International Conference: Spectralisms

Faculty of Music, University of Oxford
15–16 March 2017

The first UK conference devoted entirely to the discussion of spectral
music will take place in Oxford 15–16 March 2017, organised by the Faculty
of Music in association with Ircam, Paris, and supported by the University
of Oxford, the OUP John Fell Fund, and the Royal Musical Association.

The draft programme and registration are now open at
www.music.ox.ac.uk/spectralisms

The term spectral music, coined by composer Hugues Dufourt in 1979 and now
in wide use (despite ongoing disputes over its appropriateness), represents
a music derived from the analysis of the structure of sound itself, and
explores exciting new forms, timbres, temporalities and modes of
expression. It first emerged in France in the 1970s, but its roots extend
back possibly as far as Rameau, and certainly to such key figures of the
twentieth century as Debussy, Messiaen, Stockhausen, Ligeti, Xenakis,
Partch, and still today La Monte Young. Grisey, Murail, Dufourt and Levinas
were early pioneers of this aesthetic. Today the impact of ‘spectral
thinking’ can be found across a very wide range of international musical
practices.

This conference aims to examine a broad gamut of critical issues springing
from the idea of spectral music. The title ‘Spectralisms’ (in the plural)
reflects the conference organisers’ wish to encourage discussion of the
topic from the widest possible range of critical perspectives. A full
programme of 34 papers plus keynote lectures and a round table has now been
published at www.music.ox.ac.uk/spectralisms

The conference keynote speaker is Tristan Murail, co-founder of Ensemble
L’Itinéraire in 1973 and of the spectral movement. His key works include
Mémoire/Érosion, Gondawa, Désintégrations, L’Esprit des dunes, La Barque
mystique, Winter Fragments and Le Désenchantement du monde. Formerly
professor at Columbia University, currently visiting professor at Shanghai
Conservatory, he remains one of the world’s most influential living
composers.

The invited guest speaker is composer and commentator on contemporary
music, Julian Anderson, Professor of Composition and Composer in Residence
at the Guildhall School of Music, London. Recent works include a Violin
Concerto, ‘In lieblicher Bläue’, Van Gogh Blue, and Incantesimi for the
Berliner Philharmoniker and Simon Rattle.

The conference also features a concert given by the London Sinfonietta of
music by Murail, Grisey and Saariaho. It will take place in the Jacqueline
du Pre Music Building on 15 March 2017 at 19.30. The music in the programme
will be introduced by Tristan Murail.