The Piano Trio: History, Technique, Performance




12-13 November 2010

Senate House, University of London


Call for Proposals:


The piano trio is a relatively late arrival on the scene in the history of chamber music. When in the late eighteenth century, the first piano trios as we now understand them – with emancipated string parts that are assigned near-equal partnership with the keyboard – appeared, the string quartet was already well established as a genre. The development of the piano trio has been contingent upon the ways in which changes to the construction of keyboard instruments affected the nature of the inter-relationships between instruments and composers' responses. This conference aims to bring together researchers working on the historical, technical and performative aspects of the piano trio genre.


The keynote presentation will be given by David Owen Norris.


Proposals (250 words) for individual papers (20 minutes, with 10 minutes discussion), lecture-recitals and performances /demonstrations (30 minutes maximum, with 15 minutes discussion) or panels (three of four papers, each to be 20 minutes maximum, with 10 minutes discussion) are invited on the following topics:



•Historical origins of the piano trio

•Changing social function of the genre

•Canonic works, and mainstream repertoire for the piano trio

•Significance of the genre as a cultural phenomenon

•Historical and contemporary performance practice of the piano trio repertoire

•Performance history of the piano trio

•Equal partnership or ensemble hierarchy in performance?

•National identities in relation to the genre

•The place of the piano trio in historical and contemporary concert programmes

•The rise and careers of professional piano trios

•Recording history of the piano trio

•Contemporary repertoire for the piano trio

•Patronage and the piano trio

•The piano trio as a foundation for larger ensembles

•Subversion of the genre: piano trio with non-traditional instrumental combinations

•Progressive and conservative trends in 20th-century piano trio repertoire

•The development of modern pianos and its relationship to the repertoire for the piano trio

•Compositional issues in relation to the piano trio

•Issues of balance in the performance of piano trios

•Landmarks in the history of the piano trio repertoire

•The future of the piano trio



DEADLINE for proposals: 5pm (GMT), Monday 1 March 2010


Notification of acceptance and preliminary programme: 15 April 2010

Final programme issued: 15 July 2010

Registration opens: 1 August 2010


Please submit by email, in an attachment including your full name and contact details, to the IMR Administrator Mrs Valerie James, at


Proposals will be judged anonymously. Paper proposals from students are especially encouraged.


Conference Committee:

Mine Dogantan Dack (Chair – Middlesex University)

John Irving (Director of the Institute of Musical Research)

Peter Fribbins (Middlesex University)

Mieko Kanno (Durham University; Orpheus Institute)

Ferenc Szücs (Irish World Academy of Music and Dance)

Marianne Tyler Brown (Middlesex University)