A Symposium on Nomos alpha by Iannis Xenakis: Performance, Practice, Philosophy

Proposal Submission Deadline extended to 25th April.

Supported by CePRA, Center for Practice-Led Research in the Arts, University of Leeds.

Thursday, 9 June 2016, 9.30am – 5pm. School of Music, University of Leeds, UK.

The Symposium will provide an opportunity to explore a landmark composition of the 20th century, Nomos alpha for solo cello by Iannis Xenakis. This work presents unprecedented technical challenges for cellists, and consequently is rarely performed.

The composition was premiered by Siegfried Palm in 1966. To mark the 50th anniversary of this significant milestone in the development of the cello, we invite proposals for a Nomos alpha Symposium/Study Day. This event is an opportunity to reassess and contextualize the work through multiple perspectives: technical, philosophical and compositional, as a singular phenomenon, and in the context of Xenakis’s approach to writing for solo instruments (cello, violin, viola, piano, percussion).

We are interested in proposals for 20-minute papers, 30-minute lecture-recitals, performances (piano, strings, percussion), and poster presentations that illuminate the richness and complexity of Nomos alpha – the unique composition that transcends the aesthetical and (perceived) technical limitations of the cello and its range of expression; a paragon of Xenakis’s meta-modern compositional approach that ‘goes beyond music into the structures and processes.’

Keynote speakers: Dr. Michael Spencer, University of Leeds, Dr. Edward Campbell, University of Aberdeen.

The proposals may address, but are not limited to, the following themes:

         Nomos alpha and the development of the cello in the 20th and the 21st

  • Nomos alpha and Xenakis’s compositional methods.
  • How did Xenakis’s compositions for cello change our perception of the cello and influence the direction of the development of the cello technique and sound?
  • Nomos alpha and the multiplicity of time from the Deleuzian perspective.
  • Nomos alpha as an example of a meta-modern composition.
  • The practical issues related to the process of mastering the various extended techniques employed in Nomos alpha.
  • Nomos alpha in the context of the body of Xenakis’s instrumental music.
  • The comparative analysis of the existing recordings of Nomos alpha.
  • Nomos alpha and ‘theatricality’ in live performance.
  • Nomos alpha in the context of Xenakis’s compositions of the same period: Akrata, Terretectorh, Oresteïa.
  • The significance of Nomos alpha among other works for solo cello composed in the  second half of the 20th century.

Please send proposals (300 words) to mcan@leeds.ac.uk The deadline for proposals – 25th April 2016. Notification of acceptance will be sent by 30th April 2016.


Registration fee for the day, including lunch and refreshments – £12. Students and RMA members – £6.

Registration: http://store.leeds.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=1&deptid=1&catid=94&prodvarid=346