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International Conference
The Vision of Murray Adaskin (1906-2002): His Contributions to the Musical Scene of Canada and Beyond

University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, November 29 - December 1, 2007

Call for Papers

Keynote Speaker: 
Prof. Eli Bornstein, Professor Emeritus of Art and Art History, University
of Saskatchewan

On the occasion of the Centennial Celebration of the University of
Saskatchewan in 2007, it seems a most fitting occasion to celebrate and
honour one of Canada.s leading contributors to the discipline of music,
Murray Adaskin, who, during his twenty-year tenure at the University of
Saskatchewan from 1952 until 1973 played an extraordinary leadership role
in three pillars of the Department of Music, namely, music education,
performance, and the academic areas, and that as an indefatigable promoter
and elegant spokesperson for the discipline of music as a whole. Indeed,
Murray Adaskin.s lasting vision for the discipline was most forcefully
articulated in his fervent belief concerning the interaction of teaching
and scholarship . a vision which is readily recognized in the steadfast
adherence to these beliefs in the delivery of the curriculum in present
times with the unmistakable imprint of Adaskin.s foresightedness.

Murray Adaskin spent the majority of his years as a professional musician
and as one of the leading composers of Canada at the University of
Saskatchewan, and the composer himself often regarded the sojourn in
Saskatoon as the most rewarding. Owing to the support offered by W.P.
Thompson, then President of the University of Saskatchewan, for making the
University of Saskatchewan a primary patron of the arts in the Province of
Saskatchewan and beyond, Murray Adaskin embarked on the task invested
within him of creating cultural centre of pre-eminence within the

Indeed, it is most fortuitous to have this celebratory event take place at
the University of Saskatchewan, as Murray Adaskin, a firm believer in
music education, musical performance and musical scholarship, brought the
streams of the musical endeavour together in a most elegant fashion in the
first Canada Music Festival on the campus of the University of
Saskatchewan during the summer of 1959 . a festival which featured in a
number of separate concerts the musical legacy of Bernard Naylor
(Winnipeg), Jean Papineau-Couture (Université de Montréal), Barbara
Pentland (University of British Columbia), Clermont Pépin (Conservatoire
de Musique et d.Art Dramatique, Montréal), Eldon Rathburn (National Film
Board, Ottawa), and John Weinzweig (University of Toronto).

The conference also aims at placing the legendary contribution of Murray
Adaskin, the first composer in residence at a Canadian university, in a
larger context. During the last two decades, the interest in Canadian
music has extended far beyond the borders of the nation, including the
United States, the Middle East and Far East, as well as Europe,
particularly across the countries of the European Union. On the one hand,
this interest becomes readily evident in the surfacing of new ideologies,
such as multiculturalism, globalization and acculturation. On the other
hand, works by Canadian composers are more regularly included in various
performing venues outside Canada. Both these facets are also borne out in
the secondary literature, including encyclopaedias. The 2001 revised
edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians is far richer
in its coverage of Canadian music than the earlier 1980 edition of the
same encyclopaedia. Similarly, a comparison of the old and new editions of
the German music encyclopaedia Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart
provides vivid testimony to this phenomenon. The first edition of Die
Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart included merely a handful of entries on
Canadian Music (for example, Sir Ernest MacMillan, R. Murray Schafer). The
revised edition of this encyclopaedia is rich in entries on Canadian
composers whose legacy has been extended beyond the borders of Canada,
including the article of Kevin Bazzano on Murray Adaskin. Given the
dramatic increase in scholarship on Canadian music, especially since the
1950s . writings which include monographs, overviews of Canadian music,
journal articles, interviews and reviews of concerts and secondary
scholarships in newspapers (both Canadian and foreign) . time is ripe to
review this rather large and impressive body of writings, some of which
are not readily accessible especially outside the borders of Canada.

We are most fortunate to have Professor Eli Bornstein present the keynote
address for this conference. Eli Bornstein is an artist, writer, and
Professor Emeritus of Art and Art History, and was a former Head of this
Department at the University of Saskatchewan. He continues to edit The
Structurist, the international art journal he founded at this university
in 1960. He remains active as an artist creating art for commissions and
for exhibitions internationally in the medium of abstract color reliefs
and constructions. He was a close friend of Murray Adaskin since 1952.

It is hoped that this international conference will attract participation
from performing artists and scholars from across North America, Europe,
and Asia . those parts of the globe with which the University of
Saskatchewan has had lengthy ties through ongoing exchange programs with
universities as a result of its ongoing commitment to fostering
international ties with many countries. The planned international
conference on Murray Adaskin.s legacy is exemplary of his lasting vision
with its obvious influences on the current musical scene at the University
of Saskatchewan and within the scope of arts and culture in Canada.
Indeed, Murray Adaskin.s vision is complimentary to the University of
Saskatchewan.s Centennial motto of Engage, Enlighten and Explore . a most
fitting motto under which we are committed to explore the legacy of one of
Canada.s outstanding contributors to the ars musicae and scientia musicae

This three-day conference will include both scholarly and artistic
contributions by scholars from across Canada and beyond. In addition to
formal papers, we plan to have a series of concerts, at which the
repertory discussed in the papers will be performed, so as to provide a
natural connex between artistic endeavour and scholarship . what Murray
Adaskin saw as key elements in the creation and dissemination of
information, in essence reinforcing the two pillars of the University.
Plans are under way to mount a major library exhibition of specimens from
Murray Adaskin.s autograph collection, which the Archive of the University
of Saskatchewan is privileged to own. We are also planning a number of
social events, including a banquet in Marquis Hall on November 29 as well
as a closing reception on December 1. On November 28. the Saskatoon
Symphony Chamber Players will perform the String Quintet of Murray Adaskin
in the beautifully restored Convocation Hall of the University of
Saskatchewan as an ouverture to this conference. It was this composition
of Murray Adaskin, which let Eli Bornstein to create a work in .Homage to
Murray Adaskin., namely the Hexaplane Structurist Relief No. 2 (Arctic
Series), 1995-1998, which has recently been donated to the University
Saskatchewan by Mrs. Dorothea Adaskin and will be available for viewing in
the Administration Building of the University of Saskatchewan during the

We are inviting proposals for papers on any aspect of Murray Adaskin.s
personality, his compositional oeuvre (with examinations from a number of
perspectives, including musicology, music theory, performance practices,
native culture, etc.) and his multifaceted visions as one of the key
figures on the Canadian musical sense. Submissions from graduate students
and senior undergraduate students are encouraged. We also welcome the
submission of entire paper sessions as well as programs for concerts.

All submissions need to be made by September 15, 2007 on e-mail to the
Conference Chair at Submissions by mail need to
be postmarked September 15, 2007. Final decisions on the submissions will
be made by no later than October 15, 2007.

Any inquiries may be directed to Dr. Walter Kreyszig, Professor of
Musicology and Conference Chair.
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