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Thinking Spaces with Susan McClary and Robert Walser

Please join us for the next meeting of the Thinking Spaces Reading Group on March 8, 2013. Please note the changed location for this week: we will convene at MCKN 203 on the University of Guelph Campus, NOT at the public library on Norfolk. Our guest speakers will be the eminent musicologists Susan McClary and Robert Walser. This event is part of the Seventh Annual Creative Music Symposium, hosted by the School of Fine Arts and Music. Please find attached the SOFAM flyer for the event.

Susan McClary (Professor of Music and Associate Vice-Provost of the International Institute, UCLA; Ph.D. Harvard, 1976) teaches music analysis, history, and early-music performance. Her research focuses on the cultural criticism of music, both the European canon and contemporary popular genres. In contrast with an aesthetic tradition that treats music as ineffable and transcendent, her work engages with the signifying dimensions of musical procedures and deals with this elusive medium as a set of social practices. She is best known for her book Feminine Endings: Music, Gender, and Sexuality (1991), which examines cultural constructions of gender, sexuality, and the body in various musical repertories, ranging from early seventeenth-century opera to the songs of Madonna. McClary is also author of Conventional Wisdom: The Content of Musical Form (2000), Georges Bizet: Carmen (Cambridge University Press, 1992; Italian edition. 2007), and coeditor with Richard Leppert of Music and Society: The Politics of Composition, Performance and Reception (1987). In her more recent publications, she explores the many ways in which subjectivities have been construed in music from the sixteenth-century onward. Modal Subjectivities: Renaissance Self-Fashioning in the Italian Madrigal (2004) won the Otto Kinkeldey Prize from the American Musicological Society in 2005, and she is now finishing Desire and Pleasure in Seventeenth-Century Music. A collection of her most influential essays was commissioned from Ashgate with the title Reading Music: Selected Essays by Susan McClary.

Robert Walser is a Professor of Music at UCLA. He earned doctoral degrees in both musical performance and musicology, and has since acquired certification as a Pro Tools Operator and an Apple Certified Macintosh Technician. He has published extensively on jazz and other popular musics, including his books Running with the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music, and Keeping Time: Readings in Jazz History. His writings have been translated into German, Spanish, Japanese, and Hungarian, and he is currently working on projects concerning contemporary music production technology and the implications for humanists of recent research in neuroscience. Professor Walser has received NEH and ACLS fellowships and has twice won the Irving Lowe Award for Distinguished Scholarship in American Music.

Professor McClary and Professor Walser will be discussing their respective keynote presentations, "Riffs n' Doo-Dads: The Politics of Baroque Ornamentation" (Wednesday March 6, 5:30pm, ALEX 200) and "Why Are There So Many Songs?" (Thursday March 7, 5:30pm, ALEX 200). You might also read "Straining Belief," Chapter 6 from Dr. McClary's recent book, Desire and Pleasure in Seventeenth Century Music (University of California Press, 2012). Copies of the chapter are available at the ICASP office.

As always, please spread the word to your peers, students, fellow artists and friends.

The Thinking Spaces series will continue with meetings on March 25 (Graduate Student Colloquium - Brian Lefresne, Greg Fenton, Ian Sinclair), April 5 (Tanya Williams), and April 12 (Matt Brubeck).

So one of the things that improvisation has come to mean in the context of highly technological performance is that improvisation is the last claim to the legitimate presence of a human in the performance of music.

– Bob Ostertag