Music and Philosophy

RMA Music and Philosophy Study Group Inaugural Conference
(Optional) Theme: Opera and Philosophy
Department of Music, King’s College London, 1-2 July

Keynote speakers:

Professor Lydia Goehr (Columbia University)
Professor Gary Tomlinson (Yale University)
Professor Kendall Walton (University of Michigan)

Sessions range from ‘Rhythm and Time’ through ‘Philosophy and Performance’ to ‘Arousal and Engagement’. There will be a special session on the visual arts with Professor Robert Saxton (University of Oxford) as invited speaker, and discussion fora on ‘Music and Language’, ‘Plato and Platonism’, and ‘Chinese Opera, Chinese Philosophy’.

For further details, and to register, please visit


Original call for papers follows






Music and Philosophy


1st Annual Conference of the Royal Musical Association Music and Philosophy Study Group


Generously supported by King’s College London, the British Society of Aesthetics, the Institute of Musical Research, and the Centre for Music on Stage and Screen (University of Nottingham)


Friday and Saturday, 1-2 July 2011

*New venue: King’s College London*


More information and conference website:


Keynote speakers:


Professor Lydia Goehr (Columbia University)

Professor Gary Tomlinson (University of Pennsylvania)

Professor Kendall Walton (University of Michigan)


The RMA Music and Philosophy Study Group warmly invites paper submissions for their inaugural two-day international conference, to be held in London on 1-2 July 2011. The event, the first of an annual series of conferences run by the Study Group, will offer an opportunity for musicologists and philosophers to share and discuss work in the hope of furthering dialogue between the two disciplines. Paper submissions on all topics related to the area of music and philosophy are welcome, but in particular those relating to this year’s theme of ‘Opera and Philosophy’. Collaboration between persons from different disciplines would be especially welcomed.


In addition to papers relating to the conference theme, topics of interest might include (but are not limited to):


– music, meaning, and language

– perception and expression

– music and ethics

– music and ontology

– performance, authenticity, and interpretation


Conference theme 2011: ‘Opera and Philosophy’


For centuries, from Rousseau, through Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, to Adorno, Williams, Zizek, Dolar and beyond, opera has captured the imaginations of philosophers. At the same time, musicology has engaged enthusiastically with connections between philosophical thought and operatic themes, such as, for example, the relationship between music and words, the limits and possibilities of opera as social and political expression, and the rich potential of voice as bearer of meaning and subjectivity. This year’s theme of ‘Opera and Philosophy’ seeks to encourage further discussion of opera as a medium which straddles ontological, metaphysical, and hermeneutic spheres, inviting exploration of issues related to areas such as representation, expression, language, narrative, meaning, and ethics.


There will be special sessions on:


‘Opera, Philosophy, and the Visual Arts’ (in association with the RMA Music and Visual Arts Study Group)

Invited speaker: Professor Robert Saxton (Oxford University)


‘Music, Philosophy, and Analysis’

Invited speaker: TBC


Proposals of up to 500 words are invited for individual papers (20 minutes) and collaborative papers (up to 30 minutes).


Please submit proposals by e-mail to the conference organiser Dr Nanette Nielsen:


The deadline for proposals is Monday 10 January 2011.


All paper submissions will be considered by the conference committee:


Professor Julian Dodd

Professor Julian Johnson

Mr Tomas McAuley

Dr Nanette Nielsen

Professor Nick Zangwill