplinarity against rising concerns about negotiations with (and impact on) the environment? Following on from Nancy Guy’s (2009) article on Ecomusicology and Taipei’s Tamsui River, this theme encourages researchers to consider music in interaction with the environment in dynamic ecosystems, where sustainability has to be considered through intersecting realms of the physical, material, cultural and politico-economic.

4. Music history, historical musics, historical reconstructions
Do researchers of music history in East Asia approach their subject as historians, musicologists, analysts, archaeologists, or ethnomusicologists? This theme addresses the debate of content vs discourse, allowing scholars to reconsider particular East Asian (or not) hermeneutics and approaches to looking at ancient/ historical texts and the reinterpretation of them through contemporary lenses.

5. New Research

LANGUAGE English is the official language of this symposium.

PRESENTATION FORMATS Proposals are invited in the following formats:

1. Individual paper: 20 minutes long and followed by 10 minutes for discussion; a 20-minute paper is about 8 or 9 typewritten pages, double-spaced using 12 point font.

2. Organized panel: these may be presented in ONE the following formats:

– 120 minutes long, 4 presenters

– 120 minutes long, 3 presenters and a discussant (each presentation is 20 minutes with 10 minutes for initial discussion; there will be 30 minutes for summary).

– Forum/Roundtable, 120 minutes long with up to 6 presenters on a given topic, entirely organized and run by a given Chair of the Roundtable, with discussion among the presenters and the audience

3. Workshop: informal, interactive hands-on session on one topic for a maximum of two hours, completely run by the workshop organiser.

4. Film/DVD: recently completed or in-progress films, video programs or excerpts thereof, each presentation about 20 minutes in length including some discussion on the film/dvd

5. ‘TEDx’ style Lightning Papers of 10-minutes in length, featuring no more than 20 slides, with 5 minutes for Questions/ Answers.

5. Poster Presentation is the presentation of research information by an individual or representatives of research teams from ICTM-MEA. The poster presentation should be presented for 3 x 4 feet (??) paper mounting.

ABSTRACT SUBMISSION Please submit an abstract for a paper presentation in one of the above listed formats (300 words max), along with a very short biographical note (50 words or less) about the presenter. Organizers of panels and roundtables must submit a statement on the focus and central concern of the panel/ roundtable along with an abstract from each presenter on his/her presentation (each abstract is limited to 300 words and biographical notes are strictly limited to 50 words). Please note that you can only make ONE type of format submission for the conference.

Please send your proposal via the googleform on the conference website.

All proposals must be submitted in English. All proposals will undergo an anonymised peer review, and the decision on proposals will be announced in the first week of March 2016. If you have a deadline for funding applications towards etc, please notify the Program Chair in the ‘Other comments’ section of the googleform.

You should receive an email within 7 days of your submission. If you have failed to receive a response, please contact the Chair of the Programme Committee Shzr Ee TAN []

All presenters must register as a member of the International Council of Traditional Music directly with the ICTM Secretariat before attending the Study Group Symposium. The email contact is: Students will have a special registration fee for both ICTM as well as the conference. All registration fees and other information will be forthcoming from the Local Arrangements Committee.

The Local Committee is led by:
LEE Ching-huei
Hsin-Chun Tasaw LU

The Program Committee for this Symposium is:
Matthew GILLAN
LEE Ching-huei
Hsin-Chun Tasaw LU
Hilary Finchum-SUNG
Shzr Ee TAN, [Chair]
ZHAO Weiping
Hae-Kyung UM

9th Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Music and Gender

9th Symposium
Study Group on Music and Gender
of the
International Council for Traditional Music
University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
July 13-16, 2016


The 9th Symposium of the Music & Gender Study Group of the International Council for Traditional Music will be hosted by the Institute of Musicology and the Center for Global Studies at the University of Bern (Switzerland), July 13-16, 2016.

Papers are invited that address gender studies within the frame of current global processes—migration, transnationalism, diaspora, cross-cultural and/or cross-genre fusions and hybridity. Papers that engage the major analytical frameworks from feminist, masculinity, and queer studies by placing musical data into the interdisciplinary conversations on theory are especially encouraged. Participants are also invited to respond to questions related to the topics below, while signaling the paths that gender studies should take in this new period of scholarship and globalization more generally. We invite proposals for individual paper presentations (20 minutes plus 10 minutes discussion); three- or four-paper panels; round-table discussions; and video presentations around the following themes.

Gender, Music and Sustainability

Increasing attention worldwide is given to safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage, with UNESCO taking a lead in recognizing, identifying and preserving cultural expressions that are threatened by global and local forces of change. Ethnomusicologists are recognizing that many gender-bound traditions face profound challenges, with heightened tensions around gender restrictions. What happens if a music tradition is so strongly marginalized that its survival is only possible beyond gender-boundaries (e.g. exclusively female or male repertoires can only be revived or sustained if the gender-designation is waived)? How do challenges to gender boundaries invoke issues of activism within the field of applied ethnomusicology? Are there gender-based genres that have become accessible to everyone within the context of the western-based world music scene?

Music Transmission and Transcultural Studies in Gendered Musical Contexts

Cultural and economic globalization have altered social networks and transmission processes of music as well as the cultural contexts of performance. How have global networks of exchange and trade affected music transmission processes and the flow of music across cultural and national boundaries? How has cross-cultural transmission affected new musical creations? How might we identify gendered performance within a transcultural context? Does gender equality manifest within a particular mobile transcultural context, and if so, how?

Studying Music and Gender Worldwide: Snapshots

A broad focus of the symposium is to (re-)address the following questions: How can we assess the impact of gender studies on ethnomusicology? Is it possible to identify a rising trend line in gender-balanced studies—national, regional or otherwise? In what ways has women- dominated research into music and gender affected music studies generally and how has women’s level of participation changed? Does the issue of sexuality permeate the concept of gender, and if so, how? How does research in other areas—such as film studies, communications or the visual arts—influence scholarship on music and gender? What other kinds of interdisciplinarity have been employed? How does gender figure in relation to dimensions of other social identities? What are the characteristics of gender representation owing to politics, poetics and economy of various genres of traditional and popular music under study? What is the relationship between research and engagement?

New research

Papers that address any other new research pertaining to music and gender are also welcome.


The deadline for receipt of proposals is November 15, 2015; please include a title, a 250-word abstract of the proposed paper, an indication of your academic affiliation and contact information. Please send abstracts via email to the conference program chair Anna Hoefnagels ( A preliminary program will be announced in January 2016 and registration (and accommodation details) will be open from April 1, 2016. All presenters must be registered by 1 May 2016.


Bern is the Federal City of Switzerland and is located between the Jura Mountains and the Alpine Bernese Oberland. The historic old town center became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The Institute of Musicology was founded by musicologist Ernst Kurth in 1912. In 2009, the department established a new study program on Cultural Anthropology of Music that is also part of the newly founded Center for Global Studies. Bern can be easily reached by train (1-2 hours) via the major airports of Zürich, Basel, and Geneva. Information about local arrangements and registration for the conference are available from the Local Arrangements Chair, Britta Sweers ( and at the study group website ( click into Music and Gender at the left column).

Collecting – Performing – Exploring. Dresden’s Eighteenth Century Court Music

January 21, 2016, 1:30 pm, to January 23, 2016, 1:15 pm

Saxon State and University Library Dresden (SLUB Dresden)

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to draw your attention to the forthcoming conference in the context of our DFG-funded project “The Music of the Dresden Court Church and the Royal Private Music Collection at the Time of the Saxon-Polish Union. Cataloging – Digitization – Presentation.”

By and large, the symposium will highlight SLUB’s 18th century Catholic court church music as well as concurrent private music treasures of various members of the ruling Wettin family, a stock mainly characterized by its secular vocal works. More specifically, the conference will shed light onto issues of collection history, take a closer look at eminent collectors at the Dresden court, discuss aspects of geographic source dissemination and also contribute to repertoire research. It will finally treat the project’s methodical approaches concerning the cataloging and presentation of the music. Initiated by papers on the interdependence of collection history and professional music history and on the historic transition of court collections to modern academic libraries, the symposium will also contribute to the bicentennial of SLUB Dresden’s Music Department.

Please find the conference program, the registration procedures and further details on the aforementioned website.

We hope you have become interested and look forward to welcome as many guests as possible in Dresden! If you have questions regarding the topic, please write to

With kind regards,

Nina Eichholz and Roberto Scoccimarro

Project Team Members

Operatic Immersions: Inaugural conference of the Northern Opera Research Network

Call for Papers:

Operatic Immersions
Inaugural conference of the Northern Opera Research Network

22-23 April 2016
22 April: Heritage Quay (University of Huddersfield, UK)
23 April: Clegg Studio (University of Leeds, UK)

Immersion is a term much debated in the field of performance and an aesthetic ideal that has shaped key developments in operatic history. One of the first associations we might make is with Wagner’s Ring (or rather his concept of Gesamtkunstwerk) and this conference coincides with the start of the 2016 Opera North Ring Cycle, offering an opportunity for delegates to attend Das Rheingold at Leeds Town Hall on the evening of 23 April.

Immersion can relate to the way performance spaces are or have been constructed, to sensory phenomena, to the use of new technologies, to emotional, phenomenological perceptions of performance, to the role of performers as active agents, and to an opera’s relationship with real-world events. Opera’s visceral and sometimes overwhelming effects on audiences invite investigation of its own specific immersive attributes. Recent trends in making new operatic work pick up the attraction of immersive environments among practitioners and academics, while historical works are experienced anew with digital technologies, improvisation, audience interaction, and in unconventional and surprising spaces (the pop-up operas of tête à tête, Silent Opera’s use of smartphone technology, Christopher Cerrone’s headphone opera Invisible Cities for LA Union Station, and Opera North’s opera installation I am Yours, Yours am I). Additionally, the rise of the opera ‘livecast’, experienced online and via cinematic platforms, opens up new questions about immersion, mediatised opera, and adaptation.

Clemens Risi, Institut für Theater- und Medienwissenschaft, Nuremberg
Rhian Hutchings, Creative Director, OperaSonic

For the purposes of this conference, the term ‘immersion’ is defined broadly and provides a focus for both historical and contemporary perspectives. Proposals (200 words max.) for 20-minute papers are invited, offering discussion of any aspects of operatic immersion, particularly relating to themes outlined above and/or including:

· immersion in the rehearsal process
· backstage perspectives and their immersive qualities
· temporal immersions (including operatic marathons)
· opera as macrocosm and/or microcosm
· opera’s relationship with the sublime
· opera and fandom

Proposals should be emailed to

Deadline: 11 January 2016

Programme Committee: Rachel Cowgill (University of Huddersfield); Sarah Hibberd (University of Nottingham), Kara McKechnie (University of Leeds).

Professor Rachel Cowgill
Head of Music & Drama
School of Music, Humanities & Media
Creative Arts Building (CAM 1/15)
University of Huddersfield
Queensgate, Huddersfield
West Yorkshire, UK, HD1 3DH
tel.: +44 (0)1484 471397