Beyond Beethoven, 2020-1770
Cornell University, September 17-20, 2020
Cornell Center for Historical Keyboards and the Westfield Center
CPF deadline: 1 February 2020

Celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, this conference and
concert festival explores keyboard culture around the edges of, in the
shadows below, on the distant horizon from the monument that is
“Beethoven.” To what extent is Beethoven a pole of both attraction and
resistance? In a year saturated with Beethoven, how might we both think
through and beyond this single composer’s contribution?

The Cornell Center for Historical Keyboards and the Westfield Center for
Historical Keyboard Studies invite proposals for concerts,
lecture-demonstrations and talks that place Beethoven’s music in new
historical and contemporary contexts, rethinking questions of influence and
impact, production and reception in light of the current state of the
discipline. Contributions might approach the topic from angles
technological, media-theoretical, economic, global, addressing later
18th-century keyboard culture (Haydn, C.P.E. Bach and precursors),
composers and performers in Europe’s urban centers (and rural satellites)
around 1800, Beethoven’s contemporaries and students, later 19th-century
disciples of Beethoven, 20th- and 21st-century responses to and even
rejections of Beethoven, and the global dissemination and transmission of
Beethovenian sounds.

Is Beethoven a proverbial “dead duck,” with the decisive swerve within the
humanities today away from hermeneutics, authority, and the canon, towards
materiality, mediality, and the (re)distribution of cultural capital? If
not, how might Beethoven be useful in a shifting global political economy,
marked by aesthetic fatigue and the institutionally mandated critical
intervention surrounding his music? We are particularly interested in
papers exploring the construction, reconstruction, or even negation of
meaning in the Beethovenian soundscape vis-à-vis changing media
environments across the centuries and around the globe.

We especially welcome proposals from younger scholars, and some travel
funding assistance is available for current students. We encourage
performers to design concert programs that include no more than one work,
or set of works, by Beethoven, along with others that critique or shed new
light on it. Abstracts of c. 300 words, describing a 25-minute paper,
recital or lecture-demonstration, should be sent to cchk - at
by February 1, 2020


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