Department of Music

Back Page

Word and Music Studies: Third International Conference
Sydney, July 2001


Word and Music Studies: Third International Conference

July 18 - 21, 2001	University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia


Call for Papers


The International Association for Word and Music Studies (WMA) takes pleasure in
announcing its Third International Conference to be held at the University of
Sydney, Australia, from July 18 to 21, 2001. It follows the First International
Conference, held at Graz, Austria, in 1997, and the Second International
Conference, held at Ann Arbor, MI, USA, in 1999.

The Proceedings of the Graz conference were published as volume 1 of the
association's book series, Word and Music Studies (WMS), and the Ann Arbor
Proceedings will form volume 3 of WMS, due to be published in spring 2001; the
Sydney papers are also expected to be published in the series.

Scholars from all areas of activity in Word and Music Studies are invited to
participate in the Sydney conference which, in continuation of WMA's earlier
practice, will be devoted to two themes.

The first theme, "Cultural Identity and the Musical Stage", pays tribute to the
genius loci as symbolised by Australia's most prominent architectural landmark,
the Sydney Opera House. The choice of this theme reflects that opera, and music
theatre in general, is a phenomenon belonging to the public, rather than the
private sphere; it is frequently expected to fulfil functions, in diverse cultural
contexts, that promote group identities. Music theatre usually incorporates values
which are representative of the value systems of specific groups. This pertains to
both internal factors (choice of subject matter, setting and characters; musical
style; text/music integration etc.) and external factors (choice of production
site and various other performance features). Works considered 'national operas'
and thus indicative of a nation's self-awareness are obvious cases in point. Works
for the musical stage often serve as mirrors or projections of particular forms of
social class-consciousness, as they have manifested themselves in the historical
process. In still other cases, music theatre may be expressive of more specialized
group identities (avantgarde, academic, youth and popular culture etc.). The range
of pertinent topics to be addressed is socially, historically and geographically
broad. What they are all expected to share is their concern with cultural
functions of opera and music theatre rather than with other possible aspects of
the genre.
 

The second theme, "Defining the Field", constitutes a regular feature at WMA
conferences, aimed at airing general, i.e. theoretical and methodological
questions innate to Word and Music Studies as a scholarly field. In Sydney, as a
special focus of "Defining the Field", we shall honour Steven Paul Scher, one of
the Vice-Presidents of WMA, on his 65th birthday. Papers are invited to reflect on
the contribution of this eminent scholar to Word and Music Studies and hopefully
to enter into a future-oriented dialogue with his work, which was instrumental in
establishing the field as a modern scholarly discipline.

Members of the Programme Committee are Walter Bernhart (University of Graz,
Austria), Suzanne Lodato (The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New York, USA) and
Werner Wolf (University of Graz, Austria).

Abstracts of conference papers, not exceeding 300 words, may be submitted by
e-mail or fax to Walter Bernhart by 1 December 2000, to the following address:
walter.bernhart@kfunigraz.ac.at, or fax: +43-316-380-9765.

Abstracts should include a title and a brief statement of the perspective the
presentation will take on one of the conference themes. The duration of the
presentation should be carefully planned not to exceed 30 minutes.

The local organizer in Sydney is Dr Michael Halliwell from the University of
Sydney. He will welcome participants to the refurbished and vibrant post-Olympic
city. Some of the events planned include a harbour-cruise, a reception and
performance at the recently renovated historic Conservatorium of Music, as well as
discounted tickets for a performance of Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore at the Sydney
Opera House with a reception after the performance. The conference will be held at
Women's College on the main campus of the University of Sydney, Australia's oldest
and most prestigious university. Accomodation (including breakfast) is available
in the college at the very reasonable rate of A$ 48 (currently US$ 29) for a
single room, and A$ 72 (US$ 44) for a twin. Discounted rates will be organized
with other hotels in Sydney. Rebates for standard flights on Ansatt and Qantas and
their partner airlines have been negotiated, yet special fares booked in the
country of origin may very well be even more economical. The season chosen for the
conference is most inviting for pre- or post-conference visits to the natural
attractions of North Queensland, Darwin and Central Australia. Geoffrey
Moorhouse's latest cultural guide has only recently come out and is devoted to
Sydney (Sydney. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999).