Performing composer-performers: Ambiguous authorships in contemporary music

    Activity: Talk or presentationLecture and oral contribution


    The lecture concerns a recent phenomenon on the stages of contemporary music: composers performing their own pieces, not as professional musicians but acting in other ways. Such composers are often not only performing on stage, but are also active in the process of creating and co-creating the performance, the auditory dimensions and the visual design and theatrical staging. British composer-performer Jennifer Walshe has recently given the practice the overall name: The New Discipline (Walshe, 2016). When composers choose to present and perform under such circumstances, and to do so within the institution of contemporary music, complex performance situations arise.

    Drawing on performances of various Northern European composers the lecture explores and discusses such situations and working processes. In my presentation, I will grasp the complexities by analyzing my examples through various dichotomies: presentation versus representation, presence versus absence, professionalism versus amateurism, hierarchal authorship versus democratic collaboration, high tech versus low tech, Verfremdung versus performative aesthetics, and historical versus contemporary awareness.

    My reflections are developed within a theoretical framework combining musicology and performance studies.

    The lecture was given to music students at the Iceland Academy of Arts.
    Period29 Sept 2016
    Event titleNordic Music Days: Reykjavik
    Event typeOther
    LocationReykjavik, IcelandShow on map