Conference 2013: Pre-Conference Activities

In advance of the conference on 19-20 July, there was a day of pre-conference activities on 18 July. These included a set of ‘Introducing…’ lectures, discussion panels, the Study Group’s Annual General Meeting, and events hosted by outside organisations. The aim of the day was to enable and encourage the furtherance of dialogue and understanding within and across disciplines through a variety of formats.


These three lectures introduced the three primary disciplinary areas of the conference.

Introducing… Music and Continental Philosophy (Lydia Goehr, Columbia University)

Lydia Goehr is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. Her many publications include The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works: An Essay in the Philosophy of Music (1992; second edition with a new essay, 2007); The Quest for Voice: Music, Politics, and the Limits of Philosophy (1998); Elective Affinities: Musical Essays on the History of Aesthetic Theory (2008), and (co-edited with Daniel Herwitz) The Don Giovanni Moment. Essays on the legacy of an Opera (2006).

Introducing… Musicology and Philosophy (Björn Heile, University of Glasgow)

Björn Heile is Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Glasgow. Among numerous other publications mostly on new music, experimental music theatre and contemporary jazz, he is the author of The Music of Mauricio Kagel (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), the editor of The Modernist Legacy: Essays on New Music (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009) and co-editor (with Martin Iddon) of Mauricio Kagel bei den Darmstädter Ferienkursen für Neue Musik: Eine Dokumentation (Hofheim: Wolke, 2009). Most recently, he has led a research project on ‘The Use of Audiovisual Resources in Jazz Historiography and Scholarship: Performance, Embodiment and Mediatised Representations’ funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council; a volume of articles arising from the project is in preparation.

Introducing… Music and Analytic Philosophy (Derek Matravers, Open University & University of Cambridge)

After taking Philosophy for his first degree at University College London, Derek Matravers went on to complete his doctorate at Cambridge. He was a Post-Doctoral Lecturer at Cambridge, before moving to the Open University in 1994 where he is now Professor. He continues his links with Cambridge, where he is Associate Lecturer and also a Bye-Fellow of Emmanuel College. He has published extensively on aesthetics, and to a lesser extent on ethics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of mind. His latest book, Fiction and Narrative, is due out with Oxford University Press next year.

Outside Organisations

London Aesthetics Forum

Session title: Music and Film

Chaired and introduced by Emily Caddick Bourne (University of Cambridge and Institute of Philosophy, University of London). Participants included Ben Winters (Open University) and Carlo Cenciarelli (Royal Holloway London, University of London)

The importance of music to many film soundtracks raises various philosophical questions. How does music impact on what is represented in a film? How might film images impact on what is expressed by the music they accompany? What unifies our engagement with a film’s images and its music? Can both be understood in terms of meaning? What is the role of imagination in engagement with soundtrack? This session will highlight and consider some relationships between music and the moving image, in order to help prompt philosophical reflection on the role of music in understanding and engaging with film.

Further information about the Forum is available at their homepage.

Nordic Network for the Integration of Music Informatics, Performance and Aesthetics

NNIMIPA investigates new perspectives upon the aesthetics and the philosophy of
music suggested and facilitated by rapidly developing technologies for studying and
producing music. The researchers and performers in the network approach music from a vantage point where information technology, communication and practice-based research are the focal points. Today’s presentations provide a sampling of the work currently being done within the network.

The event featured presentations from Barry Eaglestone, Alex Ruthmann, David Hebert, Mika Sihvonen, Kristoffer Jensen (with Søren Frimodt-Møller), Cynthia Grund (with William Westney), Jenny Carter (with Samad Ahmadi) and a lecture-recital from Morten Heide.

Further information about the Nordic Network is available at their homepage.

Performance Philosophy

Session title: Music Performance as Philosophy

Chaired and introduced by Laura Cull (University of Surrey and core convener of Performance Philosophy)


Anthony Gritten (Royal Academy of Music)

Steve Tromans (jazz pianist and PhD candidate at Middlesex University)

Tom Armstrong (University of Surrey)

Co-ordinated by Performance Philosophy, this session featured a performance by Tromans and position papers from participants addressing the question of to what extent events of musical performance constitute their own form of philosophical enquiry. Does the performance of music resist conventional forms of philosophizing and if so, why? And if music does perform its own, alternative form of philosophy – what form does this philosophizing take and what can it do for our understandings, approaches to and experiences of music?

Royal Musical Association Music and Visual Arts Study Group

Session title: Music, Rhythm and the Visual Arts

The RMA Music and Visual Arts Study Group Panel explores the creative and critical discourse on rhythm and the visual arts from the early twentieth century onwards. In what ways has rhythm been embodied and re-interpreted by artists and theorists as gesture, time and space, across cultures and disciplines?

Speakers to include:

Diane Silverthorne, Birkbeck, University of London – Rhythm’s Plastic Powers and the Music of Time: from Hellerau to Tate Modern

Jochen Eisentraut, Composer, Bangor University – Rhythm and Temporality in Visual Art: Presence, Absence and Return

Pamela Kember, University of the Arts, London – Space of Flows, Timeless Time: Suki Chan’s Moving Images

Charlotte de Mille, The Courtauld Institute of Art and University of Sussex – Respondent

Further information about the Study Group is available at their homepage.

Discussion Panel

Music, Language, and Interaction

Convenor-Chair: Ruth Kempson (King’s College London)

Panelists to include:

Stergios Chatzikyriakidis (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Martin Orwin (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)

Geraint Wiggins (Queen Mary, University of London)

Reading Sessions

These small-group reading sessions allowed for discussion — with their authors — of three books of note to have appeared in the past year. An extract of each book was circulated to attendees of each session in advance; the sessions then featured a short response to the text from another speaker, a chance for the author to respond to the response, and time for general group discussion.

Rethinking Hanslick: Music, Formalism, and Expression

Ed. Nicole Grimes, Siobhán Donovan, and Wolfgang Marx (University of Rochester Press, 2013)

Convenor-Chair: Nicole Grimes

The session focussed on Anthony Pryer‘s article from the book: ‘Hanslick, Legal Processes, and Scientific Methodologies: How Not to Construct an Ontology of Music.’

Respondent: Nick Zangwill

More information on the volume can be found here.

Music and Ethics

Nanette Nielsen and Marcel Cobussen (Ashgate, 2012)

Respondent: Salome Voegelin

More information on the book can be found here.



Sovereign Feminine: Music and Gender in Eighteenth-Century Germany

Matthew Head (University of California Press, 2013)

Respondent: Elizabeth Eger

More information on the book can be found here.




Annual General Meeting

The Study Group’s Annual General Meeting took place at 2.30pm on Thursday 18 July.


Björn Heile