Music and Politics in the 1930s

WHEN: Saturday 7 – Sunday 8 December 2019
WHERE: Melba Hall, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, The University of Melbourne (Royal Pde, Parkville), Australia

This symposium explores the impact of politics on music during the long 1930s (c.1925-1945). The expanding economic and cultural reach of the state in democratic and totalitarian regimes, in tandem with the rise of mass media in the form of radio and cinema, contributed to the politicisation of music during this tumultuous period. Papers are welcome on any genre or style of music and the ways in which politics intersected with issues relating to:

  • musical creation
  • institutions and music making
  • the reception of and critical writings on music
  • emerging media and the presentation of music
  • music and other art forms

Specific sessions will be devoted to the complex relations between music, political ideology, censorship and public morale during the Spanish Civil War and World War II.


Please email Michael Christoforidis (Symposium convenor) at by Friday 27 September 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 October 2019. Please advise us if earlier notification is required.

Registration for the symposium is free.

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.

Spain and Constructions of Musical Exoticism

Spain and Constructions of Musical Exoticism

WHEN: Friday 30 November – Saturday 1 December 2018
WHERE: Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne

Further information about the event will be made available on the conference website:

Far from being tied to a fixed, unchanging set of musical styles or gestures, musical representations of Spain have proved to be dynamic and multi-faceted constructs thriving across a range of periods and genres. While they have coloured the landscape of Western music since the 1500s, evocations of Spain gained momentum from the eighteenth century, and found new modes of expression with the rise of musical exoticism. Spanish composers, performers and impresarios have also been interlocutors in the promulgation of this exoticism, which has in turn influenced Hispanic musical styles and identities, and at times been a conduit for the broader dissemination of the musics of the New World.

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers that engage with different facets and manifestations of musical exoticism in relation to Spain. Papers may address repertories or issues relating to (but not limited to) the following areas:

  • Western art music
  • Opera, dance and theatrical spectacle
  • Popular musics
  • Flamenco, the guitar and images of Spain
  • Auto-exoticism and Spanish musical identity
  • Intertextuality and modernist exoticisms
  • Literature, the visual arts, film and musical representations of Spain
  • Early music and historical performance practice

Please submit an abstract of not more than 250 words, with a brief biographical note of not more than 100 words, to by 1 August 2018.

Papergivers will be notified by 10 August, but please indicate in your submission if you need earlier notification.

Registration will be free of charge, but we regret that no travel subsidies are available.

Michael Christoforidis and Elizabeth Kertesz
Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne
[Conference convenors]