RMA Annual Conference 2011 – ‘Horizons’

University of Sussex, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 9QN

14th  – 16th July 2011

Preliminary Programme & Conference Booking Form

Conference Programme

Registration Form: pdf format and Word format
This year’s Royal Musical Association Annual Conference is on the theme of Horizons and will be hosted by theUniversity of Sussex Music Department in association with the Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre andGlyndebourne.
Conference Location:

The conference will be hosted at the University of Sussex in Brighton.  Sussex has one of the most beautiful campus locations in Britain.  Situated in rolling parkland on the edge of Brighton, the campus combines award-winning architecture with green open spaces.  The campus is surrounded by the South Downs National Park, but just a few minutes away from the lively city of Brighton and Hove.  Designed by Sir Basil Spence, the buildings that make up the heart of the campus were given listed building status in 1993.  Further details about the University, location and conference facilities.


Further information regarding maps and travel details to and from the University of Sussex campus.

Conference Programme:

Full details of the conference programme can be found at the link above.  The programme features a number of keynote and invited addresses.

  • The Peter Le Huray Lecture will be presented by Tim Carter (David G. Frey Distinguished Professor of Music, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) on ‘Lost Horizons? Monteverdi and the Problems of Biography’;
  • Simon McVeigh (Goldsmiths, University of London) will present a keynote on ‘The Impact of ‘Impact’: Music Research and its Publics’;
  • David Owen Norris (University of Southampton) will give a keynote recital of Mendelssohn performed on a rare 1828 Broadwood Grand Piano;
  • Graham Hobbs (Publishing Director for Arts, Humanities and Education, Routledge) will present a paper on ‘New Horizons in Musicology Publishing?’
  • Nicholas Till (Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre, University of Sussex) will chair a themed session on ‘New operatic forms for participatory and community opera’ with colleagues from Glyndebourne.

The programme also features an optional trip to the Glyndebourne Festival production of Donizetti’s Elisir d’Amore.  There will be three dedicated sessions on opera; a roundtable plenary on New Horizons in Composition and Sonic Media; a demonstration of Schenker Documents Online under the theme of ‘Analysis in the Digital Age’ together with twenty-one parallel and plenary sessions across the three days.

Registration Information:

A conference Registration and Booking form can be found at the link at the top of this page.  Full package rates are available ranging from £210 – £275 with ensuite and standard accommodation options and discounts for RMA members and students.  These rates include accommodation, all conference meals and two nights B&B in campus residences.  Day rates are also available for those unable to attend all three days.  Full details of the rates are listed on the conference booking form above.  The deadline for registration is 12 June, after which a 10% late registration fee is payable.

Questions concerning the conference can be directed to the conference organiser, Dr Nicholas McKay, Head of Music, University of Sussex, Nicholas McKay.

Conference Abstract: Building on the ‘boundaries’ theme of the 2010 RMA Annual Conference, this conference explores new ‘horizons’ affecting music and its study.  As a metaphor, the concept of horizons is replete with connotations that operate within music and the way we think about and conceptualise it.  Emblematic of an apparent boundary between two entities (literally earth and sky), horizons represent the limit or range of perception or knowledge.  They articulate the scope of our interest, education and understanding, whether wide or narrow.  We speak of the dawning of new, emerging horizons; the setting of past or vanishing horizons; and even the fusion of horizons.  The aim of this conference is to encourage practitioners and researchers alike to explore the ways in which new and emerging horizons are affecting diverse areas of musical research.  Papers are invited on any aspect of the concept of horizons in musical research from any field (e.g. composition, performance, music history and analysis, film music studies, popular music/jazz studies etc.).  In particular, the conference welcomes papers addressing or engaging with the following topics:

  • The rise of the impact agenda for research:
    The study of music is under increasing pressure to articulate its wider socio-economic and cultural ‘impact’ beyond the confines of its own discipline.  What losses and gains does this new horizon offer for musical research?  What does impact-sensitive musical research or practice look like?
  • The growth of digital humanities:
    The last decade has ushered into mainstream research culture an increasing awareness of, and reliance on, digital humanities in musical research and practice.  The use of information technology, the creation of digital archives and research with technology has all enhanced our interaction with music.  As a ‘beyond-text’ art form, music and its research stands to gain much from a deeper engagement with digital humanities but what are the implications of this activity?
  • The development of practice as research:
    The once apparent horizon-as-boundary between practice and research in music has been the object of much rethinking in recent years.  Practice has increasingly gained acceptance – even come to the fore – as a mode of critical research in its own right and the intersection between practice and conventional text-based research has yielded much for many scholars, practitioners and scholar-practitioners.  What new insights have been generated in the field?
  • The future of critical musicology:
    The last several decades have witnessed the relatively late arrival of postmodern, contextual approaches to studying music, eclipsing its former horizons.  Can we yet talk of beyond postmodern horizons in musicology and what are the future horizons for understanding music?
  • The engagement with multimedia and site-specific environments:
    Recent years have witnessed a rapid expansion in music’s engagement with multimedia and site-specific environments. How has the study of music embraced these new horizons?
  • Themed sessions and individual papers on opera and music theatre:
    In conjunction with Glyndebourne Opera and the University of Sussex’s Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre, papers or practical demonstrations are particularly invited for themed sessions on any aspect of opera and music theatre addressing any of the above issues.

Optional social trip to Glyndebourne Festival opera production:

As part of the social activities for the conference, there will be an optional trip to the Glyndebourne Festival production of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore on July 14th.  Ticket prices available at £70.  Please indicate when submitting your paper if you would like to purchase one of these tickets.  This information is needed at this stage purely to help us reserve the appropriate number of tickets.  It will in no way affect decisions about whether papers are accepted or not by the programme committee.

Further details will be added to the conference website.

Original Call for Proposals
RMA Programme Committee:Katherine Brown (KCL), John Irving (IMR), Elaine King (Hull) Nicholas McKay (Sussex), Philip Olleson (Nottingham).