Shakespeare and Music: New Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Call for Papers

Shakespeare and Music: New Interdisciplinary Perspectives

10–11 December 2020, Universities of Manchester and Huddersfield

Deadline for proposals: 15 September 2020.

‘When were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah?’ (King Lear, I/4)

We are delighted to announce the inaugural conference of the ‘Shakespeare and Music’ Study Group, on Thursday 10 December 2020 at the University of Manchester and Friday 11 December at the University of Huddersfield.

The ‘Shakespeare and Music’ group was founded in affiliation with the Royal Musical Association to provide a distinct forum for researchers and practitioners across disciplines and cultures. In line with the mission of the group, the conference aims to promote and foster research, collaboration and exchange of ideas in two complementary aspects: music in Shakespeare’s time, including various aspects of music in Shakespeare’s works; and music inspired by Shakespeare’s works, whether composed to Shakespearean themes or directly for Shakespeare plays.

In lieu of a keynote address, the conference will feature a world premiere performance of John Casken’s The Shackled King, a dramatic cantata to the composer’s own libretto derived from Shakespeare’s King Lear, with Sir John Tomlinson CBE in the title role and Rozanna Madylus (mezzo-soprano) as Cordelia, Goneril, Regan and The Fool.

The performance will be repeated in Huddersfield.

The conference also strives to provide post-graduate and early career colleagues with a platform for cross-disciplinary exchanges. To this end John Casken and John Tomlinson will work with students in post-concert composition and performance workshops, running in parallel with the academic sessions of the conference.

Apart from at least one confirmed session on ‘Shakespeare, Music and Gender’, other possible threads for papers (20 minutes) and lecture-recitals (30 minutes) include but are not limited to:

  • Music imagery and imagination in Shakespeare
  • Original melodies for Shakespeare songs and their afterlives
  • Shakespeare and opera
  • Incidental music for Shakespeare productions past and present
  • Analysis and contextualising of individual Shakespeare-inspired works
  • Setting Shakespeare’s words to music
  • Shakespeare in instrumental music
  • Shakespeare and film music
  • The role of Shakespeare in the musical imagination and creative output of composers
  • Shakespeare and musical nationalism
  • Shakespeare in non-classical music (jazz, musicals, pop)
  • Performing Shakespeare’s music
  • The afterlife of Shakespeare-inspired music

Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words accompanied by a short (150-word) biographical note to Michelle Assay and David Fanning by 15 September.

Please note: we are aware of the current uncertainties and in the event that public events are still not possible in December or that delegates are unable to travel we shall make the necessary arrangements for virtual delivery and/or streaming of the conference and its associated events.

BFE-RMA Research Students’ Conference

12th – 14th January 2021 Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge

Deadline for proposals: 1st October 2020

The Faculty of Music at the University of Cambridge is delighted to host the 2021 British Forum for Ethnomusicology and Royal Musical Association Research Students’ Conference. We look forward to welcoming UK and international postgraduates to present their research and creative practice in an inclusive, friendly and supportive atmosphere. The conference will also include training and careers workshops, informal performance opportunities, concerts and a variety of social and networking events.

We are pleased to announce that the keynote lectures will be delivered by:

  • Emily McGregor (King’s College London) winner of the Jerome Roche Prize, on behalf of the RMA
  • [TBC] winner of the BFE Early Career Prize

For further information on the conference, travel information and accommodation options, as well as registration, please see the conference website:

For general conference enquires please contact:


The Conference Call for Proposals invites submissions of work in the following categories:

Academic Papers and Lecture Recitals

Postgraduate research students are invited to submit proposals relating to any aspect of musical research, including musicology, ethnomusicology, music psychology, composition, audiovisual media, performance, and/or other creative practices, and research that cuts across disciplinary boundaries. We also welcome poster presentations: please indicate if your presentation is in poster format and/or if you are happy to present a poster in case your submitted presentation is not selected.

Papers must be a maximum of 20 minutes’ duration and will be followed by 10 minutes of questions and discussion. Lecture recitals must be a maximum of 45 minutes with 35 minutes for the presentation, followed by 10 minutes for discussion.

Abstract submissions

Submissions should be in doc. or docx. format, and consist of a title and an abstract of no more than 250 words. Please email abstracts to by 1st October 2020.  With the abstract please supply the following information: name, email address, institutional affiliation, presentation title, audiovisual requirements, and any other special requests.

Themed Panel Session Proposals

For this conference, there are two options for themed panel sessions.

  • 90-minute sessions with three 20-minute papers and 30 minutes of discussion
  • 60-minute sessions with four 5-minute lightning papers and 40 minutes of discussion

Abstract submissions

Submissions should consist of a title and an abstract of no more than 250 words to be sent for each of the contributions to the session. In addition, please provide a 400-word rationale that makes clear the purpose of the session, its theme and the ways in which the individual contributions relate to each other. Please include full contact details of the convenor and indicate whether an independent chair will be required and what equipment is needed. We especially welcome proposals that encourage interdisciplinary dialogue and/or mixed methodological approaches.

Please email abstracts to by 1st October. With the abstract please supply the following information: name, email address, institutional affiliation, presentation titles, audiovisual requirements, and any other special requests.

Call for Compositions

As part of the conference, the Faculty of Music will be offering composition workshops, which are likely to be directed by a piano trio. However, given the current pandemic crisis, it has proven difficult to confirm who will be leading the workshops. Details will be confirmed when the final call for proposals is released in the summer.

Compositions should be no more than 6 minutes in duration (shorter pieces are welcome, as are movements or excerpts of longer pieces). Selected compositions will be performed in the workshop, followed by time for discussion.

Submission Guidelines

Scores should be submitted in PDF format accompanied by a separate abstract of no more than 250 words that briefly describes the aims and methods of the piece. These materials should be submitted to by the 1st October 2020. Please provide the following information when submitting your proposal: name, email address, institutional affiliation and composition title.

The Conference Committee’s decisions will be communicated to proposers by 1st November 2020.

Conference Committee

Michelle Assay

Richard Causton

Matt Dicken

Katharine Ellis

Ellen Falconer

Lois Fitch

Dunya Habash

Patrick Huang

Matthew Machin-Autenrieth (chair)

Francesca Vella