Louis-Albert Bourgault-Ducoudray (1840–1910): international conference

International conference: Louis-Albert Bourgault-Ducoudray (1840–1910)

Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris • 14–15 January, 2021


In 1933, Michel-Dimitri Calvocoressi declared that Louis-Albert Bourgault-Ducoudray paved the way for ‘nearly everything that took place in music until 1914’. At the time of his death, Bourgault-Ducoudray was recognised for his polemical advocacy for modal and metrical dynamism and for his leadership in the institutionalisation of French musicology. A Prix de Rome laureate (1862), Bourgault was the composer of orchestral favourites including the Carnaval d’Athènes (1882) and the Rapsodie cambodgienne (1889); of operas including Thamara (1891) and Myrdhin (1912, posthumous); and of countless popular hymns inspired by Republican and Breton patriotism. A musical populist, he was committed to the democratising and mobilising potential of choral traditions, and enamoured of the expressivity of “folk” music. And, as professor of music history at the Conservatoire de Paris for over three decades, he shaped narratives of French musical heritage through his popular lectures, and modeled how his vision of music history might be appropriated in compositional practice.

As musicologists continue to weave music into broader social and intellectual histories of the fin-de-siècle, Bourgault-Ducoudray has emerged as a pivotal character, and his life and achievements have come under closer scrutiny (see suggestive bibliography at <https://bru-zane.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Call-for-Papers-_-Colloque-international-Louis-Albert-Bourgault-Ducoudray.pdf>). By drawing together many of these diverse strands, this conference aims to consolidate research and produce a fuller portrait of this singular figure of French music history, as well as to stimulate reflection on his ongoing legacy in the place of music history in the curriculum of the Paris Conservatoire today.

Potential topics (among others):

  • Bourgault’s compositions and scholarship
  • Bourgault and French musical and educational institutions/networks (e.g., Conservatoire de Paris, Schola Cantorum, Société Bourgault-Ducoudray, Dîners Celtiques, primary education…)
  • Bourgault and his collaborators and colleagues, including scholars of his time (e.g., Louis Gallet, François Coppée, Émile Burnouf, Gaston Paris, Joseph Loth, Théodore Hersart de La Villemarqué…)
  • Bourgault, nationalism, republicanism, and regionalism
  • Bourgault’s legacy among composers (and folklorists) in France and abroad (e.g., Emmanuel, Koechlin, Saint-Saëns, Glazunov, Falla, Samaras, Sharp…)

The conference will include a concert on the evening of 14 January 2021 by students of the Conservatoire (music by Bourgault-Ducoudray and his contemporaries).

Please send an abstract for a 20-minute paper in French or English (max. 300 words) to BourgaultDucoudray2021@gmail.com by 15 September 2020. Decisions will be confirmed around mid-October. We encourage proposals by students. Selected papers will be considered for publication in an edited volume following the conference.

Organising committee / comité d’organisation:
Peter Asimov (University of Cambridge)
Yves Balmer (CNSMDP, IReMus)

Programme committee / comité scientifique:
Liouba Bouscant (CNSMDP)
Rémy Campos (CNSMDP/Haute école de musique de Genève)
Cécile Davy-Rigaud (CNRS, IReMus)
Katharine Ellis (University of Cambridge)
Inga Mai Groote (Universität Zürich)
Etienne Jardin (Centre de musique romantique française, Fondation Bru)
Barbara Kelly (Royal Northern College of Music)
Jann Pasler (University of California, San Diego)