Conference at the Horniman Museum

Conference at the Horniman Museum: Roots of Revival

About this event – 12-14 March 2014

The revival of interest in early music remains a prominent and influential feature of the Western classical music scene. But the revival had roots in the late 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries with proponents as diverse as Felix Mendelssohn, Arnold Dolmetsch and Wanda Landowska. Without these pioneering and zealous individuals, and the famous 19th and early 20th century collectors of musical instruments, the revival may never have occurred nor reached such a wide public. The Horniman Museum holds one of the largest and most diverse collections of musical instruments in theUK, including over 8,000 objects.

The Museum’s Music Gallery, displaying some 1,200 instruments, is soon to be supplemented by a new permanent keyboard instrument exhibit, including several examples from theVictoriaandAlbertMuseum. A current temporary exhibition, the Art of Harmony, featuring about 40 instruments of all types from the V&A will continue to run during the conference and remain open until the end of March 2014.

Call for Papers

This conference will be a 3-day forum for presenting research on the lives and work of collectors, enthusiasts, craftsmen and musicians who had an impact on the course of the 20th century early music revival. The Museum, housing the Dolmetsch and many other relevant collections, including a small but significant selection of instruments from the V&A, provides an apt setting for such a meeting.  Presentations concerning the historic models that builders such as Dolmetsch used as prototypes, accounts of their workshops and working methods, and of restorations that they undertook, are invited.  Research into 19th and early 20th century notions about historic performance practice will also be welcomed.

Abstracts of 250-300 words should be sent by email to  Please include name, affiliation (if any), postal address, email address, and AV requirements on a separate cover sheet. Presentations should last 20-25 minutes + 5-10 minutes questions/discussion. Proposers of panel discussions (one hour) should submit, together with the abstract, a brief overview of the rationale for the session, together with a list of up to four participants and the topics that will be addressed.  Proposals for lecture-recitals (50 minutes + 10 minutes questions/discussion) should include, together with the abstract, full details of the proposed performance and any relevant requirements in their cover sheet.

The closing date for receipt of proposals is 1 November 2013. All those submitting proposals will be notified of the outcome by 2 December.

Further Information:

The site will be updated periodically as details become available.

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