Music, Cinema, and Modernism. The Works and Heritage of Kurt Weill between Europe and America

The Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini of Lucca and the DAMS/Università di Torino are pleased to invite submissions of proposals for the symposium «Music, Cinema, and Modernism. The Works and Heritage of Kurt Weill between Europe and America», to be held at the  Università degli studi di Torino, Palazzo Nuovo, Via Sant’Ottavio, 20 – Torino, from 21 to 22 May 2021.

Keynote Speakers

  • Nils Grosch (Universität Salzburg)
  • Stephen Hinton (Stanford University)

The conference aims to address aspects of Kurt Weill’s works in relation to his contemporaries and his heritage to succeeding generations, both in the United States and in Europe. The creative activities of the German-American composer have been characterized by his keen interest in new media: principally, in radio in Germany and in the cinema in the United States, and in new forms of experimentation in musical theater on both sides of the Atlantic.

The fact that his compositions as well as his sensibilities tended to situate themselves somewhere between the poles of highbrow and the lowbrow culture allows for multiple interpretations, while prompting various possible themes for research. The themes suggested here are not intended to be restrictive but, rather, to invite a wide range of reflections, and other topics are also welcome:

  • The modernity of Kurt Weill: borrowings and assimilations among his contemporaries
  • After 1950: the theoretical and aesthetic legacy of Kurt Weill after his death
  • Kurt Weill’s german-american contemporaries: aesthetic, artistic, and compositional choices
  • Marc Blitzstein as a translator and interpreter of the German Weill in the United States
  • Love Life on Broadway: a new musical theater genre is born?
  • Musicals, American opera, Radio Opera and so on: the ideas about musical theater by Kurt Weill
  • The debates for and against modernism among German émigré composers to the United States  before and after World War II
  • Aesthetic and theoretical debates concerning film music between the 1920s and 1940s
  • Film music as “modern music”: identity and perspectives
  • Kurt Weill and Hollywood: New Music for the Cinema?
  • Composer and arranger: new roles and new relationships
  • Berlin, Broadway, and Hollywood: a comparison of their modes of organization and cultural production

Programme Committee

  • Giaime Alonge (Università degli studi di Torino)
  • Giulia Carluccio (Università degli studi di Torino)
  • Tim Carter (University of North Carolina)
  • Pietro Cavallotti (Università degli studi di Torino)
  • Roberto Illiano (Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini, Lucca)
  • Kim Kowalke (Eastman School of Music/ University of Rochester – The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music)
  • Andrea Malvano (Università degli studi di Torino)
  • Ilario Meandri (università degli studi di Torino)
  • Marida Rizzuti (Università IULM, Milano)
  • Massimiliano Sala (Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini, Lucca)

The official languages of the conference are English and Italian. Papers selected at the conference will be published in a miscellaneous volume.
Papers are limited to twenty minutes in length, allowing time for questions and discussion. Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words and one page of biography.
All proposals should be submitted by email no later than ***Sunday 29 November 2020*** to <>. With your proposal please include your name, contact details (postal address, e-mail and telephone number) and (if applicable) your affiliation.
The committee will make its final decision on the abstracts by ***Sunday 13 December 2020***, and contributors will be informed immediately thereafter. Further information about the programme, registration, travel and accommodation will be announced after that date.
For any additional information, please contact:

Dr. Massimiliano Sala

A ‘Musical League of Nations’?: Music Institutions and the Politics of Internationalism – a Symposium

29-30 June 2018, Institute of Musical Research, Senate House, London

CFP: Proposals due by 1 Nov. 2017

Keynote Speaker: Prof. Anne Shreffler (Harvard University)



‘What art is better adapted to form an international connecting-link, than music?—especially instrumental music, which is in a manner an international language, an expression of the most intimate, the profoundest emotions of man.’ – Guido Adler, 1925

The notion that instrumental music is either ‘universal’ or ‘international’ in any real sense has been discredited. Even as Adler’s comment draws upon an older notion of music as a ‘universal language’ and adapts it to the language of interwar political internationalism, he acknowledges the limitations of music to foster communication between nations, and writes that it should be the aim of research to discern the interaction between artistic phenomena that are ‘common property’ or the result of ‘nature’ on the one hand, and those that are the result of ‘culture’, and therefore localized, on the other.

The role of music and musicians in forging international links either between or beyond national boundaries can sometimes seem unproblematic or even emancipatory, under the assumption that music can be socially transformative. Yet just as the project of political internationalism between and after the World Wars was not without its challenges, so too did musical initiatives sometimes find themselves in positions of compromise, ethical conflict or co-option into unintended agendas.

This two-day symposium will focus on music institutions and initiatives that were explicitly shaped by the project of internationalism during the twentieth century. Organisations such as the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM), the International Musicological Society (IMS), as well as a range of smaller musical meetings throughout Europe and America during the interwar and post-war periods, subscribed to a similar set of ideological precepts. These organisations and meetings did not only involve musical composition and performance, or academic discussion, but they also often included public congresses that prompted debate around issues that went far beyond the simple celebration of international cooperation, or of music as an expression of a common humanity. They grappled with the contradiction between the idea of a non-national music or music scholarship and the decidedly national inflections of musical autonomy itself, and they struggled to reconcile the fact that music’s putative detachment from the social realm was what gave it its ‘universal’ potential, yet the project of internationalism was a political one, struck through with ideas about social justice and ethical responsibility.

The symposium will explore the musical, political and aesthetic dimensions of the discourse that surrounded the establishment of these organisations and their activities throughout the politically-charged twentieth century.

We welcome proposals (250 words) for individual papers or panels. Please send proposals to Sarah Collins at by 1 Nov. 2017. Acceptances to be advised by early December.


Conference Organisers (and programme committee):

Sarah Collins (Durham University)

Laura Tunbridge (Oxford University)

Barbara Kelly (Royal Northern College of Music)


Conference Supporters:

Institute of Musical Research, in association with the School of Advanced Study, University of London, Senate House (funding supplied by Nick Baker)

Additional funding from the British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grants Scheme

Aesthetics of Inwardness – Max Reger and the Lied around 1900

Ästhetik der Innerlichkeit – Max Reger und das Lied um 1900

A conference commemorating the 100th anniversary of Max Reger’s death (1873–1916)

Vienna, 21–23 September 2016

Department of Musicology, University of Vienna
Spitalgasse 2–4, Unicampus AAKH Hof 9
1090 Vienna, AUSTRIA

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the death of Max Reger, this conference commemorates one of the most important pioneers of modern music. The conference focuses on Reger’s long-neglected Lied œuvre and places it in relation to the songs of other composers working in Munich and Vienna, cities which were among the most important centres for new trends in architecture, visual arts, and literature at the turn of the 20th century.
Broader historical developments will be traced within the genre of the Lied, particularly with regard to new views of the human psyche and a new awareness for emotion(ality) and inwardness (‘Innerlichkeit’) as manifested in prose, drama, and poetry of the period (for instance, by R. Dehmel, A. Schnitzler, or H. von Hofmannsthal).

The opening keynote address will be delivered by Julian Johnson (Royal Holloway, University of London) on the topic of ‘Language, Music and Desire: The Interior Landscape of the Lied around 1900.’

A Lied recital at the Austrian National Library (Josefsplatz 1, 1010 Vienna) on Thursday, 22 September 2016, will present songs by M. Reger and other composers from the turn of the century.

Participation is free of charge. Informal registration is requested.

Stefan Gasch (stefan.gasch -at-

Rethinking Delius, a Critical Symposium

The British Library, London, 15-16 July 2016


The music of Frederick Delius presents fascinating challenges of interpretation, documentation, performance, and analysis. In conjunction with their current AHRC award, ‘Delius, Modernism and the Sound of Place’, Prof. Daniel Grimley and Dr Joanna Bullivant lead a symposium on Delius’s music, focusing on new developments in Delius scholarship and future directions in research. It will also celebrate the launch of the online Delius Catalogue of Works, an interactive resource created in the course of the project.
Proposals for 20-minute presentations from scholars at any stage of their career are now warmly invited. Topics may include, but are not limited to: Delius and opera; issues of editing and performance; Delius and his contemporaries; musical modernism; cosmopolitanism, nationalism and ethnicity in relation to Delius’s works.
The symposium is timed to follow the Biennial Conference on 19th Century Music at Oxford earlier in the week, for those wishing to attend both events. Confirmed speakers include Prof Jeremy Dibble (University of Durham) and Dr Sarah Collins (University of New South Wales). Abstracts (200 words) should be sent to by 5pm BST on Monday 31 May.

Information about booking and attending will appear here.

Programme committee:
Prof. Daniel Grimley (Oxford)
Dr Joanna Bullivant (Oxford)
Dr Richard Chesser (British Library)

Between Universal and Local: From Modernism to Postmodernism

University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Ljubljana, 28–30 September 2015


Department of Musicology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana

Slovenian Musicological Society

Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Society of Slovene Composers, as a section of the ISCM



The Department of Musicology (Faculty of Arts, University in Ljubljana) is pleased to invite proposals for the international musicological conference Between Universal and Local: From Modernism to Postmodernism, to be held in Ljubljana at the end of September 2015 as part of the World Music Days Slovenia 2015. The conference is dedicated to the 80th anniversaries of composers Vinko Globokar and Lojze Lebič.

The second wave of Modernism emerged from the cataclysmic atmosphere that pervaded Europe at the end of the Second World War. It was a case of “ground zero”: the younger generation did not want to have anything in common with the spiritual and aesthetic humus from which 20th century totalitarianism had been able to grow; there was a need to start afresh and to erase the old. In art, this attitude was manifested in a radical break with the aesthetic and stylistic characteristics that had marked the decades prior to the outbreak of Nazism and fascism. In music, this marked the final break from traditional music “language” (Stephan, 1969), while suspicion was also cast on the “progressive heroes” of the 20th century, such as Arnold Schoenberg, whose work was declared imperfect and dead by Pierre Boulez in his renowned article Schönberg est mort (The Score, 1952). Composers sought to renounce precisely those aesthetic postulates that had most strongly marked the art of the previous decades: the prominence of subjectivity (which continues to resound in the Expressionist trust of the formal logic of the inner consciousness and in the literary technique of inner monologue) and with this the characteristic local and national marking and readability of musical semantics. In architecture, this was best exemplified by the International Style (as in musical modernism, its roots reach back to the 1920s and 1930s), which renounces ornamentation in favour of clear geometric structures in which all of the social functions of architecture are assumed to be hidden, while being completely insensitive to the local and contextual characteristics of the environment (thus its label “international”). A similar “desubjectification” and “universality” was also characteristic of musical serialism: in the case of integral serialism, it seems that the serial model takes over the majority of the decision-making roles, while the composer and his personal characteristics increasingly withdraw from composition (which is also probably why Boulez, in his composition Structures Ia, does not choose his own twelve-note row but instead borrows one from Messiaen). It is precisely for this reason that it is impossible to discover genuine stylistic differences or important local characteristics between modernists of diverse national provenances. To borrow Saussure’s famous division, one could say that music increasingly changed from parole to langue.

From the beginning of the 1970s, or from the historical turning point of 1968 (marked by the Prague Spring, the beginning of the Vietnam War, the Korean Crisis, the assassination of Martin Luther King, and student protests), which Baudrillard understands as the decline of political ideologies and their mutation from political content to empty signifiers (Baudrillard, 1976, 1981), the wheels again begin to turn in the other direction: the powerful de(con)structive will of modernism increasingly waivers, and the period after modernism – postmodernism – begins. This period defined itself very early on as the era of “double coding” (Jencks, 1977), the combining of the high and the low (Fiedler, 1969), the new and the old, as well as the simultaneous establishment (or “parallel constructing”; McHale, 1987, 1992) of the universal and the local. From works retaining a fundamentally modernist conception (in terms of material and approach), there is a gradual breakthrough of non-modernist “islands” of meaning, fragments, allusions, citations and “local” features.

In the last half of century, we have thus witnessed two radical turnarounds, two changes of “direction”, the alternate emphasis on and denial of the local and the universal. The conference will focus on questions related to the reasons for these turnarounds, their consequences and their implications. We welcome contributions that touch upon the following themes:

  • the theoretical and aesthetic points of departure of modernism and postmodernism;
  • the compositional-technical characteristics of the music of modernism and postmodernism;
  • the social and historical reasons for the aesthetic and social ruptures in the second half of the 20th century;
  • the specifics of modernism in individual European countries;
  • the relationship between the universal and the local in the music of the second half of the 20th century;
  • the question of the semantics of modern and postmodern music;
  • the subject in the music of modernism and postmodernism;
  • the reception of modern and postmodern music at the beginning of the 21st century;
  • modernism–postmodernism–globalism: relationships and attitudes in the music of recent decades;
  • modernist composers in the postmodern period;
  • outstanding modern and postmodern musical works.

We welcome original musicological and interdisciplinary research. The official language of the conference is English. Proposals (up to 400 words) for 20-minute papers and short biographical notes (up to 200 words) should be sent to the conference email address ( by 1 March 2015 (receipt of proposals will be acknowledged by email). Proposals will be reviewed by the conference committee and the results will be announced by 1 April 2015. A selection of papers will be published. Conference fee: €25.00.


Organisational Committee:

Dr Gregor Pompe (president)

Dr Katarina Bogunović Hočevar

Nejc Sukljan


Conference Committee:

Dr Matjaž Barbo

Dr Gražina Daunoravičienė

Dr Nikša Gligo

Dr Kenneth Gloag

Dr Aleš Nagode

Dr Niall O’Loughlin

Dr Gregor Pompe

Dr Tijana Popović Mladjenović

Dr Cornelia Szabó-Knotik

Dr Michael Walter

Memory in Post-1980s Music: 
History, Form, Perception

RMA Study Day
Memory in Post-1980s Music:

History, Form, Perception

Music Research Centre, University of York,
Saturday 22nd Februrary 2014

Guest speaker: Michael Zev Gordon (Birmingham)
Lunchtime recital: Joseph Houston piano

Proposals for papers are invited on any aspect of this topic.  Possible areas for discussion include:

  • Contemporary music in the context of earlier traditions
  • Quotation, allusion, parody
  • The role of memory in musical perception
  • Formal concerns of repetition and development
  • Expressive nostalgia
  • The impact of technology on issues of perception and memory
  • The relationship between memory and subjectivity
  • Memory in modernist, postmodernist and other worldviews
  • Compositional approaches

The day will include a lunchtime recital by award-winning pianist Joseph Houston, playing Michael Zev Gordon’s On Memory (2004), and a pre-concert talk by the composer.  Abstracts of not more than 200 words should be submitted to Mark Hutchinson ( by 29th November 2013 for consideration by the programme committee.

Registration fee: £10 (free for members of RMA or the University of York).  To register in advance your intention to come to this event please contact Mark Hutchinson ( or the RMA Student Liaison Officer Susan Bagust (