Royal Music Association Study Day

Microsoft Word – RMA-Cambridge-2019-CfP-revised.docx

The Classical Musician in the 21st Century

Thursday, 23 May 2019
Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge

Keynote Speaker:
Prof. Daniel Leech-Wilkinson (King’s College, London)

Proposal submission deadline: Friday, 22 February 2019

Call for Papers

The profession of the classical music performer has been evolving in different ways over the last few decades. In particular, the idea of a genre-specific performer is being gradually replaced by the notion of a “portfolio musician”. Not only are more and more classical performers engaging with other genres of music and collaborating with artists from other arts (such as dance and theatre), they are also undertaking scholarly research and becoming increasingly involved in the composition of music. The lines, then, that have traditionally existed between the genres that musicians engage with (such as classical, jazz, or popular) and the identities that they assume when doing so (scholar, performer, or composer) are now considerably blurred.

Including a keynote presentation by Professor Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, musical performances and a round-table discussion, this study day aims to bring together practitioners, scholars and artist-researchers to explore the following questions (to which proposals need not be strictly limited):

What new career paths have been emerging for contemporary classical musicians?

  •   How does the portfolio musician’s role function in practice in specific musical projects, and in what ways have musicians had to adapt in these circumstances?
  •   What are the new musical and cultural demands classical musicians face today, and what are the implications of these demands for their artistic practices?
  •   What are some of the new collaborative and/or unconventional classical music/artistic contexts within which practitioners currently work?
  •   To what extent is the notion of “portfolio musician” really new? Are there historical precedents and/or examples?
  •   In what ways do twenty-first century classical performers engage with past musical practices?
  •   What kind of new artistic identities and musical roles are available to classical musicians?
  •   What are some of the novel approaches to, and/or current norms of, expressivity in current classical performance practices?
  •   What are the pedagogical implications, for classical musicians, of the evolving roles and identities they can adopt in musical culture?
  • Proposals for individual papers and lecture-recitals (20 minutes + 10 minutes for discussion), and poster presentations are invited. Contributions from postgraduate students are particularly encouraged. Please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words and a short biography (c. 150 words) to Adam Behan as an email attachment (
  • Please indicate if your abstract is for a paper presentation, lecture-recital or a poster, as well as your AV requirements.
  • Notification of acceptance will be sent by Monday, 4 March 2019.
  • The study day will be free for members of the RMA and the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge. There will be a fee of £10 for non-members.
  • Organising committee:
  • Adam Behan (PhD candidate, University of Cambridge)
  • David Cotter (PhD candidate, University of Cambridge)
  • Pierre Riley (PhD candidate, University of Cambridge)
  • Dr Mine Doğantan-Dack (University of Cambridge)