In August 1922, an international cohort of composers gathered in Salzburg to establish the International Society for Contemporary Music. By 1923, Ernest Newman hailed Salzburg as a mecca for the performance of contemporary music, a city where a new epoch in music history had dawned. Today, the ISCM remains the most important society globally for the promotion of contemporary music. In 2022, it celebrates its centenary.
This conference seeks to examine the genesis and early years of the ISCM, as well as cast a glace across its long, complex history as a European and global phenomenon. It welcomes studies on specific facets of the ISCM, an institution that has been a catalyst for first performances, world premieres and international dialogue among composers from over one hundred nations. The aims, agents, and aesthetic diversity of the society, particularly during the politically turbulent early decades, continue to remain fertile grounds for new research. Indeed, the ethical questions implicit in internationalism, the artistic response to world crises, and the tensions and synergies generated by the inherent plurality of the ISCM, suggest its relevance to musical life is as tangible today as it was a century ago. To celebrate the local within the international, this conference also calls attention to the “Salzburg Idea” heralded in 1922 by its founders (Rudolph Réti and Egon Wellesz), and seeks to train a critical lens on Salzburg’s New-Music scene over the last century, elucidating the influence of prominent ISCM figures such as Paul Hindemith’s impact on local composers, Carl Orff’s establishment of an institute in his name, and Gottfried von Einem or Peter Ruzicka’s presence at the Salzburg Festival.
Papers dealing with all aspects of the ISCM’s rich history are welcome, but the programme committee especially welcomes themes dealing with:
The contexts, figures and aims of the ISCM’s establishment
The ISCM’s contribution to musical internationalism of the interwar and postwar years
The ISCM meetings in Salzburg (1922, 1923, 1924, 1952) and throughout Austria (e.g., Vienna and Graz)
Salzburg as a setting for New Music, e.g. Mozarteum (both the Stiftung and Conservatory), Salzburg Festival, International Summer Academy, Zeitfluss Festival, etc.
Questions of gender, canonicity, and marginalisation in the ISCM’s history
KEYNOTES: Markus Hinterhäuser, Barbara Kelly, Ruta Staneviciute
HOST: Mozarteum University Salzburg, with ISCM Austria and RMA