Perspectives on Musical Improvisation

Perspectives on Musical Improvisation, 10-13 September 2012, University of Oxford – Booking details

The conference brings together a rich set of perspectives on musical improvisation with papers approaching the subject from musicological, cognitive, psycho-social, philosophical, anthropological and pedagogical lenses representing a range of improvisatory genres. In addition to papers, there will be poster sessions, practical workshops and performances; we are also delighted to welcome a number of eminent scholars to the conference – two invited speakers and three panel members:

Invited speakers:

  • Professor Thierry Escaich, Professor of Composition and Performance, Paris Conservatoire
  • Professor Ingrid Monson, Quincy Jones Professor of African-American Music, Harvard University



  • Professor Lydia Goehr, Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University
  • Professor Garry Hagberg, James H. Ottaway Jr. Professor of Aesthetics and Philosophy, Bard College
  • Professor George Lewis (discussion respondent), Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music, Columbia University


The conference website is live at and provides full information about the conference, how to register and book your accommodation ( the registration and accommodation pages both link to the conference online booking system), and travel.  We advise delegates to pay registration fees and accommodation in one booking – this is simpler than doing this separately.  Further, we would encourage you to book your Christ Church conference accommodation sooner rather than later as their full board rates are very reasonable and it can be difficult to find accommodation in Oxford during September.

  • A draft programme of speakers and paper titles  is available for download from the site.  We have limited discounted places for students attending the conference.


For further information about registration or accommodation, contact the Conference Administrator, Emily Payne:

For any enquiries about presentations etc, contact Mark Doffman:

Original call for papers

‘Perspectives on Musical Improvisation’ call for papers
10th-13th September 2012
Faculty of Music, University of Oxford

Conference registration is now open.
Please visit the conference website to register, book accommodation and get more information about the conference.

Early registration discount available until 1st May 2012.

Conference theme
Improvisation is arguably the most widely distributed form of musical practice – and yet remains the least studied or understood. Indeed, even the boundaries of what is or is not regarded as improvisation remain unclear. This conference will address the many faces of improvisation from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives – historical, psychological, ethnomusicological, analytical, technological, sociological, organological, and pedagogical. Over the course of four days, the conference will include papers, practical sessions, and poster presentations.
The conference is affiliated to the AHRC-funded Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice (CMPCP) and enjoys the support of SEMPRE, IMR, BFE, and SMA.

Submission guidelines
Proposals are invited for individual papers, poster presentations and practical sessions on topics in the field of musical improvisation. All proposals should include the following:
• Author name(s) with email address, institutional affiliation and postal address for each author.
• An anonymised attachment containing a title, abstract (300 words) and five keywords (in Word or pdf format). You should indicate whether the proposal is for a paper, poster presentation or practical session.
• All proposals should clearly describe the topic of the presentation and illustrate the aims, research questions and significance of the work. Where appropriate, eg a proposal for a practical session, a soundfile (mp3 format) can accompany the submission.
Papers and practical sessions should be between 20-25 minutes in length.
Submissions should be sent to
Closing date for submissions: Monday 9th January 2012.
Submissions will receive an automated acknowledgement. We will confirm whether the submission has been accepted for the conference by Wednesday 15th February 2012. Programme committee: Eric Clarke (Chair), David Maw, Tina Ramnarine, John Rink and Mark Doffman.

Conference website
The conference webpages with the programme, conference fees, registration forms, accommodation information and other details will go live at the beginning of March 2012 at

For information other than about submissions, contact Mark Doffman, Faculty of Music, University of Oxford at