Archive for October, 2011


Posted on October 16, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Two-day International Conference


Amsterdam, 2-3 March 2012

Address: University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16, 1012 CP Amsterdam.

Music has always accompanied battle. The trumpet called soldiers to arms, drums set the pace to which soldiers marched into the battlefield. In our time, too, when battles are fought with high-tech equipment rather than swords or bare hands, soldiers expose themselves to music to let their adrenaline flow. At the same time, music is always vulnerable to censorship. Especially during times of war and oppression, some types of music are not allowed to be played or listened to. Apparently, the power of music is such that it can threaten or weaken the hold political systems have on people. However, music can also pacify by reinforcing solidarity and creating community.


Friday 2 March 2012: morning session – World war and music

09.30-10.00  Registration (Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16)

10.00-10.15  Welcome and introduction

10.15-11.15  Presentations

Anna Windisch (Alberta, Vienna) examines community singing in American movie theatres during the First World War (from the American war entry in 1917), when the illustrated song was utilized as a tool for propaganda.

Abby Anderton (Ann Arbor, Michigan) examines how the Berlin Philharmonic was subjected to the will of the American occupational government after World War II, as at the same time the orchestra struggled to shed its former associations with National Socialism.

11.15-11.45  Break

11.45-12.45  Presentations

Joseph Toltz (Sydney, Australia) will speak on the cultural activities, and function and place of everyday song in the Terezin ghetto (1941-1945). Since the 1970s when violinist Joza Karas rediscovered compositions from Terezin in the Prague Jewish Museum, a body of literature has been generated on this unique programme of cultural life.

Ulrike Petersen (Hamburg & Berkeley) looks at the limited success of the Reichstelle für Musikbearbeitungen in “Aryanizing” (classical) works of music, through Viennese cabarettist Rudolf Wey’s unfinished 1944 edition of Lehár’s Der Rastelbinder (1902). Weys’ case shows that musical theatre could be a lifeline for authors under the Nazi regime.

13.00-14.00  Lunch

14.00-14.30  Musical workshop

Friday afternoon: two parallel sessions – Contemporary issues

Parallel session (1)

14.30-15.30  Presentations

Mojca Kovačič (Slovenia) presents historical facts about the withdrawal of bells and prohibitions of bell ringing in Slovenia. She relates narratives about the consequences of such repression, highlighting a period of the communist regime, linking it to present-day forms of resistance against bell ringing.

With reference to the conflict in Kosovo, Alma Bejtullahu (Slovenia) asks how a censored music of the oppressed becomes part of the revolt, resistance and eventually a companion in a violent engagement.

15.30-15.45 Break

15.45-16.45 Presentations

Cornelia Nuxoll (Göttingen, Germany) discusses field research among former Sierra Leone rebels to explore the relevance and impact of music in their lives as soldiers during the 1990s civil war there.

Fabienne van Eck (Netherlands & Jerusalem) looks at the theme of culturally sensitive music education in conflict areas, through her own experiences as a workshop leader and trainer in the Middle East and Africa.

Parallel session (2)

14.30-15.30  Presentations

The popularity of Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng (1964-1995) transcended national barriers from Taiwan to Communist China as well as Japan, during the Cold War period. Chenching Cheng (Peking & Edinburgh) examines how the pulse of an era can be felt by focusing on its popular music. [unfortunately Mr Cheng was not granted a visa by our wonderful dutch government, so his presentation was missed]

Caroline Waight (Cornell, Ithaca) considers two different performances of German singer Nina Hagen’s song, Du hast den Farbfilm vergessen (“You forgot the colour film”). She identifies satire of the GDR’s attempts to build national identity and explores the contingency of irony in the oppressive political environment of East Germany.

15.30-15.45 Break

15.45-16.45 Presentations

Protest songs: Andrea LaRose (Erlangen, Germany) uses transcription and analysis of improvisations from recordings of Frederic Rzewski’s oeuvre to examine how the political manifests at every level of his music.

Klaus Kuiper (The Hague & Amsterdam) gives instances of music used as an instrument of torture or irritation, including at Guantanamo Bay, in several wartime situations, and curiously the playing of classical music in public spaces to chase away jobless youngsters.


16.45-17.15 Discussion

17.30-18.15 Drinks and Music

18.45-…uur Dinner

Saturday 3 March: morning session – musical censorship

09.00 – 09.30 Registration (Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16)

09.30 – 09.35 Introduction

09.35 – 10.20 Keynote speech

The keynote speech of Morag. J. Grant (Göttingen, Germany) will look at how to theorize the role of music and musicality in war, offering a possible framework for such a theory from the perspective of social musicology.

10.20 – 11.20 Presentations

Jan van Belle (Netherlands) reports on three periods of censorship of music in Afghanistan. The consequences of these periods left deep wounds in Afghan musical life, which even today are still apparent.

Miriam Brenner’s contribution (Amsterdam, Nijmegen, Utrecht) is on the evolution of Tuvan music in the (post) Soviet era. She shows how music was regulated from the heart of Moscow to the outskirts of the steppe through a culture and music mandate. Tuvan music styles and genres faced near extinction because of the harsh enforcement of the mandate

11.20 – 11.35 Break

11.35 – 12.35 Presentations

Frank van den Berg (Netherlands) compares musical censorship policies in Portugal, Spain and Greece during the reactionary dictatorships of respectively Salazar, Franco and Metaxas.

Joe Stroud (Edinburgh) considers the legislation in Germany, Great Britain and Sweden which is designed to establish a boundary between freedom of expression and hate crime, and the impact this has on bands associated with the extreme-right music scene.

12.25 – 13.00 Discussion

13.00 Lunch

14.00 Music Freedom Day at the Royal Tropical Institute. Separate registration.

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