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

Celebrating the Tercentenary of C. P. E. Bach

Sensation and Sensibility at the Keyboard in the Late Eighteenth Century: Celebrating the Tercentenary of C. P. E. Bach
Conference and festival
October 2-4, 2014
http://www.westfield.org/cpebach
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Revered across Europe during his lifetime, C. P. E. Bach was the unparalleled master of intimate expression at his favorite instrument, the clavichord; yet his stature also rested on vivid choral and orchestral masterpieces. In all genres, Bach’s highly affective music cast new light on, and was heard in terms of, contemporary theories of sentiment and the sublime.

This conference and festival explores the constellation of philosophical and aesthetic ideas, and the conditions of musical production and reception, clustered around concepts of sentiment, feeling, and sensation in the late 18th century. Celebrating the richness of late eighteenth-century keyboard culture (and C. P. E. Bach’s contribution to it), performances will feature clavichord, fortepiano, harpsichord, and organ.

The conference features contributions by Yonatan Bar-Yoshafat, Tom Beghin, Emily Dolan, Matthew Head, Nicholas Mathew, Pierpaolo Polzonetti, Annette Richards, David Schulenberg, with keynote addresses by Richard Kramer and James Kennaway.

Tom Beghin, Matthew Dirst with Ars Lyrica Houston, Matthew Hall with the Cornell Baroque Orchestra, Lucy Fitz Gibbon, Dennis James, Sarah Mesko, Annette Richards, Peter Sykes, Andrew Willis, and David Yearsley will appear in programs of music from C. P. E. Bach’s oeuvre for solo keyboard, concertos for fortepiano and organ, symphonies and vocal music, including “Klopstocks Morgengesang am Schöpfungsfeste,” as well as music by other Bach sons (including “Die Amerikanerin” by J. C. F. Bach) and the cantata “L’Harmonica” by J. A. Hasse.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies and Cornell University, and features the Fall 2014 Atkinson Forum in American Studies.

Registration is available at http://www.westfield.org/cpebach