Beyond the centres: Musical avant gardes since 1950


Beyond the centres: Musical avant gardes since 1950
In memoriam Yannis Andreou Papaioannou (1910 - 1989)

Thessaloniki, 1-5 July 2010

The notion of the avant garde in music has stereotypically been linked
with the post-1950 internationalisation of early 20th-century
modernist ideas, while the historical and aesthetic delimitation of
boundaries between the musical avant garde and post-modernism is still
under discussion. The 'mainstream' historiography attached to the
avant garde quite expectedly focuses on the idea of innovation in the
music and theoretical texts of specific pioneers, and on notions such
as universality and the significance of time as parameters affecting
the appraisal of the work of art.

The approach of this International Conference, as inferred from the
first part of its title ('Beyond the Centres') can be perceived either
with regard to places, times and individuals (i.e. beyond the places,
times and individuals that have defined the starting points of musical
avant gardes), or with regard to dominant categorizations (i.e.,
beyond the dominant, centric, perceptions of the avant-garde
irrespective of places, times or individuals).

Thus the aim of the Conference is twofold:
1) To gather together research on widely unknown musical
realizations of the notion of the avant-garde since 1950, and
encourage the examination of multiple, heterogeneous currents built
around the ideas of innovation and / or radicalism.
2) To stimulate theoretical critical discussion on how the notion
of the avant garde can be assessed today 'from outside' (beyond the
centric generic ideas of the time of its formation) and embrace
problematisation of the very premise of a unified term for the avant
garde. In other words, to motivate the critical appraisal of the
function, reception, realization and dissemination of what was or is
considered avant-garde in different geographical and cultural
contexts. In this respect, the examination of the pedagogic methods
that were developed by institutions or individuals for the
establishment and dissemination of avant-garde techniques is within
the scope of the Conference.

Historical, analytical, ideological, political, sociological,
cultural, interdisciplinary, anthropological and other approaches are
all welcome. The broad thematic categories of the Conference can be
summarized as follows:
- Avant-garde techniques and aesthetics.
- Avant garde and politics / ideology.
- Compositional instruction, music theory and analysis and the avant gardes.

More specifically, the following list of possible thematic areas is
intended not to be restrictive, but informative of the priorities of
the Conference:
- Definitions and musical realizations of the idea of the avant garde
- ideological expressions of the avant garde
- avant garde and institutions
- avant garde and cultural identity
- reception of the avant gardes
- avant-garde pedagogies
- utopias of the avant garde
- avant-garde instrumentation - notation
- avant garde and post-modernism
- avant garde and experimentalism
- avant garde and the perception of time / space
- organicism and / or fragmentation in avant gardes.

The Conference is dedicated to the memory of Yannis A. Papaioannou,
celebrating the centenary of the birth of the most influential figure
in the dissemination of avant-garde ideas in post-1950 Greece through
his musical, educational and institutional activities. In addition to
being a stimulus for further research on Papaioannou's life, music and
ideas, the present Conference is inspired by the universality of his
approach to music and teaching, thus aiming at a universal critical
appraisal of different expressions of the notion of the avant garde.

The Conference is organized by the Department of Music Studies,
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and will take place in
Thessaloniki, Greece between 1 and 5 July 2010. The official language
of the Conference is English.

Abstracts are invited for presentation in one of the following formats:
* Papers (20 minute presentations)
* Panels, of up to four individual papers (preferably with explicit
reference to one of the three main thematic categories of the

Abstracts must address the conference theme and clearly state the aims
and methodological approach of the proposed paper(s). Abstracts for
individual papers should be no longer than 300 words. Panel proposals
should include a general 100-word description of the panel's proposed
theme, accompanied by individual 300-word abstracts for all paper

All abstracts should be submitted as e-mail attachments to Kostas
Chardas ( or Danae Stefanou
(, by the deadline οf 30 November 2009,
accompanied by the following information:
* Name(s) and Institutional Affiliation(s) of Author(s)
* Title of Proposed Paper or Panel
* Proposed Format of Presentation (Paper or Panel)
* Indicative List of Bibliographic References
* Brief (100-word) CV of Main Author(s).

All submissions will be reviewed anonymously by a board of
international reviewers. Papers will be published on the conference
website and on CD-ROM, accompanying a printed book of abstracts.

Details of submission deadlines, registration, reviewing procedures
and other updates will shortly become available on the conference
website at

Organising Committee
Demetre Yannou (chair). PhD. Professor, Department of Music Studies -
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Nikos Athineos. Conductor. Artistic Director of the Thessaloniki Concert Hall.
Kostas Chardas. PhD. Lecturer, Department of Music Studies - Aristotle
University of Thessaloniki (appointment pending).
Michalis Lapidakis PhD. Associate Professor, Department of Music
Studies - Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Evi Nika-Sampson. PhD. Associate Professor, Department of Music
Studies - Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Danae Stefanou. PhD. Lecturer, Department of Music Studies - Aristotle
University of Thessaloniki.
Costas Tsougras. PhD. Lecturer, Department of Music Studies -
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.