Conference 2015: Keynote Speakers, Respondents & Plenary Panelists

Keynote speakers

Professor Christopher Peacocke (Columbia University)

Christopher Peacocke taught philosophy at Oxford for many years, for twelve of them as Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy, before moving to New York in 2000. He was previously a Prize Fellow at All Souls College (1975-9), a Fellow of New College, Oxford (1979-85), and the Susan Stebbing Professor of Philosophy at Kings College London (1985-88). He is currently the Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, and Chair of the Philosophy Department. He has written on perception, representation, thought, concepts, and rationality. His books include Sense and Content (1983), A Study of Concepts (1992), Being Known (1999), The Realm of Reason (2004), Truly Understood (2008), and The Mirror of the World: Subjects, Consciousness, and Self-Consciousness (2014). Like many philosophers of perception, he thinks on weekends about the issues involved in the perception and understanding of music, one of the hardest topics in the philosophy of perception. The weekend thought eventually graduated to weekday activity, and he has written several papers on the perception of music – and hopes to do more.


Professor Kay Kaufman Shelemay (Harvard University)

Kay Kaufman Shelemay is the G. Gordon Watts Professor of Music and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. An ethnomusicologist who regularly crosses cultural and disciplinary boundaries, among her recent publications are Pain and its Transformations.The Interface of Biology and Culture (2007, with Sarah Coakley); Creating the Ethiopian Diaspora, a special double, interdisciplinary volume of the journal Diaspora (2011, with Steven Kaplan), and the textbook Soundscapes. Exploring Music in a Changing World (3rd ed., 2015). A past-president of the Society for Ethnomusicology, Shelemay’s article, “The Power of Silent Voices: Women in the Syrian Jewish Musical Tradition,” won the Society for Ethnomusicology’s 2010 Jaap Kunst Prize.  Shelemay was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2000), the American Academy for Jewish Research (2004), the American Philosophical Society (2013), and the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (2014). She has been awarded numerous fellowships, including from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies. Chair of Modern Culture at the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress during 2007-2008, she was named the national Phi Beta Kappa/Frank M. Updike Memorial Scholar for 2010-2011. Shelemay is currently writing a book about musicians from the African Horn in global motion.


To keynote paper by Christopher Peacocke:

Professor Nicholas Cook (University of Cambridge)

Nicholas Cook is 1684 Professor of Music at the University of Cambridge. He was formerly Professorial Research Fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London, where he directed the AHRC Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music (CHARM), and before that taught at the universities of Hong Kong, Sydney, and Southampton, where he also served as Dean of Arts. He works across many areas of music studies, and his books include A Guide to Musical Analysis (1987), Music, Imagination, and Culture (1990),Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 (1993), Analysis Through Composition (1996), Analysing Musical Multimedia (1998), and Music: A Very Short Introduction (1998), which is published or forthcoming in fifteen languages. The Schenker Project: Culture, Race, and Music Theory in Fin-de-siècle Vienna won the SMT’s 2010 Wallace Berry Award. Recent publications include a collection of essays coedited with the dramaturgue Richard Pettengill, which brings together approaches from musicology and interdisciplinary performance studies, and a monograph, Beyond the Score: Music as Performance (2013). He has recently completed a study of recordings of Webern’s Piano Variations Op. 27, carried out with the support of an AHRC Fellowship. His current project, for which he was awarded a British Academy Wolfson Professorship, is entitled “Music encounters: studies in relational musicology”: it combines the perspectives of social and intercultural musicology. A former editor of Journal of the Royal Musical Association and recipient of honorary doctorates from the University of Chicago and Gheorghe Dima Music Academy, Cook is a Fellow of the British Academy and of Academia Europaea.

To keynote paper by Kay Kaufman Shelemay:

Professor Stephen Mumford (University of Nottingham)

Stephen Mumford is Professor of Metaphysics in the Department of Philosophy and Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Nottingham, UK, as well as Professor II at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB). He is the author of Dispositions (Oxford, 1998), Russell on Metaphysics (Routledge, 2003), Laws in Nature (Routledge, 2004), David Armstrong (Acumen, 2007), Watching Sport: Aesthetics, Ethics and Emotion (Routledge, 2011), Getting Causes from Powers (Oxford, 2011 with Rani Lill Anjum), Metaphysics: a Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2012) and Causation: a Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2013, with Rani Lill Anjum). He is editor of George Molnar’s posthumous Powers: a Study in Metaphysics (Oxford, 2003) and co-editor of Metaphysics and Science (Oxford, 2013 with Matthew Tugby). His PhD was from the University of Leeds in 1994 and he has been at Nottingham since 1995 having served as Head of the Department of Philosophy and Head of the School of Humanities.

Plenary panelists

Professor Mark Evan Bonds (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Mark Evan Bonds is the Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he has taught since 1992. He holds degrees from Duke University (B.A.), Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel (M.A.) and Harvard University (Ph.D.) His books include Wordless Rhetoric: Musical Form and the Metaphor of the Oration (1991), After Beethoven: Imperatives of Originality in the Symphony (1996), Music as Thought: Listening to the Symphony in the Age of Beethoven (2006), and Absolute Music: The History of an Idea (2014). He has served as editor-in-chief of Beethoven Forum and has published widely on music and musical aesthetics from the eighteenth through twentieth centuries. His current project is Music as Autobiography, a monograph that will examine the rise, fall, and lingering persistence of the idea of music as an expression of the composer’s innermost self, from the Enlightenment to the present.


Professor Hannah Ginsborg (University of California, Berkeley)

Hannah Ginsborg is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. She received a B.A. in Philosophy and Modern Languages (French) from the University of Oxford, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Harvard University.  She is the author of The Normativity of Nature: Essays on Kant’s Critique of Judgement (Oxford University Press, 2015), which argues for the centrality of Kant’s aesthetics and philosophy of biology to the understanding of human thought and cognition.  Her other publications include articles on Kant’s theory of knowledge in the Critique of Pure Reason, as well as on contemporary issues such as rule-following skepticism, the normativity of meaning, the content of perception, and the relation between perception and belief.  She also has an active interest in aesthetics, especially the philosophy of music.


Professor Tamara Levitz (University of California, Los Angeles)

Tamara Levitz is Professor of Musicology at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she has taught since 2002. She holds degrees from McGill University (B.Mus), the Technische Universität Berlin (M.A. in Musicology, German literature and French literature), and the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester (Ph.D.). She has lectured and published widely on transnational perspectives on musical modernism, including most recently book chapters on the politics of Cuban experimentalism in the late 1960s and racism at the premiere of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps. She is the author of  Modernist Mysteries: Perséphone (2012), which received the Prose Award for Excellence in the Humanities and the Otto Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society. Through her microhistorical analysis in this monograph of the premiere by Ida Rubinstein of André Gide’s and Igor Stravinsky’s melodrama Perséphone on 30 April 1934, she aimed to question and revise current beliefs about the historiography and history of musical modernism. As the scholar in residence for the Bard Festival in August 2013, she continued her work of questioning the national foundations of musical modernism by contributing to and editing the volume Stravinsky and His World. She is currently working on a new book tentatively titled “Musical Modernism and Empire,” in which she will synthesize her decade-long comparative research on modernism into a coherent theory of how early twentieth-century music functioned as a product and practice of empire.  She is on the board of the Music and Philosophy Study Group of the American Musicological Society, and remains deeply invested in all her work in questions of musical aesthetics.