Marie Saunders, who is working towards her PhD in Ethnomusicology at City, recently presented a paper at the Understanding Scotland Musically Conference, sponsored by the AHRC and held at Newcastle University, 20-21 October 2014. The title of her paper was ‘Understanding Scotland differently: intergenerational musical reception amongst the London-Scottish diaspora’. Her paper was prompted by reflections on evidence from primary research she carried out in London among two different age groups drawn from members of London’s Scottish diaspora. The data from her current ethnographic research in progress is beginning to suggest a definite shift in perceptions of what Scottish music is. Responses about Scottish music differed from those gathered in her earlier research carried out in 2010. Three patterns are beginning to emerge: little connection with bagpipe music, the prominent place of Indie bands indicating new identity markers for Scottish music and the importance of audience participation, ‘musicking’(Small,C.,1998), with reference to Indie Concerts, ceilidh bands and the Proclaimers. It remains to be seen whether these patterns will be maintained or challenged as the quota of interviews moves toward completion in 2015.
On Friday 17th October 2014, Laudan Nooshin was invited to present a paper at the conference ‘Classical Music, Critical Challenges’, held at King’s College London. The paper was entitled ‘Classical Music and Its Others: The View from Iran’, and explored one of the central themes of the conference – how classical music’s hegemonic status is produced and maintained – focused on the reception of western classical music in Iran. The paper examined the ways in which the discourses around western classical music in Iran have served to establish and maintain the music’s prestige and authority. Laudan traced the arrival of western classical music in Iran in the mid-19th century, through its later mobilisation as a symbol of modernity in the 1930s, and more recently how the music has come to be understood as a form of ‘universal’ expression which transcends geographical and cultural boundaries.
The conference, which was attended by about 80 people, was organised by Anna Bull (Goldsmiths, University of London) and Christina Scharff (King’s College London) and was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Goldsmiths, University of London.
PhD student Georgia Rodgers is profiled in a recent entry on the NMC Recordings website highlighting her involvement in the Next Wave Project. Georgia is one of twelve composers from higher education institutions across the country to be selected for the project, which stems from a collaborative partnership between Sound and Music and NMC. The project has allowed Georgia to develop a new work for tuba and live electronics in close collaboration with tubist Oren Marshall and Sound Intermedia. The work — titled ‘partial filter’ — will be premiered at this year’s Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and released on a dedicated Next Wave Album by NMC. An extract from the work can be found below, along with an interview with Georgia on her experiences as part of Next Wave.
PhD student Mark Porter has collaborated with editor and theologian Pete Ward to put together a special issue of the journal Ecclesial Practices on the theme of congregational music. Mark’s own contribution on ‘The developing field of Christian congregational music studies‘ sets out to narrate and define this emerging area of research with particular reference to the influence of ethnomusicology over the course of the late 20th/early 21st century.
Dr Diana Salazar‘s remix of Tansy Davies‘ ‘Neon’ has been awarded a prize in the Nonclassical Remix Competition. Composers were invited to submit remixes of one of three contemporary instrumental works by Gabriel Prokofiev, Tansy Davies or Gary Carpenter. Full information on the prizewinners and runners-up can be found here and you can listen to Diana’s winning work 1s2_2s2_2p6 here. The work will shortly be released on a Nonclassical EP or album.
On the 24th October MA student Sam Kendall and Lecturer in Music, Dr Diana Salazar, will attend the Cambridge University conference- ‘Building Interdisciplinary Bridges Across Cultures‘. Here, they will present research and run a workshop on the electronic ensemble within higher education, in collaboration with Dr Oded Ben-Tal, Senior Lecturer in Music at Kingston University. The presentation will address the benefits and challenges of this type of ensemble, the local and global institutional contexts, and the interdisciplinary implications, in relation to music pedagogy.
As part of the documentary series, Sound of Song, which will explore the history and development of popular music recording, the BBC has been filming in the Music Department at City University London. Sequences demonstrating historical recording practices, contemporary digital processes, and demonstrations on the Steinway grand piano of works by Irving Berlin, Phil Spector, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra and Lieber and Stoller were filmed in the Department’s Performance Space and Recording Studio.
Dr Miguel Mera, Deputy Head of Music, commented: “We have always had strong external links with the music industries, but it is especially pleasing to be working on this project with the BBC, not least because the writer and presenter, Neil Brand, has performed in our concert series and has given guest lectures to our students. Also, this documentary focuses on the close interaction between music and technology which has been a core concern of the Music Department at City since its inception.”
Neil Brand commented: “We’ve had a great time filming here in these wonderful facilities, we have had absolutely everything we needed in one very convenient space, and the result is better than I could have hoped.”
Series Producer Alastair Williams also highlighted how the City Performance Space was ideal for the BBC’s needs: “It gave us an opportunity to re-enact and produce our own musical moments from the history of recorded music. So we recreated the Edison Tone Test and gathered a band together to record acoustically as they did in 1906 on wax cylinders. And in the recording studio we made our own version of the song ‘Believe’ by Cher to illustrate how Pro-Tools and Auto-Tune can change the Sound of Song. These were fascinating and productive days exploring a century of recorded sound.”
The three-part series will be broadcast on BBC 4 in January 2015.
Congratulations to MA Music student Sam Kendall, who has been selected as a finalist in the Oxford/Sennheiser Electronic Music Prize (OSEMP). The structure and materials of Sam’s shortlisted electroacoustic work ‘One Fast Move or I’m Gone’ are strongly influenced by Jack Kerouac’s novel Big Sur. Sam will diffuse the work at the OSEMP finalists’ concert in the Jacqueline Du Pré Music Building, Oxford University on 8th November 2014.