Monthly Archives: March 2016

Laudan Nooshin Speaks at University College Cork

Earlier this month, Laudan Nooshin visited the Music Department at University College Cork, Ireland, to present a research seminar entitled ‘Re-Imagining Musical Difference: Creative Process, Alterity and “Improvisation” in Iranian Music from Classical to Jazz’. Drawn from her ongoing research on Iranian music, the presentation explored the various ways in which the concept of ‘improvisation’ has been understood, constructed and imagined in Iran. The audience included both undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as staff from the Music Department at UCC.


City Research Seminar with Tom Perchard

IMG_3574On 9 March the research seminar welcomed Tom Perchard from Goldsmiths to speak on “Placing Audio in the Postwar British Home: History, Technology and Listening“. The stimulating — and entertaining — talk led to lively discussion from the members of the City community and visitors in attendance.

Tom seeks to challenge some current narratives of “hi-fi” as an exclusively male domain in 1950’s-60’s Britain, such as Keir Knightley’s 1996 article “‘Turn It down!’ She Shrieked: Gender, Domestic Space, and High Fidelity, 1948-59“. While this trope — of hi-fi audio as a gendered escape from the domestic space of the suburban post-war home — may have described some experiences, it may have been more significant as an advertising ploy than as factual reality. With evidence garnered from the diary collection of the Bishopsgate Institute, Tom points to women of diverse ages and economic backgrounds who were just as enthusiastic and sensitive hi-fi listeners as their male counterparts. In parallel Tom documents the development of advertisements in periodicals HiFi and Ideal Home, tracing the evolution of hi-fi from DIY hobby to interior design trend in the increasingly mediatised space of the post-war home. In parallel the iconic figure of the lone adult male seated in a leather chair in a pose of intense listening — whom Tom likens to Caspar David Friedrich’s wanderer — eventually yields in the mid-1960s to hi-fi ads featuring teens and women as societal and market forces change.

The compelling topic and engaging delivery accompanied by, at times humorous, vintage hi-fi ads touched an audience with a wide range of interests, criss-crossing fields of historical musicology, popular music studies, gender, and techno-culture. Questions and discussion that followed brought up issues of privacy and access to diary documents, the simultaneous evolution of the television as media and domestic object, and differences between British and North American domestic spaces. Many thanks to Tom for opening up this fascinating field for us!

Aaron Einbond, Lecturer in Composition


Nico Casal part of Academy Award winning team

Nico Casal — a graduate of the MA Programme in Composition — is celebrating after a win at the Oscars.

Nico composed the music for Stutterer, which was named Best Short Film at the 2016 Academy Awards in Hollywood.

Stutterer explores the challenging experiences of a young man with a severe speech impediment. The Academy Award is one of several awards the film has already won, including: the Best Foreign Film prize from the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival; the Special Jury Award at Savannah Film Festival; Best International Short Film at Kerry Film Festival; and the Best Drama award at Aesthetica Short Film Festival.Stutterer1

City Research Seminar on ‘Life Post-PhD’

On Wednesday 24th February, 2016, three City University alumni – Sini Timonen (BIMM), Laura Seddon (University of Portsmouth) and Robert Percy (Composer) – came in to discuss the paths that they have taken since completing their PhDs in the Music Department. It was an informative session for current postgraduates, and fascinating to learn how each member of the panel had charted their own course – both in and out of academia – after completing their research degrees.

As a composer, Robert balances commissioned works with lecturing, including the UG module Orchestral and Instrumental Studies at City. Through teaching experiences gained during her PhD research, Sini quickly found her way into a management role at modern music institute BIMM. Laura set up her own contemporary arts production organisation, before finding an interdisciplinary academic post for her research on gender and music, in the School of Languages at the University of Portsmouth.

Sini, Robert and Laura all agreed on a number of important aspects for planning life post-PhD. They recommended making and maintaining personal connections, as well as thinking outside the box (and outside of when considering employment opportunities. They all created their own events and found innovative ways to disseminate their research. Most of all, they reminded us that creative thinking and new ideas can be applied to finding your way in life after the PhD, as well as within your thesis.

Tullis Rennie, Visiting Lecturer in Composition

City Students and Alumni present at BFE/RMA Research Students’ Conference 2016: ‘Disciplines in Dialogue’

The 49th Annual Music Research Students’ Conference took place in Prifysgol, Bangor University (Wales), from 6th to 8th January 2016. Usually organised by the Royal Music Association, it was for the first time this year co-organised with the British Forum for Ethnomusicology. It gathered music students from all over the UK and from overseas.

The theme of the conference was ‘Disciplines in Dialogue: a multidisciplinary conference for students involved in all kinds of music research’ and papers explored the boundaries between musicologies of various kinds.

City University MA alumna Solène Heinzl and PhD student and Visiting Lecturer Stephen Wilford attended the conference on the 7th and 8th January respectively. Solène presented a paper on ‘The Impact of Technological Communication on Filmmaker-Composer Creative Collaboration’ and Stephen Wilford spoke about the potential of the Internet as a site for ethnomusicological fieldwork as part of the ‘Fieldwork Methods’ session.

The 7th January included two very informative careers and methodologies sessions: the first on ‘How to Get Published’, sponsored by the publisher Routledge; the second on ‘Post-PhD Careers Beyond Academia’. There was also an opportunity for students to express their needs and concerns during the ‘Open Discussion of Graduate Training Needs’. The day ended with a keynote presentation by Professor Keith Howard (SOAS, University of London) entitled ‘The Future of Our Musical Pasts’. Professor Howard considered convergences and divergences between ethnomusicology and musicology and asked whether these discussions were relevant today, stressing the importance of preserving and sustaining the future of our musical pasts.

The second day of the conference included a number of panels with students presenting papers on a range of topics. These included another City BMus and MA alumnus, Andrew Pace, whose presentation focused on the role of the guitar in Maltese ghana music. Andrew traced the historical development of acoustic guitars in the local Maltese music scene, examining both the evolving design of the instruments and their role in affording status to the musicians playing them. The day also included panels on ‘Current Issues in Music in Higher Education’ (convened by the National Association for Music in Higher Education) and ‘Fieldwork Methods’ (convened by the BFE). The conference concluded with a keynote presentation (in the form of the Jerome Roche Lecture) from Professor Nanette Nielson (University of Oslo). Professor Nielson’s paper examined issues of subjectivity in relation to the role of music in film, and discussed the ways in which music is able to shape the merging subjectivities of characters and spectators.

The conference was a great success, bringing together postgraduate students and scholars with a range of musical interests. The connections formed between RMA, BFE and NAMHE members and the productive discussions that these generated, should be applauded, and hopefully augur well for the future of such joint conferences.

Solene Heinzl and Stephen Wilford


Professor Keith Howard’s Keynote Presentation

Ruth Glasspool (Managing Editor, Visual Arts, Music and Theatre & Performance Journals, Routledge, Left) and Professor Laura Tunbridge (Editor, Journal of the Royal Music Association, Right) - session on 'How to Get Published'

Ruth Glasspool (Managing Editor, Visual Arts, Music and Theatre & Performance Journals, Routledge, Left) and Professor Laura Tunbridge (Editor, Journal of the Royal Music Association, Right) – session on ‘How to Get Published’