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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Musikwissenschaft

Online Gastvorlesungsreihe im Wintersemester 2020/21

Die Gastvorträge finden im Wintersemester 2020/21 als Zoom-Sessions über Moodle statt. Sollten Sie Interesse an den Vorträgen haben, möchten wir Sie bitten, sich in die Moodle-Veranstaltung "Collegium Musicologicum" einzuschreiben. Dort erhalten Sie dann den entsprechenden Link sowie das Passwort für die jeweilige Veranstaltung. Wenn Sie sich nicht einschreiben können oder wollen, oder wenn Sie Fragen haben, wenden Sie sich bitte an Dr. Sydney Hutchinson: hutchins@hu-berlin.de.

The winter 2020/21 guest lectures will take place as online Zoom sessions. We recommend that all who are interested in the lectures sign up for the series using the Moodle site called "Collegium Musicologicum." On that site you will find the links to all Zoom sessions and you will receive the passwords from an administrator. If you are unable to sign up for a free Moodle account, do not wish to, or if you otherwise need assistance, please write to Dr. Sydney Hutchinson at hutchins@hu-berlin.de.

  • Donnerstag, 10. Dezember 2020, 18 Uhr

Benedict Taylor (University of Edinburgh)
Music, the Historical, and the Problem of Temporal Representation in Der Rosenkavalier

Der Rosenkavalier is an opera which foregrounds time: the problem of time, as transience, passing, and ultimately death for the ageing Marschallin, and also contrasts this with a potentially more redemptive quality, the category of the Augenblick, the intersection of the temporal with the eternal, associated with the young lovers Octavian and Sophie.  It is also a work that has traditionally marked the turning point in Strauss's relation to historical time and the idea of musical progress, the composer supposedly retreating from the modernity of Salome and Elektra towards a more conservative idiom.  The temporal qualities manifested in Der Rosenkavalier invite comparison with another work from this period that similarly foregrounds the concept of time, Thomas Mann's Der Zauberberg. In this self-styled 'novel of time', Mann raises a number of problems concerning the human limitations on perceiving time and its artistic representation, especially with regard to music.  Disputing the contention made by the narrator of Mann's novel that music cannot 'narrate time', I show that Strauss's music in fact perfectly exemplifies music's capacity to express 'the historical in time', in this way using Der Rosenkavalier as a case study for addressing the philosophical problem of temporal representation in art.  I argue that Der Rosenkavalier – both Hofmannsthal's text and Strauss's music – is in several significant ways 'an opera about time': the temporal and the eternal, the historical, and what I will call the 'meta-historical'.

Benedict Taylor is Reader and Director of Research in Music at the University of Edinburgh. He received his MA and PhD from St Catharine's College, Cambridge, subsequently holding fellowships at Heidelberg, Princeton, and Berlin, and he worked previously at Oxford as Lecturer in Music and Senior Research Fellow at Magdalen and New College. Prof. Taylor's research and teaching interests include musical temporality and subjectivity, theory and analysis (especially 19th-century form and late-Romantic harmonic practice), philosophy, and the history of music c. 1770–1945 (with particular focus on Mendelssohn, besides the music of Haydn, late Beethoven, Schubert, Weber, and Schumann; British music; and late Romantic music). He is the author of four monographs, the latest of which is Arthur Sullivan: A Musical Reappraisal (2017); he has also edited five further books including Rethinking Mendelssohn (Oxford University Press, 2020).  Prof. Taylor is also co-editor of Music & Letters and he serves on the editorial board of Music Analysis.

  • Donnerstag, 21. Januar 2021, 18 Uhr

Hannah Robbins (University of Nottingham)
Reclaiming Lena Horne: approaching Blackness and stardom in the Hollywood musical

"Hollywood didn't know what to do with me" is one of the most famous quotes attributed to the film star and recording artist, Lena Horne. Celebrated as the first Black actor to secure a multi-film contract at the legendary MGM film company, Horne broke ground as a performer and activist in the 1940s. This paper examines how Horne is presented on screen, how this framing has informed representations of her career, and how her on-screen legacy has been shaped by toxic whiteness that erases her Black heritage and her campaigning to improve conditions for Black Americans at the time.

Hannah Robbins is Assistant Professor for Popular Music and Director of Black Studies at the University of Nottingham. She is an expert in American musical theatre in its cultural context. Her current research focuses on the life and career of Cole Porter and the representation of Black and queer creatives in American musical theatre history. She has published widely on movie and stage musicals from The Wizard of Oz to Hamilton and Disney's Frozen. Dr Robbins completed her PhD at the University of Sheffield. In 2018, she was appointed the inaugural Frederick Loewe Postdoctoral Research Associate, where she completed a critical edition of Lerner and Loewe's first hit musical Brigadoon. She has also worked as a Visiting Lecturer in Musical Theatre at the University of Leeds. Dr Robbins is in the process of preparing a monograph on the hit musical Kiss Me, Kate (Oxford University Press, 2021), a chapter on Lena Horne's film career (Oxford University Press, 2021), and a critical approach to intersectionality and the American musical (Cambridge University Press, 2023).

  • Donnerstag, 28. Januar 2021, 18 Uhr

Alejandro L. Madrid (Cornell University)
"Labels [Are] Selling Short What the Whole Thing Is About": On Identity Politics, Representation, and Legacy in Tania León’s Biography

This presentation reflects upon the ways in which composer Tania León’s life and works have been portrayed to create the idea of an artistic legacy. The examination unfolds around three concepts: representation, identity, and legacy. The first part is an exploration of the ways in which Tania León has been represented in literature about music in the United States and Latin America, often within the logics of identity politics. The second part is devoted to León’s discourse of self-identification and provides a detailed exploration of the ways in which she rejects identity labels and the implications of this rejection. In the final section, I assess León’s current legacy as a musician, artist, educator, and community organizer in relation to the way processes of canonization of León and her work have unfolded for several years.

Alejandro L. Madrid is a cultural theorist whose historical, ethnographic, and critical work focuses on music and expressive culture from Latin America and Latinxs in the United States. Working at the intersection of musicology, ethnomusicology, and performance studies, his work explores questions of transnationalism and diaspora; gender and embodied culture; and historiography, narrative, and alternative ways of knowledge production in music from the long twentieth century. Madrid is the author of over a dozen books for which he has received numerous national and international awards, including the Dent Medal from the Royal Musical Association and the International Musicological Society; the Premio de Musicología Casa de las Américas; the Mexico Humanities Book Award from the Latin American Studies Association; the Béla Bartók Award from the ASCAP/Deems Taylor Awards; the Woody Guthrie Book Award from the International Association for the Study of Popular Music; the Premio de Musicología Samuel Claro Valdés; as well as the Robert Stevenson, Ruth Solie, and Philip Brett awards from the American Musicological Society. His most recent book, Tania León’s Stride. A Polyrhythmic Life is forthcoming this year with University of Illinois Press. Madrid is editor of Oxford University Press’s award-winning series Currents in Latin American and Iberian Music, and co-editor of the journal Twentieth-Century Music. He is professor of musicology and ethnomusicology as well as Chair of the Department of Music at Cornell University.


  • Donnerstag, 11. Februar 2021, 18 Uhr

Shzr Ee Tan (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Megaphones hiding in trees: civic instruction via mediated soundscapes in places of natural scenic beauty in China

Places of 'scenic beauty' in China – national parks, panda enclosures, holy mountains, private gardens – have been sites where encounters with nature have been constructed through idealisations of particular ecologies. Often, in these environments, the sonic design of space predicates as much on 'organic' elements as on deliberately-engineered and broadcast 'artificial' sounds. Loudspeakers are hidden in trees and rocks. Broadcasting ambient sounds throughout the course of the day, they send signals ranging from Chinese classical music to spoken descriptions of local objects of interest, to exhortations to walk in an orderly fashion, to religions chants. Sometimes, the broadcasts are presented in overt articulations in invocation of public service announcements or tourist information posts. Based on multi-sited fieldwork in Northern, Eastern and Southern China, this paper considers such mediated soundscapes along four axes of analysis. First, I contextualise such sonic 'atmospheres' within surveillance culture in China and civic instruction through public address. Second, I examine them within a longer, well-known history of Taoist philosophy that positions man in relationship to the cosmos through a perspective of 'artifice' embedded in oppositional co-existence with 'nature'. Third, I explore these articulations as multisensorial experiences found in ecotouristic brands. Finally, I critique these sonic mediations in interaction with perceived 'natural' sounds within broader theorizations of ecomusicology developed by Guy (2009) and Rees (2016), coming to conclusions on national vs local acoustic ecologies of the 'natural' Chinese world.

Shzr Ee Tan is a Senior Lecturer and ethnomusicologist specialized in Sinophone and Southeast Asian worlds at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is interested in impact-based issues of music and decolonisation, aspirational cosmopolitanism, and race discourses in music scenes around the world, with a view towards understanding marginality through the lenses of intersectionality. Recent projects include the 2020 webinar Orchestrating Isolation: Musical Interventions and Inequality in the COVID-19 Fallout, organized with Kiku Day,  and the project  'Cultural Imperialism and the 'New Yellow Peril' in Western Art Music',  coordinated since 2019 with Mai Kawabata. Recent publications include the book chapter 'Digital Inequality and Global Sounds,' co-edited volumes Music, Indigeneity and Digital Media (Cambridge; with Thomas Hilder and Henry Stobart) and Gender in Chinese Music (Rochester; with Rachel Harris and Rowan Pease), and a monograph, “Beyond Innocence”: Amis Aboriginal Song in Taiwan as an Ecosystem (Ashgate). In addition, Shzr Ee is also an active musician (piano, accordion, Korean percussion, tango/ Balkan accordion, erhu, and Chinese and Okinawan lutes) and an arts advocate in both Singapore and the UK.


  • Donnerstag, 25. Februar 2021, 18 Uhr

Arnie Cox (Oberlin College and Conservatory)
The Audible and Inaudible in Music

There is a distinction to be made between what is literally audible and what is seemingly audible, as in the case of melodic contour (the apparent rise and fall of melodies). While for most intents and purposes there may be little or no harm in pretending that melodies rise and fall, the list of such fictionally audible properties also includes musical motion, tension & release, expression, and beauty, and there are in fact disadvantages and even harm in epistemologies that are premised on such fictional audibility - or so I argue in this lecture. At the center of the set of the relevant issues is the relationship between bodies and feelings in conceptualizing what we hear, where fictional audibility disguises the roles of embodiment, enactment, and emotion. Outward from this center are then the implications for meaning-making, identity performance, and the construction of value in music education and scholarship and in societies more broadly.

Arnie Cox is Professor of Music Theory at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (Ohio, USA), where he teaches music theory, musicianship, and the courses Music & Embodied Cognition and Music & Emotion. He is author of Music & Embodied Cognition: Listening, Moving, Feeling & Thinking (Indiana University Press, 2016). His most recent publication is “On the Subjects and Objects of Music Analysis” (in Music, Analysis, and the Body: Experiments, Explorations, and Embodiments, Nicholas Reyland and Rebecca Thumpston, editors; Peeters, 2018). Current projects include a book on music and emotion and an article on music and value.