Deadline Extended to Nov 30 2017: Dislocations: Reassessing Ligeti’s Many Worlds

Dislocations: Reassessing Ligeti’s Many Worlds in the 21st Century

Wednesday March 7 and Thursday March 8, 2018

University of Chicago

CALL FOR PAPERS: submission deadline extended to November 30, 2017

The Hungarian expatriate and avant-gardist György Ligeti is one of the most performed, most recognized, and most influential composers of the postwar generation. Ligeti’s oeuvre is at once inimitable, paradoxical, and broad: an early folk-music inflected style gives way to the technocratic modernism of the abstract electronic pieces, the visionary sound-mass orchestral works, and the frenetic, playful meccanico music. In the last third of his career, Ligeti staged a postmodern “uncanny return,” via quasi-tonal idioms and conventional genres, to an earlier modernist aesthetic of failure. As these swerves suggest, Ligeti was one of twentieth-century music’s great wanderers: a Jewish refugee from Hungary, an Austrian citizen from the late 1960s on, speaking multiple languages, living and teaching in multiple cities, drawing upon a great, even improbable variety of Western and non-Western musical cultures. Simultaneously at home everywhere and nowhere, Ligeti was serially dislocated: a cosmopolitan, an exile to the end, a belonger to many worlds.

This symposium––the culmination of a half-year concert series from University of Chicago Presents––seeks to explore Ligeti’s multiple worlds, both in their specificity and as a broader phenomenon characterizing his life and ours. We aim to bring together several audiences, including local and visiting scholars, undergraduate and graduate students, and community members, to think together about dislocation, (post)modernity, music in exile, appropriation, and Ligeti’s beguilingly paradoxical aesthetics. The two-day symposium, March 7–8 2018, follows on the heels of Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s performance of several of Ligeti’s piano etudes and Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata on Tuesday March 6. The symposium will include a performance by the New Budapest Orpheum Society on March 7 and a workshop-performance of Ligeti’s Viola Sonata by Seth Brodsky and Doyle Armbrust (of Spektral Quartet) on March 8.

The organizers invite 20–25 minute talks and/or demonstrations from scholars and performers that reassess Ligeti’s works and worlds. We particularly welcome innovative approaches and contributions that investigate and assess the contemporaneity and global relevance of Ligeti’s music. Please submit a 250- to 500-word proposal that:

  • includes your name, institutional affiliation, and contact information
  • describes your intended contribution
  • describes a preferred presentational format (a read paper, an extemporaneous lecture, a lecture-demonstration, a workshop-performance, a performance followed by Q and A, etc.)
  • describes your A/V needs

Proposals should be received by the extended deadline of November 30, 2017. We will acknowledge receipt immediately and communicate our decision by December 15, 2017. Please send proposals to Jennifer Iverson ( The organizing committee also includes Seth Brodsky, Anthony Cheung, and Sam Pluta.