Report: RMA/KNVM International Research Symposium in Musicology, 29 June 2019, Amsterdam

On Saturday 29th June 2019 the first RMA/KNVM International Research Symposium in Musicology took place at the University of Amsterdam. The KVNM (Royal Society for Dutch Music History) and the RMA are the oldest musical associations in the world and this symposium established a connection which will hopefully be nurtured for years to come. The programme featured a broad range of inspiring and eclectic papers by students at varying stages of postgraduate education studying in The Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom. The event was organised in order to encourage national and international collaborations and students were given the opportunity to present their research in a friendly and professional environment. Those presenting were offered alternative perspectives on their research and asked thought-provoking questions by their peers. Panel topics included music theory cultures, bodies and identities, programming ideology, shaping performance and shaping listening.

Diversity was a recurring theme in many of the papers, sparking lively debates between participants on how to deal with important problems of gender discrimination and racism in the world of musicology as well as within musical institutions such as opera houses, theatres and orchestras. This theme was noted by the conference committee, who chaired a lengthier discussion about these issues as a plenary for the day.

It would certainly be beneficial to make this an annual event, in order to encourage international networking between young musicologists, and grant opportunities to share ideas across musicological disciplines. A successful and insightful first conference resulted in stimulated minds and newly formed friendships.  

Sophie Mahar, Liverpool Hope University

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