Two public lectures on “The Emancipated Performer” (London and Cambridge)

Monday 28 November 2016, 6 pm to 7 pmLecture Recital Room, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DT
Guildhall ResearchWorks series, presented in association with the Institute of Musical of Musical Research and the Cambridge Centre for Musical Performance Studies

Tuesday 29 November 2016, 5 pm to 6.30 pm

Robin Orr Recital Room, Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge, 11 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DP (no booking necessary).

Performance Studies Forum, hosted by the Cambridge Centre for Musical Performance Studies

The Emancipated Performer: Musical Rendering Beyond Interpretation

Paulo de Assis (ERC Principal Investigator, Orpheus Institute)

A close historical survey reveals that the notion of ‘musical interpretation’ was born only in the course of the nineteenth century, bound to a specific set of new rules, constraints and expectations. Other words and other practices were in use before its appearance, and other terms and praxes might emerge in the future. This talk will offer a brief overview of the terms used in the past and propose new ones for the future. Situating the discourse in a post-interpretive horizon of possibilities, it will argue for an emancipated, liberated and creative mode of performing musical objects from the past.

More specifically, Paulo de Assis will present his ongoing, European-funded research project MusicExperiment21, focusing on the subproject Diabelli Machines – a series of performances, lectures, articles or installations that operate different forms of problematization of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations Op. 120. Every single instantiation of this subproject questions the original work, cracking it from inside, disclosing its ruptures, and reconfiguring it in a different regime of perception and signification. Beyond historiographical, philological, organological or sociological investigations, it aims at creatively yet rigorously engaging with the historically available materials related to Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations and its compossible futures.

So far, the Diabelli Machines has had seven instantiations, including collaborations with the ORCiM-ensemble, Hermes Ensemble, Ensemble Interface and ME21 Collective, with seven young composers (Juan Parra, Lucia D’Errico, Tiziano Manca, David Gorton, Hans Roels, Bart Vanhecke, Paolo Galli), Swiss choreographer Kurt Dreyer, and a number of special guests such as Valentin Gloor, Catherine Laws, Stefan Östersjö, William Brooks, Benjamin Widmer and Mieko Kanno. All versions are documented at