The thirteenth conference of the Research Center for Music Iconography, City University of New York, The Graduate Center,
commemorating the centennial of World War I
New York, 11–13 November 2014
Marking the centennial of the beginning of World War I and starting on Armistice Day 2014, the conference will focus on the iconography of military musicians of all time and performing in any occasion. Throughout history, military musicians formed a significant part of the soundscape not only on battlefields during wartime, but also in the neighbourhood of their military barracks during peacetime. Still, as historical documentation of their performances, repertoire, and personnel is most often integrated with military matters at national war archives, music historians too often leave them out of their historical narratives.
Traditions of military ensembles are as rich and varied as they could be. Different nations and military branches have developed preferences for specific repertoires and instruments. Their performances were equally integrated into military and civilian musical life, having a variety of purposes spanning from strengthening national identity and patriotism to providing music accompaniment at middle class dances and ceremonies. Therefore, the visual aspect of their performances has always been as significant as their music repertoire. Whether marching across town or attending a welcoming ceremony for a state dignitary, they were always proponents of the government and its power. With that purpose, their uniforms developed over time into specific distinctive attributes forming national symbolism, and their performances became ceremonies in their own right.
The conference aims to examine the visual aspects of military musicians throughout history, in particular the role of military bands in creating national visual identities; occasions in which military ensembles performed and their interactions with audiences; their instruments and performing formations; graphic designs of editions of compositions by military bandmasters; and representations of music on commemorative war monuments.
Abstracts of 200–300 words may be submitted before 1 May 2014 to: