bandeau_actu musicologie

édition du 22 janvier 2023 —

Monographic archives of fin-de-siècle composers: Present and Perspectives

22-24 November 2023, Locarno (Switzerland)
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You are cordially invited to submit papers for our public colloquium next autumn. The event is aimed at those responsible for handling the legacies of late 19th and early 20th century composers in form of a documentation and research institution. In the spirit of networking, this not quite everyday meeting format will offer the opportunity to discuss in close exchange the challenges characterising their specific spheres of action and to address questions of curatorial approaches towards a fairly recent music-historical heritage, focusing in particular on the ways and potentials of its use in scholarly and cultural terms.

Keynote speaker: Prof. Dr. Susanne Popp, Director Emerita of the Max-Reger-Institute (Karlsruhe)

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As unique as a composer’s life may be, the fate bestowed on the respective estate is quite often as individual: Celebrity and success achieved in one’s lifetime are no guarantee for the survival and preservation of an artistic archive. Yet if it proves possible to secure such a collection in the greatest possible unity, it can turn out to be a true treasure trove in the long term, for musicology as well as for research on cultural history in general.

The fact that the estates of prominent personalities from the turn of the 20th century could in many cases be conserved in a large degree of completeness may be attributed to a historical consciousness shaped by the experience of loss during the two world wars, but also, quite simply, to the relatively short time that has passed since then. Moreover, fin-de-siècle composers were part of an era that distinguished itself through gigantic steps in technological development. As a result, their legacies often turn out to be considerably richer than those of representatives of earlier generations, not least due to new types of sources and media – sound recordings, piano rolls, photographs, instructive editions etc. The historical distance for the observer of our time, whether researcher or music-loving amateur, is thus easier to overcome on several levels, and the fascination that the historical material in its multiplicity is able to arouse is a more immediate one.

This colloquium will focus on those institutions that maintain the estates of prominent late 19th and early 20th century composers in the form of a documentation and research centre, without necessarily being at the heart of important foundations. The call for participation is therefore directed in particular at entities that keep a musical-artistic legacy – mostly in the form of textual and iconographic sources, less so in cimelia or everyday objects – as a monographic collection, that conserve it and make it permanently available to the scholarly public.
In the spirit of networking, archivists from all over the world will have the opportunity over three days to discuss in close exchange the challenges characterising their specific spheres of action and responsibilities. Established collections that have been fully catalogued for generations will be invited, as well as those that are still in the early stages of cataloguing. The temporal and thematic framework is formed by those composers whose creative period can largely be located in the years between 1880 and 1920, irrespective of the styles, movements or camps they may represent. Those responsible for the estates of female composers are particularly encouraged to participate.

Methodological considerations in the systematisation of the holdings will be discussed, as well as conservation problems, tried and tested practices in the expansion of the holdings and routines in public relations work. The focus, however, is on the question of the scholarly and cultural use of the composer’s estate. In addition, sustainable answers to current developments and a look at future challenges – for the individual institution as well as for the field of monographic music archives as a whole – will be formulated.

Interested parties are invited to illustrate in an abstract (approx. 300 words) the holdings in their care in terms of history, scope and substance, to name tasks and missions, to outline potentials, perspectives and projects as well as to articulate impulses for a broader exchange based on the individual characteristics of the archive. Within the framework of the conference paper (30 min.), there will also be the opportunity to address in greater detail prominent individual aspects of the institutional activities. Closing date is 31 March 2023, the results will be announced by mid-May.

The event is open to anyone interested, admission is free.

Organisation: Fondo Leoncavallo, Locarno (Switzerland);

Location: Biblioteca cantonale (Palazzo Morettini), Locarno
Period: 22–24 november 2023


Conference languages: Italian, German, French, English

In consideration of the international audience, speakers are encouraged to favour English for their presentations whenever possible or to provide an abstract in English.

The organisers will bear the expenses for travel to and from the conference for active participants as well as for their accommodation during the meeting.

On request, there is the possibility of an online-only participation of speakers, please indicate this in your application.


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Samedi 21 Janvier, 2023