A silhouette (in white) of Founder's Tower, on a background illustrating a musical theme. Royal Holloway, University of London


A unique conference celebrating the metallurgy of musical instruments with virtuoso concert performances, academic lectures and visits to museums and collections.

Oxford, United Kingdom
12th to 14th September 2008

Lectures will take place in the Holywell Music Room, opened in July 1748 and probably the oldest building of its type in Europe. It contains the only surviving Donaldson organ, built in 1790 and restored in 1985. Accommodation and dinner (if pre-booked) will be at Wadham College, founded in the reign of James I.




Friday 12th September

18.15 Dinner (at Wadham College)

19.30 Architecture of the Holywell Music Room (John Melvin, John Melvin Architects and Town Planners)

20.00 Harpsichord Recital and Talk (Steven Devine, Professor of Fortepiano - Trinity College)


Saturday 13th September

09.00 Introduction and Welcome (Tim Young, Chairman - Historical Metallurgy Society)

09.10 Boosey & Hawkes to Beeson - 150 years' making brass wind musical instruments (Bradley Strauchen, Deputy Keeper of Musical Instruments - Horniman Museum)

09.50 The tonal quality of brass instruments, their construction and the effects of elapsed time (Jared Berry, Consultant; Charles Snead, Director of the School of Music - University of Alabama; John Berry, Coleman Professor of Mechanical Engineering - Mississippi State University)


11.00 Historical Pipe Organs: influence of microstructure and composition on corrosion of lead-rich pipes (Carla Martini & Christina Chiavari - University of Bologna)

11.40 Experimental Casting of Pre-Hispanic Bells (Raul Ybarra, Mexico)

12.20 Characterising the properties of historical iron music wire in relation to production technology (Stephen Birkett - University of Waterloo, Ontario)


Afternoon tours of the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments, the Ashmolean Museum, the Pitt Rivers Museum Gamelan and the Museum of the History of Science.

18.15 Dinner (at Wadham College)

19.45 Brass Concert and Talk (Crispian Steele-Perkins, accompanied by Steven Devine)

Post-concert bar


Sunday 14th September

09.00 Short contributions, including Sabine Klaus on 'The Jamestown Trumpet', Kilian Anheuser on 'The Metallography of a Byzantine Trumpet' and Justine Bayley on 'Medieval Brass Music Wire'.

09.40 A Gotlandic string bridge of copper alloy (Ny Bjorn Gustafsson - Riksantiquariambietet, Stockholm)


10.50 German Silver - what's in a name? (Louise Bacon, Head of Collections, Conservation and Care - Horniman Museum; Brian Gilmour - University of Oxford)

11.30 Hand-held XRF applications (to be confirmed)






The conference is organised by the Historical Metallurgy Society. Further information can be found on the Society's website at http://hist-met.org/conf2008.html. If you have any queries, or would like to know more about the conference, please contact Eddie Birch on 01226 370331 or email mejbirch@aol.com.

The conference fee is £75.00 which includes the concerts and refreshments. Dinner, bed and breakfast at Wadham College is £160.00. Other accommodation options are also available. It is also possible to purchase tickets for the evening concerts separately through Tickets Oxford (01865 305305) at £8.00 per concert or £14.00 for both.


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