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Musical Ekphrasis (ICMS7)
Imatra, June 2001

for the thematic session, "Musical Ekphrasis"
to be organized by Siglind Bruhn as part of the
which will take place June 7-10, 2001 at Imatra, Finland under the title, 

	The term "ekphrasis" is used by literary scholars for, most
generously put, poems responding to works of visual art. (A more precise
definition is James Heffernan's "the verbal representation of visual
representation,"  _Museum of Words_, 1993; see also the writings of Leo
Spitzer 1955, Jean Hagstum 1958, Murray Krieger 1967, 1992, Hans Lund 1992
[1982], Claus Clüver 1989, 1997, Grant Scott 1991, 1995, Tom Mitchell
1992, 1994, Yacobi 1995, 1998, and others).
	Yet not only poets may respond to a work of visual art with a
creative act in their own medium, transposing the style and structure, the
message and metaphors from the visual to the verbal. Composers, too, have
explored this interartistic mode of transfer, claiming that a certain
composition was a specific response to a painting or a sculpture, an
etching or an altar panel, and that they have undertaken to transform the
essence of this art work's features and message into their own medium, the
musical language.  Just like poets, composers may respond in many
different ways to a visual representation: they may transpose aspects of
both the structure and the content and/or expand on its meaning, they may
supplement, respond with associations, problematize, or playfully engage
some of the suggestive elements of the image.
	These processes suggest questions such as the following: How does
the knowledge of such a "transformation" from one medium into the other
inform, guide, or alter our understanding of the musical work? And
conversely, can such a musical work contribute to a deeper (or new)
understanding of the art work that provided the stimulus?
	This thematic sesssion is open to papers addressing particular
case studies, particular aspects of re-presentation, questions of
(cross-disciplinary and intra-disciplinary) methodology, as well as
studies aiming to situate the phenomenon of "musical ekphrasis" within the
aesthetics discourse.

The presentation of each paper must not exceed 30 minutes.
The languages of the congress are English, French, and German.
The proceedings will be published as an anthology in the international series,
_Acta Semiotica Fennica_.

Abstracts (of 300-500 words) should reach me by December 1, 2000 (email 
please:  ), along with
- biographical information,
- postal address, e-mail address, and institutional affiliation.
I will gladly answer enquiries at any time. So if you have doubts whether 
or not a topic you have in mind may fit, feel free to mail me.

As the organizer of this special session, I will compile abstracts + info
and, together with the general proposal, submit the entire package to the
ICMS7 Programm Committee early next year. I expect that you will then
receive individual information regarding travel and accommodation. For
registration and other details, see the information contained in the
general conference announcement, which I attach below, as well as on the
ICMS webpage,

I hope to hear from you. Please pass this on.
Best wishes,

Dr. Siglind Bruhn
Life Research Associate, Music and Modern Literatures
Institute for the Humanities, University of Michigan

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Excerpt from the general conference announcement for ICMS7:

Musical Signification is an international research project made up of more
than 200 members world-wide.  Thus far the Musical Signification Project
has organized symposia in Imatra, Helsinki, Edinburgh, Paris, Bologna, and
Aix en Provence. Its administrational center is located at the Department
of Musicology, University of Helsinki.

The congresses are intended for all scholars working in the field of
musical semiotics, with semiotics understood in the broadest sense of the
term.  In addition to members of the Musical Signification Project, the
congress is open to all other scholars who wish to attend and / or to
present a paper on the main theme or on a related topic.

Chair of the Congress:  Prof. Eero Tarasti
Honorary Board of the Congress:  Profs. Daniel Charles, Márta Grabócz,
Robert S.Hatten, Leonard B. Meyer, Costin Miereanu, Raymond Monelle,
Jean-Jacques Nattiez, Charles Rosen, Gino Stefani and Bernard Vecchione

Organizing Committee:  Drina Hocevar, Jean-Marie Jacono, Kai Lassfolk,
Joseph-François Kremer, Luiz Fernando de Lima, Richard Littlefield, Dario
Martinelli, Alfonso Padilla, Erkki Pekkilä, Maija Rossi, Anne
Sivuoja-Gunaratnam, Eila Tarasti, Osmo Vartiainen, Irma Vierimaa, Susanna

In addition to paper sessions and study groups, ICMS7 will feature events 
that include the following:
. a recital by acclaimed pianist, Charles Rosen,
. a concert of new Finnish music,
. a program of music performed by participants in the congress.

The congress will be held at the Imatran Valtionhotelli (State Hotel of 
Imatra) and the  Imatra Cultural Center.

Further Information
Questions about the content of the congress may be directed to Osmo 
Vartiainen ( or to Susanna Välimäki 
( As it becomes available, information about 
the congress will also be posted on the official website of the 
International Semiotics Institute

*** For information about lodging, transportation, and other matters in 
*** Imatra, please contact the secretary of the International Semiotics
*** Institute (ISI), Maija Rossi: ***