Performing Knowledge Conference

25-26 April 2016

Emmanuel College, Cambridge

Call for Papers

Bringing together performing musicians engaging in practice-led research, ethnographers of Western art music, and psychologists specialising in tacit knowledge research, this two-day conference will explore performers’ interpretative processes and their uses of tacit knowledge (also called implicit, procedural, or embodied knowledge) in understanding the explicit knowledge presented in historical documents, analyses, and performance treatises.

Keynote participants include Professor Tom Beghin (fortepianist), Margaret Faultless (violinist), Professor Christopher Page (guitarist), Chris Maene (instrument builder), Professor Tina K. Ramnarine (musician and anthropologist), Dr Satinder Gill (experimental psychologist), and Professor John Rink (Director, Cambridge Centre for Musical Performance Studies).

Belgian-Canadian fortepianist Tom Beghin (Orpheus Institute/McGill University) will perform a keynote recital featuring Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas, to be presented on a replica of Beethoven’s Broadwood piano built by master instrument builder Chris Maene.

Margaret Faultless (Cambridge University/RAM) will present an open rehearsal discussing interpretative decision-making processes within conductor-less orchestras. Her presentation will be followed by a performance with the Cambridge University Collegium Musicum.

Keynote papers will be presented by:

  • Professor Christopher Page: Performance, Imagination and the Early-Romantic Guitar
  • Professor Tina K. Ramnarine: Performance, Storytelling and the Politics of Musical Knowledge
  • Dr Satinder Gill: Knowing-How and Knowing-When: researching performers’ musical timing

Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers, 30-minute lecture-recitals (each will be followed by 10 minutes of discussion), and posters. The conference language is English. Presentations that engage critically with theories and methodologies of researching performers’ tacit knowledge, such as the use of ethnographic techniques, practice-led research, or the analysis of recorded audio and audio-visual performance, are especially welcome. Interdisciplinary perspectives are also invited, for example, papers that draw on opera or dance studies, material studies, or cognitive studies in music in discussing the theme of the conference. Topics may include:

  • Performers’ creative engagement with historical documents and objects, extending beyond the conventional remit of historically-informed performance practice studies.
  • The influence of instrument affordances on performers’ interpretative choices.
  • How musicians communicate through gesture and/or vocalisation.
  • The challenges and potentials of self-reflexive research in performance.
  • The influence of tradition on performers’ interpretative ideas.
  • The dynamics of performers’ interpretative decision-making processes in practice, rehearsals, and/or public performance (both solo and in ensemble).

Please submit proposals by Friday, 5 February 2016 including:

  • Name and institutional affiliation (if applicable).
  • Curriculum Vitae and 100-word biography.
  • Title and abstract of presentation, max. 450 words. For lecture-recitals, please include programme details of any repertoire to be performed (details are excluded from the word count).
  • A list of technical requirements (computer projection and a Steinway grand piano will be available).

Proposals will be assessed by the conference committee and applicants will be notified of the outcome by 15 February. The registration fee for delegates (whether presenting or observing) will be £90 (full) and £50 (students). Early-bird registration (by 19 February) and RMA member rates are £80 (full) and £40 (students). Registration fee includes all concerts, meals (excluding breakfast), and refreshments. Additional tickets (if required) for Tom Beghin’s recital may be booked through ADC Ticketing for £25 / £15.

Proposals should be emailed to Please send any enquires to this address also.

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