Call for Papers: Shakespeare and Music: New Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Book open at page with heading King Lear

10–11 December 2020, Universities of Manchester and Huddersfield

Deadline for proposals: 15 September 2020.

‘When were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah?’ (King Lear, I/4)

We are delighted to announce the inaugural conference of the ‘Shakespeare and Music’ Study Group, on Thursday 10 December 2020 at the University of Manchester and Friday 11 December at the University of Huddersfield.

The ‘Shakespeare and Music’ group was founded in affiliation with the Royal Musical Association to provide a distinct forum for researchers and practitioners across disciplines and cultures. In line with the mission of the group, the conference aims to promote and foster research, collaboration and exchange of ideas in two complementary aspects: music in Shakespeare’s time, including various aspects of music in Shakespeare’s works; and music inspired by Shakespeare’s works, whether composed to Shakespearean themes or directly for Shakespeare plays.

In lieu of a keynote address, the conference will feature a world premiere performance of John Casken’s The Shackled King, a dramatic cantata to the composer’s own libretto derived from Shakespeare’s King Lear, with Sir John Tomlinson CBE in the title role and Rozanna Madylus (mezzo-soprano) as Cordelia, Goneril, Regan and The Fool.

The performance will be repeated in Huddersfield.

The conference also strives to provide post-graduate and early career colleagues with a platform for cross-disciplinary exchanges. To this end John Casken and John Tomlinson will work with students in post-concert composition and performance workshops, running in parallel with the academic sessions of the conference.

Apart from at least one confirmed session on ‘Shakespeare, Music and Gender’, other possible threads for papers (20 minutes) and lecture-recitals (30 minutes) include but are not limited to:

  • Music imagery and imagination in Shakespeare
  • Original melodies for Shakespeare songs and their afterlives
  • Shakespeare and opera
  • Incidental music for Shakespeare productions past and present
  • Analysis and contextualising of individual Shakespeare-inspired works
  • Setting Shakespeare’s words to music
  • Shakespeare in instrumental music
  • Shakespeare and film music
  • The role of Shakespeare in the musical imagination and creative output of composers
  • Shakespeare and musical nationalism
  • Shakespeare in non-classical music (jazz, musicals, pop)
  • Performing Shakespeare’s music
  • The afterlife of Shakespeare-inspired music

Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words accompanied by a short (150-word) biographical note to Michelle Assay and David Fanning by 15 September.

Please note: we are aware of the current uncertainties and in the event that public events are still not possible in December or that delegates are unable to travel we shall make the necessary arrangements for virtual delivery and/or streaming of the conference and its associated events.

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