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StN - 2018 : Sounding the North


When Oct 27, 2017 - Oct 29, 2017
Where Aberdeen, Scotland
Submission Deadline Aug 25, 2017
Notification Due Aug 31, 2017
Categories    music   north   sound

Call For Papers

The beginning of the twentieth century coincided with the unfolding of the mature and distinctive output of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. To many this represents the beginning of the phenomenon of ‘a northern sound world’; others might regard Sibelius’ works as a further development of pre-existing northern approaches to some of the elements of music – notably texture, melody, timbre, harmony and pace. What is not in dispute is the extent to which creative musical endeavour in northern parts of the world, particularly northern Europe, has blossomed in the decades since Sibelius.

What is the nature of this blossoming? Does it relate to the pursuit of a ‘northern sound’? If so, how closely can we define this sound? Can we trace its derivation from the philosophical approaches or the languages of northern peoples? Do the distinctive qualities of light and colour in the northern landscape, stemming from extreme seasonality, have some bearing on composers’ concepts? Similarly, do the distinctive sounds – and silences – of natural places somehow find their way through the composer on to the manuscript paper or into his or her computer?

The University of Aberdeen, in collaboration with sound festival is pleased to announce a three-day gathering to explore the validity and nature of the concept of a distinctive northern musical voice. We welcome papers, workshops and presentations which seek to contribute to our understanding of the essence of a northern sound world. We welcome contributions which aim to enhance our understanding of how, if it exists, such a sound world can be defined, or which present evidence to support or reject the notion of its roots being traceable to the environments in which works of northern music were, and are being, conceived or created.

Performers already confirmed are the Bozzini Quartet, Arild Andersen, James Clapperton, Erik Mikael Karlsson, invisiblEARts, Edinburgh Quartet and Song Circus. We are hoping that the keynote speaker will be the Danish Composer Bent Sørensen and that on the Saturday and Sunday morning, Tom Service and Kate Molleson from BBC Radio 3 will facilitate discussion sessions.

If you would like to present a 20-minute session, please send a title, an abstract of 200 words in English with a short biography (50 words) to by August 25, 2017. All submissions will be reviewed by a review committee of academics and musicians. Successful presenters will be notified by end August, 2017.

There will be no charge for the event and delegates will need to make their own arrangements regarding travel, accommodation and subsistence.

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