Intercultural Engagements in Music Composition and Performance

Learning Objective
To foster knowledge of past and present engagements with cultural difference in the field of music, as well as to enable participants to critically reflect on the challenges and concerns involved in any such engagement.

Course Description
Today, ever more creative professionals are interested in engaging with cultural traditions that they – at least initially – consider as different from their own. In this course, we will analyze such engagements within the field of music in the broadest sense, including the discipline/tradition that students are majoring in: early music, Classical-Romantic music, contemporary music, jazz, pop, electronic music, ballet, opera, musical, film music, etc. Of the case studies that we will explore, we will first consider the history, aesthetics, music-theoretical and performative characteristics of the music traditions involved, and subsequently analyze and critically assess the ways in which these traditions interact in the work or performance under discussion. In previous editions of this course the cases of Félicien David, Camille Saint-Saëns, Claude Debussy, Béla Bartók, Leoš Janáček, George Enescu, Ahmed Adnan Saygun, Aziz El-Shawan, Olivier Messiaen, Ton de Leeuw, Henry Cowell, Luciano Berio, Chou Wen-chung, Tōru Takemitsu, Haruomi Hosono, and the Beatles have been discussed, as well as more recent intercultural projects such as the Boston-based Silk Road Ensemble and the Amsterdam-based Atlas Ensemble. 

Course Details

teacher Harm Langenkamp
term September 2022-April 2023
method of instruction Weekly seminar sessions and individual coaching. Activities in class will include critical listening/viewing, score analysis, discussion of (artistic) research on interculturality, and the sharing of each other’s perspectives and expertise.
readings Materials for study will be made available at the start of the course.
assessment Apart from reading/listening assignments and their contributions to class discussions, participants are asked to conduct a research project on a topic of their choice, in a format that most appeals to them and/or benefits their professional training. This can be the traditional essay (for musicologists), but could also be a brief composition with a verbal explanation of the underlying concept (for composers), a performance of a solo or chamber work with reflection (for performers), rehearsal notes for an orchestral work (for conductors), a lesson plan (for educators), a soundtrack to visuals (for composers of film music), etc.
credits 10
related electivesAdvanced Rhythm (for composers)
  Creative Performance Lab
  Music for an Inclusive Society