The Guitar Century (c. 1880-1980): Global Trends and Local Contexts


WHEN:     Friday 2 – Sunday 4 August 2019

WHERE:  Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (Ian Potter Southbank Centre),
The University of Melbourne, Australia

The twentieth century witnessed the prodigious rise in popularity of the guitar in its diverse forms, with the instrument becoming a global icon by the 1970s. Over the previous century the guitar had evolved rapidly, both as an instrument and in relation to roles it fulfilled in different cultures. During this period it not only embodied a variety of forms, but became associated with a range of playing styles and music genres, many of which continue to be popular with today’s performers and audiences. This conference will explore both global trajectories and local manifestations of the guitar during this dynamic century in the instrument’s history.

Keynote presenters to include Elijah Wald and Walter Clark.

We invite papers that investigate the guitar and its worlds from a number of perspectives in the period dating from around 1880 to 1980. Proposals may address issues including:

  • The evolution of classical, folk, popular, jazz or rock guitar traditions
  • Studies of specific local contexts and their guitar cultures
  • The engagement of composers/arrangers with the guitar, and studies of repertories or particular works
  • Studies of guitar performers and/or promoters of the instrument
  • Instrumental design, guitar manufacture and dissemination
  • Writing about the guitar and critical reception of the instrument
  • Recordings and performance practice across a range of styles

Michael Christoforidis and Ken Murray (Conference Convenors)


Please email Michael at by Friday 26 April 2019

  1. an abstract of not more than 200 words, together with
  2. a brief biographical note (not more than 100 words)

Presenters will be notified of participation in the conference by 1 May 2019. Please advise us if earlier notification is required.

Registration for the conference is free. Speakers will also be given entry to all other events that form part of the associated event“GUITAR PERSPECTIVES – Melbourne 2019: A weekend celebrating the instrument and its players” (2-4 August 2019), including concerts by Yamandu Costa, Meng Su and Adam del Monte.