Friday, March 19, 2010

Pseudo-live-blogging Society for American Music 2010 (Ottawa)

One of the great joys of these conferences is the opportunity to see friends and colleagues. Dinner last night with Phil , and sitting on a panel (of sorts) yesterday with Drew, made me realize I very much miss blogging. So, in an attempt to re-energize my own blogging endeavors, I'm going to offer a few summaries of various happenings here at SAM in BEAUTIFUL Ottawa.

Like Drew, I'd like to chat with the participants in the other "seminar" format session: "Nineteenth-Century American Music Studies." Our seminar session, "The Art of Association" was an interesting experiment with lots of room for improvement, but also a lot of future potential. Drew has summarized the logistics and the participants over at amusicology, so I won't repeat here, but it was a pleasure to be a guinea pig as SAM looks toward shaking things up a bit in the conference world. ;-)

Day 2 (Today) has been exciting, having heard two great papers thus far:
  • Maureen DeMaio (UC Santa Barbara), "The Decline of Anti-Semitic Antimodernism: Daniel Gregory Mason and American Responses to Nazism in the 1930s
  • Elissa Harbert (Northwestern), "Italian Musicians in the Early United States, 1780-1830"
Maureen is ABD at my graduate alma mater and presented a recasting of Mason as affected by both the rise of Nazism in Europe and his friend Ossip Gabrilovich/witsch. In 1938, he reflects on his "ill-considered" words in earlier articles and works, assuming some responsibility for Gabrilovich's "deep-seated and almost voiceless" despair.

Elissa's work with Italian immigrant musicians, including Lorenzo da Ponte, was absolutely fascinating and tied in nicely with some of the issues explored yesterday during the "Art of Association" seminar. The genres with which musicians were involved (opera/oratorio vs. band/dance music) seems to have had some impact on the success of these musicians in the U.S.

I also enjoyed a poster session by Trudi Wright (University of Colorado, Boulder) on the evolution of Pins and Needles from a late Depression production of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union to a Broadway hit.

On tap (intended, anyway) for the rest of today:
  • Cold War Anxieties session, with papers by Phil Gentry, Jennifer Delapp-Birkett, Keith Hatschek, and Leanne Wood, chaired by Howard Pollack.
  • A tour of the Canadian Museum of Civilization (SAM has this lovely tradition of an afternoon "off" to take in the sights)
  • Concert and Presentation of Honorary Membership to composer R. Murray Schafer
  • AND, last, but not least, Drew and Phil's no-host blogger reception at the Armada Lounge (careful piano music set to auto-play on website) starting at 9pm.

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Mostly Musicology, Teaching, and a bit of Miscellanea