RMA Study Day: Memory in Post-1980s Music

Issues of memory are central to the work of many composers and musicologists from the early 1980s to the present day.

These issues can be historical, focusing on the relationship of certain music to the traditions which stand behind it; analytical, exploring the way that particular musical material might be returned to or transformed through a given work; or perceptual and philosophical, examining the way listeners’ own processes of memory might interact with their experience of music of different kinds, and the implications of these processes for questions of meaning, interpretation, and subjectivity. 

This RMA student study day, supported also by the Centre for Modern Studies at the University of York, provided a forum for researchers and postgraduate students to present their research and to explore interdisciplinary perspectives on this topic.

The study day included a keynote talk by Professor Michael Zev Gordon (University of Birmingham), and a lunchtime concert featuring acclaimed young pianist Joseph Houston performing Zev Gordon's extended solo piano work On Memory (2004) in a devised programmed which intersperses individual movements with the older musical sources upon which they draw. Other papers considered the concept of ‘mythic absence’ in musical responses to Friedrich Hölderlin’s poetry and thought (Mark Hutchinson), ruins as an image for the remembrance of symphonic traditions in Silvestrov (Samuel Wilson), film music and Holocaust memorialisation (Matt Lawson), and nostalgia and lo-fi aesthetics in millennial popular music (Adam Harper).

Featured researcher
Mark Hutchinson

Mark Hutchinson

Dr Hutchinson's research interests include analysis of 20th- and 21st-century music and the relationships between music, literature and philosophy.

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