Programme for the Day

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 Tuesday 26 April 2016, Senate House,  WC1E 7HU, London, Room SH264

10:00-10:30           Morning Coffee, Friendly Chat, and Newspapers

  • Cycle 1: Modernities 

10:30-11:00        Anyssa Neumann: In the Presence of Schubert: Ingmar Bergman’s Imaginative                                                                             Affinities

11:00-11:30         Dr. Andriana Minou: Accidental Realities: A survival guide to Jani                                                                                                           Christou’s Epicycle

11:30-12:00        Dr. Eva Mantzourani: A Greek icon: Heteroglossia, ambiguity and identity in                                                                                        the music of Nikos Skalkottas


  • Cycle 2: Performance Matters

12:00- 12:30        Dr. Katherine Astbury: Performing Napoleonic vaudeville

12:30- 13:00        Danai Bletsa: Dandelion cupcakes ( …wounds fluorescent in the                                                                                darkness crowded with sighs)

13:00-14:00          Lunch

14:00-14:30           Workshop with the Oiseaux Bizarres ensemble

14:30-15:00           Harry Stopes: “Lydéric, sauveur de Flandres”: the politics of the regional                                                                  opera in Lille, 1881-1896


  • Cycle 3: The present, the future

15:00-15:30          Bandana Singh: Punk, Diaspora, and Belonging: An Auto-Ethnography 

15:30-16:00         Maria Xypaki: Culture: the missing pillar of sustainable development and                                                               the new artist

16:30                     Performance by the Oiseaux Bizarres ensemble



with the kind support of:

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You may download the programme on pdf here: Symposium Programme


Papers fresh from the oven

Cycle 1: Modernities

  • Dr. Andriana Minou

Accidental Realities: A survival guide to Jani Christou’s Epicycle

It’s so quiet here, it’s not even here, there are no borders, I have no borders, therefore maybe that’s what I actually need, yes, that’s it, borders, limits, an outside that defines my inside. That’s it, I need to be defined, but there’s no one around to define me, therefore, I must define myself, that is, I must define my surroundings. It’s quiet, it’s dark, everything is so orderly, but this is just an illusion, it is not order that I’m surrounded with, it’s nothingness, I need material, I need matter, I need a mother to give birth to me. So I must give birth to my mother first, I need a cause in order to come in effect, I need to cause the effect that will cause me. What shall I be then? I must act, that’s for sure. I need to create conflict in order to put it back in order. Or rather, I need balance, so I need to create opposites because real balance can exist only between opposites. Should I be a demiurge? Should I become this type of creature that creates realities out of sheer boredom only to sit back and watch my supposedly immaculate providence come apart? OK, why not? But how? How do I become a demiurge? How do I create reality? Let’s see.
  • Anyssa Neumann

In the Presence of Schubert: Ingmar Bergman Imaginative Affinities

Woven into Ingmar Bergman’s largely forgotten penultimate film, In the Presence of a Clown (Larmar och gör sig till, 1997), is the music and mythology of Franz Schubert – heard, played, seen, re-told, re-enacted, re-imagined. A fictional tale about Bergman’s real-life uncle, Carl Åkerblom, travelling through the wintry landscape of 1920s Sweden, Bergman’s film delves into both the historical past and his personal history, conjured up through memory and imagination and materialized onscreen. My paper will show how Schubert’s music transgresses the boundaries of space and time, connecting fictionalized characters with historical personages, imagined scenarios with documented events. By closely considering the repeated appearance of Schubert’s song “Der Leiermann” (from Winterreise) throughout the film, I will demonstrate how the presence of Schubert, as a metaphor for artistic companionship, offers musical, historical, and imaginative connections between sympathetic artists, poets and composers, musicians and listeners, filmmakers and audiences.
  • Dr. Eva Mantzourani

A Greek icon: Heteroglossia, ambiguity and identity in the music of Nikos Skalkottas

Skalkottas was a reluctant nationalist composer, ambivalent about his relation with his country and compatriots. However, he occasionally expressed his desire to be seen as a Greek composer, and, using elements from Greek folk and popular music, he composed several works specifically with this in mind. Similar to Béla Bartók’s methods of integrating folk music into his compositions, Skalkottas incorporated traditional folk-music idioms in some of his works in three essential ways. These feature arrangement of an authentic folk tune by means of adding an accompaniment to it; imitation of the folk sources in a more abstract context, either using authentic folk tunes, or folk-like melodies of his own invention; and assimilation of folk music into an original art-music idiom in which the material is removed from the original folk source.
This study proposes that Skalkottas’s arrangements of folk songs and folk-like works for small ensembles, and his various arrangements of Greek Dances, could be seem as belonging to the genre of ‘rural miniature’ (Walden, 2014), a hybrid genre that emerged out of urban European composers’ encounters with folk and popular music. It also considers the hybridity of Skalkottas’s folk-inspired works in the context of Mikhail Bakhtin’s concepts of ‘heteroglossia’ and ’hybridization’.  Heteroglossia, in particular, provides a hermeneutic device which explains the distance between Skalkottas as author/composer, and the folk music materials which he employed to create the musical dialogues implied in his pieces. The study explores the premise that if Skalkottas is seen as a Greek national icon, it is not because of his ideology, vision, or nationalist ideals, but due to his syncretic expression of musical heteroglossia, the forging of a new inclusive language, which occasionally fuses Greek-inspired elements but is technically grounded on modernist Western compositional techniques, and his originality in the treatment of his diverse musical sources. This compositional hybridity allowed Skalkottas to codify musically his ongoing ambivalence towards the Greek musical establishment and his position in Greek culture

Cycle 2: Performance Matters

  • Dr. Katherine Astbury

Performing Napoleonic vaudeville

While French Revolutionary theatre and Romantic theatre have in recent years seen a revival of scholarly interest, the theatre of the First Empire, sandwiched between, has largely been neglected. This paper will explore one of the most common theatrical forms of the Napoleonic era, vaudeville, in order to explore how an interdisciplinary approach might enhance our understanding of its contribution to the culture (and politics) of the time.
There is no performance tradition of early 19th-century vaudeville and so, in November 2015, we undertook a performance in a day, bringing singers and an orchestra together with actors, academics and theatre practitioners to perform La Laitière suisse, a 1-act comédie, mêlée de couplets, which premiered at the Théâtre des variétés in Paris on 11 May 1815, during the period of Napoleon’s return to power retrospectively called the Hundred Days. We wanted to perform the play in order to explore a number of key questions:
What is the relationship between the spoken word and song and how does this dynamic work on stage?
What effect does the intertextuality of familiar airs (in both the overture and the songs) have on the audience?
What is the role of the non-verbal in such a play?
Where does Empire vaudeville sit in a longer tradition of vaudeville – does it look back towards the 18th-century tradition, or is it already pointing towards the later 19th century?
This paper will explore the advantages of looking at Napoleonic vaudeville from a performance perspective, alongside more traditional analysis of text, manuscript and press reports in order to better assess the dramaturgical traditions at the heart of Napoleonic theatrical practice as well as provide reflection on interdisciplinary methodologies.
  • Harry Stopes

Lydéric, sauveur de Flandres”: the politics of the regional opera in Lille, 1881-1896

 An extensive historiography has established the close relationship between politics and the opera in nineteenth century France. This historiography has tended to be preoccupied with opera’s role in the formation of national identity, and the attempt to develop a French operatic style that recuperated Richard Wagner’s aesthetics while staying true to French character. In this paper it is argued that in seeking to understand how composers and politicians confronted this fin-de-siecle moment, we should examine the provincial operatic stages as well as those in Paris. In a case study drawn from Lille, it examines the functioning of the municipal opera, demonstrating that the mayor and councillors sought to carve out a degree of local independence through a programme of “décentralisation théatrale”. The article culminates in an analysis of Lydéric, a Wagnerian-style opera written by a local composer, that told the story of a flemish legend familiar to local audiences.
  • Danai Bletsa

Dandelion cupcakes ( … wounds fluorescent in the darkness crowded with sighs)

To be seen

Cycle 3: The present, the future

  • Bandana Singh

Punk, Diaspora, and Belonging: An Auto-Ethnography

I am an alt/rock artist from Toronto, heavily influenced by grunge, punk + North Indian Classical music. My Ontario Arts Council Chalmers Arts Fellowship project will explore diaspora beyond the scope of ethnicity alone through an examination of issues including belonging, community, and identity within punk subcultures in North America and South Asia.
I will interview punk artists and labels in Mumbai, Los Angeles and my home city of Toronto, and document these punk scenes and subcultures through photos and short audio and possibly video interviews. I am a daughter of multiple diasporas (Indian, Fijian, Canadian), and therefore neither punk nor Indian: I am striving for my musical and artistic works to show a ‘third sound’ that is possible in Toronto and for this project to further develop this ‘third sound.’ These interviews are meant to compare and contrast perspectives from the ‘punk diaspora,’ around topics that are foundational elements to my own artistic practice (i.e., tradition, femininity, aggression, and identity).
There is a growing, thriving community of punk artists in Bangalore and Delhi, particularly represented by the record label Ennui.Bomb. Much of the punk music coming from the Indian subcontinent replicates the sound and style of Southern Californian (SoCal) alt/rock punk/rock music from the 90’s, with most songs being sung in English and not languages native to South Asia. Indeed, Ennui,Bomb’s aesthetic closely resembles that of the iconic SoCal record label Epitaph from the 90’s. I want to know why are Indian punks emulating the SoCal sound exactly? What is “punk” about singing in the language of the former colonizer, when you have options not to do so? Why import a subculture?
Concurrently, throughout my experiences in punk shows in North America, I have at times felt like an outsider, as there are few women or people of colour on stage or at the shows, even though the punk genre espouses social justice and equality as part of its ethos. Why are there not more people of colour in mosh pits all over North America, or signed to punk labels when these artists exist? Where are all the women in any of these aggressive rock scenes? How will Toronto grow to engage punk/alt rock artists and art from many different histories and reasons for dissent?
I will document my findings as I go in a set of online photo essays, podcasts, and blog posts, hopefully connecting the communities I am researching with avenues for future potential collaborations. In punk rock fashion, the project will culminate in the creation of a physical zine which will present the findings and stories which will be shared with all the project participants.
  • Maria Xypaki

Culture: the missing pillar of sustainable development and the new artist

This paper discusses the importance of culture in addressing the challenges of sustainable development as well as the role of the artist in addressing such challenges through promoting societal change.
According to the Arts Council England (2016), art and culture are a strategic national resource that can benefit us economically, socially, and educationally – from the future prospects of our children, to the vibrancy of our cities, to the contribution made to economic growth. But is that really all? If art and culture can play a key role for the current and future generations both socially and economically, what is their role in relation to today’s complexities that have ecological, social and economic dimensions? The complexity of the globalized society and the complexity of an impending globalized crisis, where terrorism, war, poverty, growing world population, climate chaos or alienation become more and more aspects of the same system (Brocchi, 2008)?
To put it differently, what is the relationship between art and culture on the one hand and the aforementioned challenges of sustainable development on the other? The term sustainable development, was popularized in Our Common Future, a report published by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in 1987, according to which “sustainable development” is the development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (WCED, p. 43). This paper will argue that many of the planet’s environmental, social and economic problems have cultural activity and decisions – people and human actions – at their roots. (Dessein et al, 2015). This is why culture is considered to be the fourth missing pillar of sustainable development together with the environmental, social and economic (Hawkes, 2001 and UNESCO, 2013). What is more, to address the above challenges, new ways of living, new ways of being, doing and experiencing the world need to also be explored (Bijvoet, 1994). This is what art does and this is why art is important. Using Dieleman’s (2008) argument that sustainable development is portrayed as a societal change process in terms of Giddens’ structuration theory, this paper will present examples of how artists can play a key role in addressing the sustainable development challenges.

Symposium Details

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A Royal Musical Association Study Day
‘Cooking History-Consuming Art’: An encounter in-between History, Musicology, and Performance Practice. 
Date: 26 April 2016
Venue: Senate House, University of London
“[….] But this transformation of the everyday labour, which turns everyday objects into meta-art, is a secret. The ‘enchanted’ arrive to this truth without the knowledge of the ‘know-how’. The rest are struggling in the shallow ideological and technocratic trends of their time, which constitute the perishable ‘habitat’, the trending terminology.”
Iannis Xenakis Texts on Music and Architecture.
Terminologies, approaches, and what Xenakis referred to as ‘trends’ overlap between the sciences and the arts. In the cases of History and Music, what makes the overlap of greater significance is the vacant space between the ‘know-how’ of the practitioners, the technocratic terms of the musicologists, and the ideological trends of the historians. The separate disciplines of Cultural History, (Historical or not) Musicology, and performance practice, have achieved each in its own ‘habitat’ to create interpretations of the experience of music and culture and to highlight their contribution to the historical evolution of society. Nevertheless, and despite common terminology among the disciplines, the network of communication and exchange of information between the arts and the social sciences remain closed.
‘Cooking History- Consuming Art’ is aspiring to become a platform for the exchange of ideas on methodological approaches between historians, musicologists, intellectual theorists, and practitioners, to discuss, disagree and experiment on the limitations of our separate disciplines, and their impact on creative practice. In a workshop- symposium that will culminate in a collective performance between academics and practitioners, presentations on different aspects of the arts and their cultural dimensions will be grouped into session and discussed in regards to their content and approach. Interdisciplinarity in methodology will be compared to interdisciplinarity in content, and different approaches to research between the different disciplines will be examined in regards to their outcomes in different methodologies.



For more information email: Artemis Ignatidou (


Organised with the kind support of :

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