OBERTO CONFERENCE 2015: Opera and Celebrity

OBERTO CONFERENCE 2015: Opera and Celebrity

Oxford Brookes University

Tuesday 8 September 2015


From the castrati of the 18th century and the prima donnas of the 19th century to the star singers of the present day, opera has long been associated with celebrity culture. Although operatic celebrities were never just famous for being famous, many performers – and more recently also some composers and directors – were fêted or notorious for more than their artistic achievements. From the earliest days of public opera, accounts of singers’ love affairs, spectacular feuds or personal antics were eagerly lapped up by audiences that looked to the opera for entertainment both on and off the stage. The advent of mass media culture in the later 19th century, however, offered singers and their agents new and powerful promotional tools, which many embraced with enthusiasm. Singers such as Melba and Caruso commanded extravagant fees and were treated like royalty. The opera house also acted as a magnet for celebrities from other walks of life, seeking to enhance their public image via the cultural cachet and glamour factor of opera. During the 20th century audiences and critics became somewhat less tolerant of earlier models of operatic ‘star behaviour’ and in the present day operatic stars might appear to have been comprehensively eclipsed by new and very different types of celebrity. However, studies such as Claudio E. Benzecry’s The Opera Fanatic have demonstrated that contemporary opera enthusiasts are as obsessive about individual singers as they ever were.


This conference, organised by the OBERTO opera research unit at Oxford Brookes University,  aims toexamine the ways in which operatic celebrities across the centuries have promoted themselves and been received by audiences, as well as exploring the impact stars have had upon operatic works and productions. The conference will include a special session on opera and celebrity during the interwar period, associated with Dr Alexandra Wilson’s British Academy-sponsored project on British operatic culture in the 1920s. However, the conference as a whole will engage with all historical periods and a wide array of geographical areas. We also invite contributions on the place of operatic stardom within changing models of celebrity culture in the early twenty-first century.


Topics might include (but are not restricted to):


  • The star as god vs. the star as commodity
  • Celebrity lifestyles and morality
  • The impact of the ‘star’ on operatic works and productions
  • Celebrity and life writing
  • Opera singers in films
  • Celebrity and image / portraiture
  • The travelling / trans-Atlantic celebrity
  • Operatic fandom past and present
  • Critical responses to operatic stars
  • Celebrity appropriation of the operatic environment
  • Operatic celebrity during the interwar period


We invite proposals for 20-minute presentations, panel discussions and alternative format sessions such as lecture-recitals or poster presentations. We welcome contributions not only from academics but also from performers and opera industry or media professionals. Past OBERTO conferences have facilitated lively debates between academics, practitioners and members of the general public, and we would like to continue this tradition.


Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to Dr Alexandra Wilson at alexandra.wilson@brookes.ac.uk by Monday, 1 June 2015.


The conference will take place at Oxford Brookes University on Tuesday, 8 September 2015.

Petrus Alamire – New Perspectives on Polyphony

Antwerp, 18 – 23 August 2015

In August 2015 the Alamire Foundation, International Centre for the Study of Music in the Low Countries, and the KU Leuven Musicology Dept. (B), will organize an ambitious conference centred on the music scribe Petrus Alamire and his manuscripts. The event will coincide with an extended edition of the early music festival “Laus Polyphoniae” (19 – 30 August) and the opening of a digital exhibition of Alamire’s production in Antwerp Cathedral (B).

The conference aims to consolidate the most recent research on the manuscripts of the Habsburg-Burgundian Court Complex. Furthermore, with the Alamire manuscripts as focus, the conference aims in particular to link musicological research and performers.

Registration is open now. Please find the full (provisional) programme on: http://alamirefoundation.org/en/activiteiten/international-conference-petrus-alamire-new-perspectives-polyphony

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 gcu.ac.uk


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:


Liturgical Organ Music and Liturgical Organ Playing in the Long 19th Century

January 20–22, 2016

Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland


The Department of Church Music and the DocMus Doctoral School at the Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki, invite organists, researchers, and students to take part in the conference ”Liturgical Organ Music and Liturgical Organ Playing in the Long 19th Century”, a period extending approximately from the French Revolution to the First World War.

The long 19th century was an era of transition, paradoxes, and conflict in the area of church music. While suffering from the continuing decline in the position of the church and the organ in musical life – a process well under way already in the latter half of the previous century – it also saw the birth of several reform movements relating to liturgy, organ and church music, movements that not only shaped much of the developments in the following century but also have had significant repercussions on present-day practices.

Since the long 19th century has been, until recently, largely neglected in liturgical-musical studies, probably because of its lingering association with “decadence” -inherited from 20th century reformists – we feel that it is now time for a thorough reassessment. It is our hope that the conference ”Liturgical Organ Music and Liturgical Organ Playing in the Long 19th Century” will significantly contribute to this purpose.

The conference offers a varied programme, with presentations in words and music in different formats, in addition to, among other things, reconstructed historical services and a concert with Scandinavian congregational hymns.

Invited keynote speakers include:

Prof. Dr. Michael Heinemann, Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber Dresden

Dr. Kurt Lueders, Paris


The conference language is English.

Organizing Committee:

Professor Peter Peitsalo (Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki)

Professor Sverker Jullander (Luleå University of Technology)

Professor Karin Nelson (Norwegian Academy of Music)

Lecturer Pekka Suikkanen (Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki)

Dr Per Högberg (University of Gothenburg)

Coordinator of Doctoral Studies Markus Kuikka (Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki)

MA, MMus Martti Laitinen (Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki)



Proposals are invited for papers (20 minutes presentation + 10 minutes discussion), lecture-recitals (40 minutes + 15 minutes discussion) and panel sessions (50 minutes). Topics as they relate to the main themes of the conference include, but will not be limited to:

  • purposes of organ playing in liturgy
  • dissemination of repertoire and stylistic ideals through printed collections of liturgical organ music
  • transnational and interdenominational influences
  • liturgical organ music as expression of national identity
  • folk music influences
  • liturgical organ playing as expression of power
  • performance practice issues: hymn playing, plainchant accompaniment, the impact of different organ types
  • forms, functions and models of liturgical organ improvisation
  • church music reform movements, the Bach revival, historical models, changes in liturgical ideals
  • echoes of liturgical organ practice in non-liturgical music
  • comments on liturgical organ playing in the writings of philosophers, theologians, and ecclesiastical authorities as well as in fiction
  • musical representations of aesthetic concepts such as transcendence and the sublime
  • implications of 19th century practices for today’s liturgy and liturgical organ playing.

Proposal writers are encouraged to focus on continuities, transitional phases, and processes of change in Protestant and Roman Catholic church music, as well as Nordic aspects.

Presentations will be held in the Organo Hall of the Helsinki Music Centre (www.musiikkitalo.fi/en/spaces/organo), which has three organs (www2.siba.fi/organo): one by Forster & Andrews from 1892 (III+P/29); one by Verschueren from 1994, built along the lines of North German and Dutch baroque tradition (II+P/26); and one by an unknown Italian builder from the 18th century (I/9). In addition, historical organs in nearby churches will be used during the conference, e.g., the main organ of the St. John’s Church (Johanneksenkirkko, Johanneskyrkan), built by E. F. Walcker & Co in 1891 and restored by Christian Scheffler in 2005 (III+P/66).

All proposals must include the following:

  1. an abstract of maximum 500 words, including information on the type of presentation proposed
  2. a short CV with contact information (for panel sessions, CVs for all panel members, and for lecture-recitals, CVs for all participating musicians, are required
  3. In addition, proposals for lecture-recitals must include: a detailed programme for the music to be performed (composers, work titles, composition years, opus numbers or equivalent)

Please, fill in the online submission form at the conference website and submit it as instructed. The submission time is April 10 – June 5, 2015.

All who submit proposals will be notified of the committee’s decision on acceptance by July 1, 2015.

For further information, please contact:

Peter Peitsalo, DMus, Professor, peter.peitsalo(at)uniarts.fi

Markus Kuikka, DMus, Coordinator, markus.kuikka(at)uniarts.fi

website: http://sites.siba.fi/en/web/organ-and-mass-communication/home

Hearing the Voice, Hearing the Soul

Please note that registration is open for the following symposium.

Delegates may view the programme and register at this link:


Hearing the Voice, Hearing the Soul

International Research Symposium organised by Jacomien Prins

5th June 2015, 9.30am-6.30pm at Warwick University, the Institute of Advanced Study (IAS), Millburn House, Millburn Hill Road, Coventry

Symposium theme
Just as music has fascinated scholars in the Western world continuously for thousands of years, so time and again they have felt the need to explain its power. During the Renaissance a revival of interest for ancient theories about the power of music began. Many philosophers, humanists and music theorists writing about music found themselves caught in the Plato-Aristotle controversy. They had to make a choice between two radically different theories of the constitution of the human soul: a Platonic one, originating from the Timaeus, which stated that music has a great influence on the human soul because they are somehow similar, and an Aristotelian one, originating from On the Soul, which did not postulate any special relationship between music and the soul. Privileging one philosophical model over the other brought along entirely different beliefs about the nature of music, what it does, or what it should do. The body of doctrine around these two sources, combined with Christian ideas about music and the soul and all kinds of medical and music-theoretical ideas was pervasive till the beginning of the seventeenth century. And yet, by the beginning of the eighteenth century, to learn about music’s power meant turning not to these ancient sources and their reception, but to works on the soul such as Descartes Passions of the Soul and Hobbes’ Human Nature. The purpose of this symposium is to track and to interrogate the nature, life span, and eventual radical transformation and/or demise of ancient, medieval, and Renaissance conceptions of the belief in music’s deep connections with human life.

Queries: j.w.prins@warwick.ac.uk<mailto:j.w.prins@warwick.ac.uk>

The conference is part-funded by the Royal Music Association (RMA), and is supported by the University of Warwick’s Humanities Research Centre (HRC), Institute of Advanced Study (IAS), and Centre for the Study of the Renaissance (CSR).

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 enim2015@spimusica.pt 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: philip.burnett@bristol.ac.uk

Erin Johnson-Hill: erin.johnson-hill@yale.edu

Yvonne Liao: yvonne.liao@kcl.ac.uk

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.

2nd RMA MPSG Workshop on Philosophy of Human+Computer Music

University of Sheffield, Wednesday 27 May 2015

We warmly invite you to participate in this one day RMA Music and Philosophy Study Group workshop, to discuss philosophical questions raised by human+computer music.

On the musical side, fundamental issues raised by the production and reception of this music are often obscured in the literature by a focus on technical details of system construction or function. Meanwhile, philosophical work on music is typically focused on acoustic instrumental/vocal works, and arguably has yet fully to engage with the challenges raised by current movements in human+computer music. This is especially the case when human+computer music does not conform to the established work-concept and/or pitch-based structures.

The keynote event will be a performance discussion session, featuring Pete Furniss on clarinet+computer. Pete’s expert live performance will provide tangible examples for debate: the exact nature of the music can be interrogated and its potential changeability questioned.

Call for papers:

We invite papers on topics related to human+computer music. Relevant themes include but are not limited to:

  • The ontology of human+computer music systems (are human+computer musics bound to lead to what Georgina Born has labelled ‘strange ontologies’?)
  • The agency (or lack thereof) of systems and their designers
  • Authorial responsibility in largely improvised musical works (especially where the computer is ‘autonomous’ in performance)
  • The possibility of interpretation when music is not conventionally specified
  • The metaphysical space of the work / performer / listener interface
  • The aesthetics of computer-mediated music
  • Do computers destroy any musical ‘frame’ and, thereby, aesthetic, as Joanna Demers has suggested?
  • Cyborg agency in musical performance
  • The audibility of algorithms
  • Posthuman music
  • The term ‘human+computer music’ and possible alternatives

Papers will be 20 minutes long. Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent to m.summers@sheffield.ac.uk by 27 April 2015. Notification will follow soon after, no later than 4 May 2015.

The event will begin with coffee at 10.30am and close with a gin and tonic reception at 5.30pm, with lunch served mid-way through.

It will cost £25 (£15 students) for non-RMA members and £20 (£10 students) for RMA members.

Registration details will be available in the coming days here: http://www.musicandphilosophy.ac.uk/2nd-workshop-on-philosophy-of-humancomputer-music/

Details of the previous workshop can be found here: https://humancomputermusicphilosophy.wordpress.com


Dr. Adam Stansbie and Mark Summers, Department of Music, University of Sheffield
Tom Hewitt, Department of Music, Open University
Dr. David Roden, Department of Philosophy, Open University

Generously sponsored by: 

CHase       ahpgrf    WP-Header-21

3º Congresso Brasileiro de Iconografia Musical

Salvador, Bahia, Brasil – 20 a 24 de Julho de 2015



A Comissão Organizadora do 3º Congresso Brasileiro de Iconografia Musical, promovido pelo RIdIM-Brasil em colaboração com o Universidade Federal da Bahia, lembra aos interessados que o prazo para envio de propostas de comunicações a serem apresentadas durante o referido congresso a ser realizado em Salvador, Bahia, de 20 a 24 de julho de 2015 continua em aberto.


As propostas (inéditas e inseridas em algum dos tópicos previstos que incluem diversos aspectos correlatos às disciplinas envolvidas) devem ser enviadas até 31 de maio de 2015 na forma de resumo (até 300 palavras) pelo sistema de submissão online disponível em www.portaleventos.mus.ufba.br (clicando no link do congresso).


Mais informações pelo site http://www.ridim-br.mus.ufba.br/3cbim2015/



Submissão de resumos online – 3 de fevereiro a 31 de maio de 2015

Avaliação por pares – 1º a 25 de junho de 2015

Publicação dos Resultados – 30 de junho de 2015

Publicação online (pdf) do caderno de resumos – 30 de junho de 2015

Envio da versão final dos textos aprovados – até 30 de agosto de 2015

Realização do evento – 20 a 24 de julho de 2015


Muito atenciosamente,

Dr. Pablo Sotuyo Blanco

Presidente do 3º CBIM