Journalists have long declaimed the precarious state of classical music, deploring its perpetually imminent demise while suggesting various approaches to its salvation. Recent decades have seen musicologists join the chorus as well, releasing titles like "Who Needs Classical Music?" and "Why Classical Music Still Matters". Given the persistence of this topic in journalism and academia, classical music would seem to be in its death throes.
While such discourse emphasizes the decline of a nineteenth century canon and its institutions, it disregards the aesthetic and institutional realities of contemporary concert music. This conference will explore contemporary classical music’s sounds, structures and institutions, through diverse scholarly approaches to the work of younger composers; the idea of new music “scenes”; and the ongoing processes of institutionalization and canon formation in the 21st century. We seek perspectives on the state of art music that both engage and go beyond the pervasive rhetoric of its demise.
Given musicologists' role in the classroom and our potential to influence public debate, disciplinary obligations to art music's present must not be limited to activism on behalf of the traditional canon. Accordingly, it is explicitly not the conference's aim to look for "solutions" to any purported crisis in classical music. Instead, by considering classical music’s present, we hope to assess its immediate future, as well as its future in musicological debates.
Topics might include, but are not limited to:
- the historiography of classical music's "demise"
- new music and patronage
- contemporary music historiography
- alternative canon formation
- textbooks, pedagogy, and new music
- the academy and the concert hall
- the state of conservatory training
- globalism, pluralism, and the internet
The keynote speaker will be Robert Fink, Professor and Chair of Musicology at UCLA.
The conference will take place at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon on April 20, 2013. Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be emailed to Marianna Ritchey (email@example.com) and Andrea Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org) by September 30, 2012.
The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Department of Musicology
2443 Schoenberg Music Building
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1616 Email: email@example.com
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