Classical Music in Contemporary Media and Society

Call for papers

International conference, October 15-17, 2021,

Department of Cultural Sciences, University of Gothenburg

Keynote speaker: Professor Lawrence Kramer (Fordham University)

The conference Classical Music in Contemporary Media and Society will bring together researchers interested in how classical music is represented in today’s multifaceted mediascape. We encourage submissions from scholars and practitioners interested in how ideas, conceptions and values surrounding classical music are reaffirmed, negotiated and disputed in our contemporary mediatized and digitalized world, and the ways in which representations of classical music challenge, subvert or reproduce existing racialized, gendered, and classed power-relations.

The place and relevance of classical music in a world marked by ongoing cultural diversification, commercialization and mediatization is a subject that has received considerable attention in recent years. The topic has been a recurring theme in both the scholarly literature and in broader public discourses. During the last decade, discourses on classical music have also become progressively more visible in public space and in mainstream popular culture. While such discourses have certainly had a long-standing presence in public media – cinema, newspapers, radio broadcast, telecasts, etc. – they have lately been increasingly disseminated through diverse visual and audio-visual representations related to newly emerging advertising strategies of concert institutions, record companies and streaming sites, as well as to on-line social media and widely popular TV-series and fiction films. Thus, a vigorous negotiation is taking place in a variety of contemporary locations and media. At stake here is not only the cultural status and significance of classical music but, more radically, the very idea of what classical music is. This situation calls for research that addresses the broader meaning-making processes surrounding and shaping our conceptions of classical music and classical musicians today. 

The main objective of the conference Classical Music in Contemporary Media and Society is to promote such research and encourage a genuinely interdisciplinary discussion about classical music as a contemporary cultural and mediatized phenomenon.

Proposals for papers are invited on (but not limited to) any of the following topics:

  • Representations of classical music and classical musicians in film, TV-series and other fictional screen media
  • Representations of classical music and classical musicians in documentaries
  • Representations of classical music and classical musicians in the music industry’s marketing discourses
  • Representations of classical music and classical musicians in screened and mediatized theatre 
  • Cultural and media representations of amateur music making
  • Cultural and media representations of musical listening and musical subjectivity
  • Concert institutions and representations of classical music
  • Classical music in social media
  • Opera in/and screen media
  • Opera institutions and the representation of opera
  • Classical music  in art cinema
  • Classical music in video games

Presentation formats

  • Individual papers 20 min (+ 10 min discussion)

Proposal length and submission

Abstracts of papers (250 words) and a short biography (max 150 words including contact details) should be submitted by no later than 15 March, 2021. Please send your abstract and bio to Applicants of selected contributions will be notified by the end of May.

Conference fee

Participation at the Conference is conditional upon the payment of the participation fee. Deadline for payment is August 30 2021. Information on how to pay the fee will be posted on the conference website (see link below).

For scholars – 120 €

For PhD students – 60 €

In case of social restrictions regarding Covid-19, online execution of the conference will be considered. Applicants of selected contributions will be notified about the conference format no later than August 15 2021. In case of online execution the conference fee will be adjusted to 60 € for scholars and 30 € for PhD students.

Program committee

Tobias Pontara (University of Gothenburg)

Christina Scharff (Kings College, London)

Inka-Maria Nyman (Åbo Akademi University)

Michael Baumgartner (Cleveland State University)

Adrian Curtin (University of Exeter).

Organization and funding

The conference Classical Music in Contemporary Media and Society is organized by the Department of Cultural Sciences (University of Gothenburg) in collaboration with the research project  Classical Music for a Mediatized World: Visual and Audio-Visual Representations of Western Art Music in Contemporary Media and Society (funded by the Swedish Research Council 2018-2022).

Find out more about the conference at our conference website: