Sunday, 5 April 2009

RMA Study Day: Music and Modernism (Courtauld Institute)

15 - 16 MAY 2009
14.45 - 18.30, Friday 15 May (with registration from 14.15)
10.00 - 18.00, Saturday 16 May (with registration from 09.30)

Exploring Kandinsky's contention that the 'various arts are drawing together [...] finding in music the best teacher,' Music and Modernism will re-evaluate the significant connections between the disciplines of music and fine art in the period covering the emergence and flowering of Modernism, c. 1849 - 1950. During this time both music and fine art were concerned with issues of equality, equivalence, relativity and subjectivity - themes that have since been taken as key to the definition of Modernism. Composers and artists repeatedly borrowed from one another, yet their motives have seldom been explored. Did such quotation amount to a conscious statement of their modernity, or was this merely a symptom of shared interests? This study day will question not only what it was music gave to fine art, or fine art music, but will ask whether we can in fact think in terms of two opposing directions of influence in this period at all.

To book a place: £25 (£15 students, Courtauld staff and RMA members) Please send a cheque made payable to 'Courtauld Institute of Art' to: Research Forum Events Co-ordinator, Courtauld Institute of Art Research Forum, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN, clearly stating that you wish to book for the 'Music and Modernism study day'. For credit card bookings call 020 7848 2785/2909. For further information, send an e-mail to .


Friday, 15 May
14.15 - 14.45 - Registration

14.45 - 15.00 - Welcome

15.00 - 17.00 - SESSION 1 - Towards New Truth? German Aesthetics and the Claims of Gesamtkunstwerk

Robert Williams Music and Kunstwissenschaft, University of California, Santa Barbara

Diane Silverthorne (Birkbeck College and the Royal College of Art, London), Music, Modernism and the Vienna Secession: Musical Form in Ver Sacrum (1898-1903)

Petritakis Spyridon (University of Crete), Arnold Böcklin and Music: a Case Revisited

Isabel Wünsche (Jacobs University, Bremen), Seeing Sound - Hearing Colour: Synesthetic Considerations in the Russian Avant-garde

17.00 - 17.30 - TEA/COFFEE BREAK

17.30 - 18.30 - KEYNOTE: Professor Peter Vergo (University of Essex). How to Paint a Fugue (and why should anyone want to)?

18.30 - 19.30 - RECEPTION

Saturday, 16 May

09.30 - 10.00 - Registration

10.00 - 11.30 - SESSION 2: Correspondences: Musical-Visual Language in Late Nineteenth Century France

James Rubin (State University of New York), Courbet, Wagner and the Total Work of Art

Michelle Foa (Tulane University), The State of the Arts in Zola's L'Oeuvre

Corrinne Chong (University of Edinburgh), The Transposition of the Vague: Theme and Variations by Fantin-Latour

11.30 - 12.00 - COFFEE/TEA BREAK

12.00 - 13.00 - SESSION 3: Spiritual Harmony? Modernism and the Anglican Church

Ayla Lepine (Courtauld Institute of Art), Sacred Performance: G. F. Bodley's Design for All Saints, Jesus Lane, Cambridge

Douglas Stevens (University of Bristol), The Status and Reception of Musical Modernism in the Commissions of the Mid Twentieth Century Anglican Church

13.00 - 14.00 - BREAK FOR LUNCH

14.00 - 16.00 - SESSION 4: Music and Modern Life

James Mansell (University of Manchester), Music as a Religion of the Future: Ricciotto Canudo, the Musicalists and the Politics of Modernity

Michael Berkowitz (University College, London), Mannes, Godowsky, and Modernism(s): from Music to Photography and Film

Malcolm Cook (Birkbeck Collge, London), Visual Music in Film, 1921-1924: Richter, Eggeling, Ruttman

Jody Patterson (Smithsonian American Art Museum), 'It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing': Stuart Davis and the Fine Art of Jazz

16.00 - 16.30 - TEA/COFFEE BREAK

SESSION 5: Framing the Modern: Retrospect?

Melissa Warak (University of Texas at Austin), Zen and the Art of La Monte Young

Olga Touloumi (Harvard University), The UPIC: Towards the Synaesthetic Promise

17.30 -18.30 - Plenary Discussion: to include John Deathridge and Simon Shaw-Miller

18.30 - CLOSE

Organised by Charlotte de Mille

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