Composers on stage: the resurrection of the author?

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A trend on the scene of contemporary music is composers going on stage, performing their pieces themselves. Within a discourse of popular music, this is more the rule than exception, but when it comes to the context of contemporary scored music, the historical and aesthetic context differs, and something quite different is undergoing.

This paper intends to discuss three examples of performances in which the composer’s appearance on stage was an important part of the piece, - both when it came to the role as a performer and as an individual person – as representer and presenter. The paper intends to rise the following questions: What happens to the status of the author, when he suddenly (re-)appears on stage? How is this appearance to be understood in both a contemporary and historical context: Is it the musical virtuous appearing again, are we witnessing musical works turning into autobiographical performance art, or is this a result of the so-called X-Factor generation’s appearance in fine arts?

These questions will be unfolded within a theoretical context of performativity addressing central issues such as: Presence, subversion, relationality and presentation/representation (e.g. Jalving 2011 and Fischer-Lichte 2008)
Hereby, the role of the composer appearing on stage is discussed from an aesthetic point of view; meanwhile social and political aspects of the phenomenon are also addressed.

The three artistic works discussed are Simon Steen-Andersen’s Run Time Error (2009-), Niels Rønsholdt’s Documentary Concert (2013) and Johannes Kreidler Fremdarbeit (2009).
Original languageEnglish
Publication date10 Mar 2014
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Festival for Artistic Innovation: Innovation in Classical and Contemporary Music 2014 - Leeds College of Music, Leeds, Denmark
Duration: 10 Mar 201414 Mar 2014


ConferenceInternational Festival for Artistic Innovation
LocationLeeds College of Music
Internet address

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