Music History and Cosmopolitanism

Music History and Cosmopolitanism
Fourth Sibelius Academy Symposium on Music History
June 1–3, 2016 at Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts, Helsinki, Finland
http://www.uniarts.fi/en/cosmopol2016

Keynote Speakers (see below for abstracts)
Brigid Cohen, New York University, USA
Mark Everist, University of Southampton, GB
Franco Fabbri, University of Turin, IT

Conference Outline

The Third Sibelius Academy Symposium<http://sites.uniarts.fi/en/web/confronting-the-national/home> (2014) took as its theme the questioning of methodological nationalism in music historiography: the kind of historiography that, according to Beck and Sznaider, equates society with national society (“Unpacking Cosmopolitanism for the Social Sciences,” 2006: 2). They called, instead, for a methodological cosmopolitanism, an alternative that has gained momentum within musicology, often alongside related concepts: the last two decades have seen increased attention to the conspicuous mobility of works and musicians; to cities as sites of cosmopolitan encounter; and to the transnational and global connections created and exploited by musicians.

The Fourth Sibelius Academy Symposium<http://www.uniarts.fi/en/cosmopol2016> takes cosmopolitanism as its theme in order to contribute to and clarify this cosmopolitan turn, which raises as many questions as it answers. The label “cosmopolitan” is easily attached to instances of diversity in performance and consumption, for example, but it has been more broadly reinterpreted as an ethical standpoint transcending the local and national. Clearly, the meaning of the cosmopolitan remains hard to define, both theoretically and in relation to particular times and places. The danger of naïve universalism is obvious enough, but how, in musicological practice, can the discourse on cosmopolitanism engage with the post-colonial experience of musicians, with diaspora and migration, or with the complexities of Creolization and métissage? Without losing sight (or sound) of nuanced case studies, we might also ask, more broadly, after the relationship between the cosmopolitan and the transnational as analytical categories. Moreover, how can the study of music and musicians contribute to our understanding of the intersection of cosmopolitanism and social class?

This international symposium will offer a forum for debate about how we might build a post-national understanding of the social in the musical past. The aim is to pursue a better understanding of the kinds of social interweaving and mutual dependence that set cosmopolitan musical processes in motion well before the mass migrations and technological changes that characterized the twentieth century, and to begin to identify features that might signal the emergence of a cosmopolitan society. We therefore invite proposals for papers and group sessions under the following themes:

•    The transnationalization of music, its import and export, its cultural transfer and exchange
•    Music and transnational mobility, migrancy and nomadism.
•    Music and belonging: the exiled musician and the stateless musician
•    Music and urban culture; cosmopolitan musical genres
•    Music and international networks of digital communication
•    Diasporic communities, music and border crossing
•    Music and non-state politics (e.g. human rights and ecological issues)
•    Music and non-state affiliations: religion, ethnicity, pan-nationalism, (Communist) Internationalism

The Conference Committee welcomes individual papers and proposals for panels and roundtable discussions. For individual papers, abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted, with a short biography of the presenter. Panels and roundtable proposals should include a session overview, participant biographies and descriptions of individual contributions.

Please send abstracts and proposals to the conference secretary, Dr. KaarinaKilpiö, at kaarina.kilpio AT uniarts.fi by Wednesday 30 September 2015. Notices of acceptance will be sent by Friday 30 October 2015.

Conference Committee

Vesa Kurkela (chair) / Sibelius Academy
Philip Bohlman / University of Chicago, USA
Katherine Hambridge / University of Warwick, GB
Markus Mantere / Sibelius Academy & The Finnish Musicological Society
Tomi Mäkelä / Martin Luther Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
Derek Scott / University of Leeds, GB
Anne Sivuoja-Kauppala / Sibelius Academy
Kaarina Kilpiö (conference secretary) / Sibelius Academy

Keynote Abstracts

Brigid Cohen: Musical Cosmopolitics in Cold War New York 

New York crystallized as an archetypal “global city” under the pressure of the early Cold War, when the U.S. asserted heightened economic and military dominance, while absorbing unprecedented levels of immigration in the wake of the Holocaust, decolonization movements, and the internal Great Migration.  During this period, the city built a cultural infrastructure that benefitted from, and sought to match, the nation’s enhanced geopolitical and economic power.  This talk examines the role of musical “migrant mediators” who navigated new patronage opportunities that arose in this setting, helping to reinforce transnational art and music networks for generations to come.  With attention to concert music, jazz, electronic music, and performance art—and figures ranging from Yoko Ono to Vladimir Ussachevsky—I highlight creators’ wildly disparate enactments of national citizenship and world belonging in the arts of the Cold War “global city,” their different cosmopolitanisms in counterpoint and contestation with one another.

Mark Everist: Stage Music and Cultural Transfer in Europe, 1814–1870
The history of stage music in the nineteenth century trades largely in the commodities of named composer and opera in the early 21st century canon.  This serves our understanding of the nineteenth century badly, and in ways in which colleagues in other disciplines would find strange.  Examining stage music on a European scale, from Lisbon to St Petersburg and from Dublin to Odessa, in pursuit of an understanding of the cultures that supported opera in the long nineteenth century begins to uncover networks of activity that span the entire continent, and that engage the reception of French and Italian stage music in the farthest flung regions.
Setting forth an understanding of nineteenth-century stage music that attempts to grasp the complex reality of ‘opera’ in Seville, Klausenberg or Copenhagen, opens up the possibility not only of going beyond tired notions of national identity, or even of the ‘imagined community’ but also of beginning to understand the cultural contest in terms of urban encounter or melee.

Franco Fabbri: An ‘Intricate Fabric of Influences and Coincidences in the History of Popular Music’: Reflections on the Challenging Work of Popular Music Historians
What we now call ‘popular music’ isn’t simply the Anglo-American mainstream from the Tin Pan Alley era (or even the 1950s) onward, with the optional addition of a handful of local genres, styles, and scenes: it’s an extremely varied set of music events that became visible and audible almost simultaneously in many places around the world since the early decades of the Nineteenth century (the ‘third type’ of music, according to Derek B. Scott, emerging in the void created by the invention of ‘classical’ and ‘folk’ music). If we accept this idea, then a popular music historian has to face a number of challenging questions.
Which sources (sheet music, paintings, photographs, movies, recordings, memories and ethnographic research, ads, posters, reviews, demographic and economic data, objects, instruments, technologies, places, up to web-based documents, etc.) are available? How reliable are they? In which languages were they conceived, written or recorded? Within which theoretical framework can they be studied? It’s a huge work, but it must also produce a manageable output, in the form of handbooks, audio-visual products, web pages, and other material suitable for teaching and dissemination. The paper will address some of these questions and challenges, with the aim to avoid the sheer transferral of concepts from the study of the current mainstream to a cosmopolitan history of popular music(s).

Listening to the Listener: Contemporary Perceptions of Classical Music

Call for paper

RMA Study Day at Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield – Monday 16th November 2015

Keynote Speakers: Professor John Sloboda and Dr Karen Wise, Guildhall School of Music & Drama

The relevance of classical music today is in question. In the UK and US, it has been shown to consistently attract audiences who are predominantly white, middle-aged, middle-class and well-educated, struggling to draw new, younger and ethnically diverse attenders (Chan et al. 2008, League of American Orchestras 2009). Amongst these non-attenders, classical music is often perceived as stuffy and elitist, out of touch with an increasingly pluralist society. In order to attract new audiences, many organisations have tried alternative means of presentation, for example through informal concerts formats or use of digital technology. Any new ventures are however tempered by the current economic climate, with cuts to arts funding and reduced disposable income affecting the willingness to take risks of arts organisations and attenders alike.

Against this background, there is a growing body of research into current classical music audiences from within both academia and the industry. Much of this research goes beyond socio-demographics to explore their perceptions of classical music and experiences at concerts. Recent additions have challenged the paradigm of a ‘still and silent listener’ (Sennett 1977), instead highlighting the diversity of experiences and attitudes within an audience (Pitts 2005). More work is needed to understand how changes to the culture of classical music today are affecting both attenders and non-attenders. We hope that this Study Day will provide a space for further discussion on the current state of classical music and its audiences.

We welcome empirical or theoretical papers from research students, academics or practitioners on the following topics or any other topic related to the overall theme of the day:

–  The relevance of classical music today
–  Changes to the presentation of classical music
–  Impact of technology on classical music
–  Current audiences’ experiences at concerts
–  Understanding the non-attender
–  Methods and ethics of researching with audiences

Papers from research students are especially welcome. Submit proposals up to 250 words for 20 minute papers (followed by 10 minutes for discussion).
Please include your name, email address, short biography and any AV requirements.

Proposals and any enquiries should be sent to Lucy Dearn and Sarah Price: sparc AT sheffield.ac.uk

Measuring Musical Engagement

Thijs Vroegh is currently working on the development of a questionnaire which intends to measure one’s type and degree of musical engagement and appreciation. Therefore he developed an online-survey.

After listening to a self-chosen piece of music – every genre is accepted – a series of statements is presented regarding how you experienced the music. Participating takes approx. 15-20 minutes of your time.
To access the survey, please click here.

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Music and Mobilities

Faculty of Music, University of Oxford, Friday, 15 May 2015

Including keynote papers by Laura Tunbridge and Jason Stanyek (University of Oxford), this second annual BFE/RMA Study Day seeks to bring together researchers to engage in interdisciplinary discussions about the relationship between music and mobilities. In the recently published Oxford Handbook of Mobile Music Studies (2014), Jason Stanyek and Sumanth Gopinath observe that scholars of mobility have hitherto neglected music and sound: ‘mobility studies is, by and large, silent’. The Handbook is a pioneering attempt to ‘sonify’ the field, and the authors call for ‘scholars of mobility to take music and sound much more seriously’.

A response to, and an echo of, their call, this Study Day seeks to encourage a dialogue between mobility studies and the study of music and sound. What can mobility studies learn from music scholarship, and, conversely, how can ideas from mobility studies help us better understand musical forms and practices? How can scholars of music and sound develop, refine and problematize the concept of mobility? How might we conceptualize diverse and alternative musical ‘mobilities’?

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers that offer new insights into the issues surrounding music and mobilities, and which develop these discussions across different historical periods, geographic areas and academic disciplines. Papers will be followed by 10 minutes of questions and discussion. We would particularly welcome submissions from graduate students and early career researchers.

Themes that papers may address include, but are not limited to:

  • Mobile music and sound: styles, genres, repertoires, instruments
  • Mobile musicians: migration, travel, transport
  • Mobile audiences/listeners and mobile listening devices
  • Music, mobility, and temporality
  • Music, mobility, and geography: space, place, environment
  • Music, mobility, and (im)materiality
  • Music and (im)mobility; the body, health, and wellbeing
  • The politics and ethics of mobile music and sound
  • Mobile music before the twentieth century

Titles and abstracts of no more than 200 words should be sent tomusicandmobilities@gmail.com by 6 March 2015. Please include name, affiliation, email address and AV requirements on a separate cover sheet. The Committee aims to notify applicants of the outcome by 20 March 2015.

The programme for the Study Day and details of registration will be announced on the website in due course.

Programme Committee: Lyndsey Hoh (University of Oxford; BFE Student Liaison Officer), Peter Atkinson (University of Birmingham; RMA Student Representative), and Stephen Millar (Queen’s University Belfast; RMA Student Committee Member).

Music and Mobilities

A Joint Study Day of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology and the Royal Musical Association

Faculty of Music, University of Oxford, Friday, 15 May 2015

Including an invited paper by Laura Tunbridge, this second annual BFE/RMA Study Day seeks to bring together researchers to engage in interdisciplinary discussions about the relationship between music and mobilities.

Call for Papers

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What Do Musicologists Do All Day

In What Do Musicologists Do All Day (WDMDAD) we investigate the use of technology in the work of music researchers in the widest sense.

Researchers frequently make use of the possibilities that mobile phones, social media, digital libraries, search engines and computer software offer. But these technologies do not always have a good fit with daily work practices. We would like to discover what needs to be done to make this fit better, and what successful practices already exist that we can learn from.

For this, we have created a short questionnaire, in which we would like you to tell us about your ideas and experiences. Whether you do not use much technology, or if you use it a lot, we are interesting in finding out your views. Please take our questionnaire at https://opinio.ucl.ac.uk. We much appreciate your participation.

Charles Inskip is a lecturer at University College London specialising in digital scholarship, Frans Wiering is an assistant professor at Utrecht University and chair of the IMS study group in Digital Musicology.

If you have any questions, please contact us at wdmdadsurvey@gmail.com

Please feel free to circulate this message among interested music researchers worldwide.

Charles Inskip and Frans Wiering