A National Master in an International Context. Musicological Conference on the 50th Anniversary of Zoltán Kodály’s Death

December 8–10, 2017, Budapest, Archives and Research Group for 20th-21st Century Hungarian Music, Institute of Musicology, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Zoltán Kodály (1882–1967) is one of the most influential representatives of 20th-century Hungarian and universal music culture. His concept of music education based on relative solmization and folk music is known worldwide. His diverse compositional oeuvre, combining Western European modernity and the folk music as well as the music historical tradition of Hungary, and his revolutionary new ethnomusicological activity, however, became part of the musical canon almost exclusively in his country. The most important international summaries of music history – such as Richard Taruskin’s History of Western Music, or Hermann Danuser’s 20th-century music history – define him as a master of national importance, mostly opposed to his friend Béla Bartók who proved much more successful internationally, and highlight merely the Psalmus Hungaricus (1923) as the only composition of the life work constantly present in the international concert life, whereas the Háry-Suite and the Dances of Galánta are most frequently performed in concert halls. The primary purpose of the planned musicological conference is to make Zoltán Kodály’s compositional oeuvre known to the musicological community and to incorporate it at the same time into the musicological discourse on the 20th century. On the other hand, the conference wants to create an opportunity to assess the radius of the influential composer-teacher Kodály on the international compositional and musical scene and to focus research interest on the difficulties of methodological, cultural, and political nature, or even caused by the music market, which are concerning the involvement into the international public discussion of 20th-century composers considered important from a national perspective.
For the conference, we expect applications dealing with the following topics:
1. Zoltán Kodály’s compositional oeuvre (work analyses, aesthetic and philological approaches, the cultural and musical context of the oeuvre, Kodály and music politics, Kodály and the musical life, conservative modernism, Western and Eastern traditions, national styles in the 20th century, Kodály’s influence on subsequent generations)
2. Zoltán Kodály’s artistic and scientific radius worldwide (the activity of his significant disciples, such as István Anhalt, Antal Doráti, Ferenc Fricsay, Géza Frid, Tibor Harsányi, Paul Henry Lang, Ödön Pártos, György Sándor, Mátyás Seiber, Tibor Serly, Sándor Végh, and Sándor Veress)
3. The position of national composers, their possibilities to emerge in the international musical space (What are the chances of these composers as they start their career? What is the role of the performers and of the music scholars in this process? Case studies on composers)

Accompanying programs: On the day preceding the conference (December 7), participants of the conference will have the opportunity to take part at the international Dohnányi day organized by the Archives for 20th–21st Century Hungarian Music. On the closing day of the conference (December 10), an international ethnomusicological workshop will be held about the 21st-century assessment of Kodály’s influential and innovative classification of folk music, the present-day situation of historical ethnomusicology, and the contemporary methods of systematization and analysis. In the framework of a group excursion planned for December 11, participants of the conference may also visit Zoltán Kodály’s hometown Kecskemét (approx. 100 km from Budapest).

Proposals are invited for individual papers of 20 minutes. Proposals consisting of a title, abstract (max. 250 words), and short biographical note, should be submitted as a Word-file attached to an e-mail addressed to the organizer of the conference at magyar.zenei.archivum@btk.mta.hu by August 31 2017. Please include contact details and institutional affiliation (if any), along with details of anticipated AV requirements. The official language of the conference will be English.

Keynote speaker
Richard Taruskin, University of California, Berkeley

Conference committee
Marina Frolova-Walker, Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge, Cambridge
Melita Milin, Institute for Musicology, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Belgrade
László Vikárius, Bartók Archives, Research Center for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest

Conference organizer
Anna Dalos, Head of the Archives and Research Group for 20th-21st Century Hungarian Music, Research Center for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest (dalos.anna@btk.mta.hu)

Instrument of Change: The International Rise of the Guitar (c.1870-1945)

Friday 9 – Sunday 11 December 2016
Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

The University of Melbourne, Australia


The rise and international dissemination of the modern guitar can be dated to the decades around the turn of the 20th century, when the instrument took on a variety of forms and became associated with a range of playing styles and music genres. This conference will explore the contexts and trajectories of the guitar during this dynamic period, which pre-dated its global proliferation as a popular music icon in the second half of the 20th century.

Keynote speakers for the conference will include:
Prof. Walter Clark (University of California, Riverside); Prof. Kevin Dawe (University of Kent); Dr Melanie Plesch (University of Melbourne); Prof. John Whiteoak (Monash University)

The call for papers has now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted a proposal. Paper-givers will be notified by early August, but if you need earlier notification, please notify Dr Michael Christoforidis.

  • A provisional program will be posted on the conference website by early October.
  • Registration is free, but bookings will open on Monday 17 October (a link will be provided on the conference website for further information).

(Per)Forming Art: Performance as Research in Contemporary Artworks

20 Sep 15

University of Leeds

The acts of composing and performing are central processes to the formation of a musical work. Performance is a medium through which music is formed. It is a significant part of a work’s compositional process and, as such, forms a symbiotic relationship with the act of composing. An iterative cycle between performance and composition comes about when the composer performs their own work and/or composes through performance. Performance in this manner can be seen as a form of practice-based research that can guide the compositional process.

This RMA conference focuses on performance as a type of compositional technique and as a mode of practice-based research for the act of composing a work. Primarily engaging with music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, ‘(Per)Forming Art’ invites proposals for a series of lecture-recitals by composers to demonstrate their research through performance. Such disciplines include, but are not limited to, acoustic composition, electronic composition, composing with improvisation, live coding. Presenters and delegates will have the opportunity to meet other researchers, performers, and composers as well as learn about a variety of approaches, techniques, and processes relevant to the formation of an artwork.

Proposals are invited for forty-minute lecture-recital slots (thirty minutes for presenting and performing followed by ten minutes for questions and answers). Composers may perform their own works or invite performers to accompany them (performers will not be provided by the conference).

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Performance as practice-based research of compositional techniques in general
  • Performance as an actual technique for composing music
  • How performing other works can inform the compositional process of one’s own work and/or how one engages with performance as a compositional technique
  • How engaging with other performers performing other works can inform the compositional process of one’s own artwork.
  • Live coding and its influence on compositional practice
  • Improvisation and its influence on compositional practice
  • Performance as a unifying medium between separate artistic disciplines within interdisciplinary artworks
  • Performance as a technique for composing a work vs performing a ‘finished’ composed work

Presenters will also be asked to perform in the conference concert on the evening of the conference. The artwork(s) they perform should be related to (if not the same as) their lecture-recital topic. Proposed lecture-recitals should be emailed as abstracts (of up to 500 words, and with titles) to the (Per)Forming Art Symposium (performingartsymposium@gmail.com) no later than Monday 6th July, 2015.

Lecture-recital proposals should include the following details: name, institutional affiliation (if any), email address, any special requests such as AV requirements.

Further information can be found here.

Popular Music and Public Diplomacy

Technische Universität Dortmund, Germany
6-8 November 2015

Call for Papers

In the early years of the Cold War, Western nations increasingly turned towards popular music in their public diplomacy. While the diplomatic use of popular music was initially limited to such genres as jazz and gospel, the second half of the twentieth century saw a growing presence of various popular genres in diplomatic contexts, including country, bluegrass, rock, punk, reggae, and hip-hop. As an instrument of public diplomacy, popular music plays a complex role in contested terrain. Whether it functions as cultural subversion, as a reaffirmation of cultural hegemony, or as a combination of both is conditioned by a web of interdependent factors ranging from the music itself to its mediation and appropriation in different contexts.

Music diplomacy has not only impacted the ways in which audiences perceive foreign cultures, but it has also helped to shape the cultural horizons of politicians, diplomats, cultural managers, journalists, and musicians involved in diplomatic programs. In this way, music diplomacy has had highly significant cultural and aesthetic effects. The musicians’ role as their countries’ cultural ambassadors, for instance, had the potential to lead to radical transformations in the way they were perceived at home, forcing them to reconfigure their rhetorical and musical legitimation as artists. In a way, the diplomatic usability of musicians as ambassadors is an aesthetic and performative benchmark by means of which artists have re-defined themselves and their work. International cultural exchange with local musicians in host countries likewise inspired musical ambassadors to venture into previously unknown musical and cultural territories, thus impacting their aesthetics and oeuvres.

This conference seeks to illuminate the diplomatic function of popular music from a transnational and transdisciplinary perspective, accentuating its interconnectivity and dissemination across national borders. We are particularly interested in the nexus of power, popularity, aesthetics, and cultural exchange. How did popular music function in the ideological conflict between East and West, for instance, and how did its function change after the fall of the Iron Curtain? How did U.S. popular music programs interact with other nations’ initiatives to channel their self-representation through popular music? Who are the agents, stakeholders, and gatekeepers of popular music diplomacy? What is the role of celebrity in music diplomacy? Has popular music been an “efficient” instrument of national and communal self-representation and how do institutions measure its efficiency?

We invite contributions from a variety of disciplines, including cultural studies, musicology, ethnomusicology, political science, diplomacy studies, history, sociology, literature, international relations, and other relevant fields. Proposals should include a title, 250 word abstract, technical requirements, and short biographical sketch. Please submit your proposal by 1 April 2015 to musicaldiplomacy2015@gmail.com.

Keynote speakers include Martha Bayles (Boston College, U.S.) and Klaus Nathaus (University of Oslo, Norway).

The conference is hosted by the English Department and the Department of Music and Musicology at TU Dortmund University, Germany.

Organizing Committee:
Mario Dunkel (TU Dortmund University, Germany)
Sina Nitzsche (TU Dortmund University, Germany)

Conference website: http://www.musicaldiplomacy.org

Forte / Piano: A Festival Celebrating Pianos in History

How have the practices of composition, performance, improvisation, and listening been informed by the piano in its long history? How have the concepts, designs, materials, and sonorous resources of pianos been entwined with musical thought and affect across time and space? Specifically, how might we resituate eighteenth-century pianos in relation to harpsichords and clavichords, account for the rapid evolution of nineteenth-century pianism, and explain (or challenge) Steinway’s perceived hegemony in the twentieth century?

The Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies invites proposals for recitals, talks and innovative presentations from performers, scholars, organologists, builders, and technicians for an international festival to be held at Cornell University on August 5–9, 2015. We particularly encourage individual and collaborative proposals that combine insights drawn from scholarship, performance, and organology and examine the ways in which pianos have generated, reflected, and modulated musical thought and behavior.

Proposals may focus on composers, performance traditions, improvisatory methods, and geographical centers of influence. Potential topics include Haydn’s keyboard music; Brahms’s piano music; the piano in early twentieth-century Paris; the piano in late eighteenth-century London; the improvisation of cadenzas, fantasias, and preludes; the standardization of piano manufacture in the context of industrialization; pedagogical institutions; the piano, bodily techniques, and the performance of gender.

The festival will feature a number of leading performers, including Tom Beghin, Kris Bezuidenhout, Malcolm Bilson, David Breitman, Penelope Crawford, Alexei Lubimov, and Andrew Willis among many others. The festival will focus on an array of historical instruments and replicas built by prominent builders. We encourage proposals that will take advantage of the opportunities these instruments afford, and will provide more specific information on request. Potential presentation formats include (but are not limited to) traditional conference papers, lecture-recitals, lecture-demonstrations, and discussion panels.

Proposals should include a 250-word description and a CV, and for performers, a sound or video recording of at least 30 minutes. The submission deadline is September 15, 2014. Proposals may be submitted online at www.westfield.org/festival

RMA study day – 20th Century British Poets in Music

University of Hull

Friday 28 June 2013

This interdisciplinary event will bring together musicologists, literary scholars, postgraduate students and composers interested in the connections between poetry and music. Michael Tippett once wrote provocatively that one of the primal gifts of the song writer is ‘the ability to destroy all the verbal music of the poetry or prose and to substitute the music of music’. We aim to consider the transformation of referential words into musical sounds from a number of practical and theoretical perspectives, with a keynote lecture by Professor Stephen Banfield. The event ties in with related performances, competitions and workshops on 27th and 29th June, foregrounding music and creative writing generated in response to the poetry of D.H. Lawrence and Philip Larkin.
Please contact:

Dr Bethan Jones – b.m.jones@hull.ac.uk

Dr Freya Bailes – f.bailes@hull.ac.uk