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MusicPart of Humanities

Online Mini-Hartley Residency with Professor Björn Heile, University of Glasgow Seminar

14:00 - 16:30
12 January 2022
Online event (Microsoft Teams)

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Ben Oliver at .

Event details

The Department of Music is delighted to welcome Professor Björn Heile for an online Mini-Hartley Residency. • 2pm – 3pm Talk • 3.30pm – 4.30pm Student session

2pm – 3pm Talk
Echoes of The Rite in Latin-American Music and Literature

The Latin-American premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring in 1928 in Buenos Aires caused an immediate sensation, and in subsequent years the work was performed with some regularity across much, although by no means all, of the continent. Similarly to its reception elsewhere, the work found many imitators, but there are some peculiarities in the way it was understood by Latin-American composers. Whereas in Europe and North America The Rite’s avowed primitivism appeared mostly as a lurid but otherwise non-specific signifier of otherness, composers such as Alberto Ginastera and Heitor Villa-Lobos drew direct parallels between Stravinsky’s paganism and indianismo or indigenismo, the evocation of the continent’s pre-Columbian past and indigenous heritage. In other words, what they found in Stravinsky’s work was not a European import but an Asiatic, pre-Christian legacy, and what they seemed to construe as a result was an idea (albeit not a reality) of musical modernism as a global network that decentres Europe and the West – although this did little justice to actual indigenous people. By contrast, the Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier associated Stravinsky’s Scythians with the descendants of the Yoruba, the largest group of enslaved Africans in Cuba, dreaming of an Afro-Cuban Rite.

By analysing key examples of the reception of Stravinsky’s Rite from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Cuba, I am proposing a form of comparative musical historiography that highlights the interconnections but also asynchronicities between often distant and disparate musical cultures, and that attends to both their differences and similarities.

3.30pm – 4.30pm Student session

Discussion of Florian Scheding’s ‘Introduction: Mobility between Margin and Centre’, from Musical Journeys: Performing Migration in Twentieth-Century Music (Boydell & Brewer, 2019), 1-14.

Speaker information

Björn Heile is Professor of Music (post-1900) at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of The Music of Mauricio Kagel (2006), the editor of The Modernist Legacy: Essays on New Music (2009), (2009), co-editor (with Peter Elsdon and Jenny Doctor) of Watching Jazz: Encountering Jazz Performance on Screen (2016), co-editor (with Eva Moreda Rodríguez and Jane Stanley) of Higher Education in Music in the Twenty-First Century (2017) and co-editor (with Charles Wilson) of The Routledge Research Companion to Modernism in Music (2019). He specializes in new music, experimental music theatre and jazz, with particular interests in embodied cognition, global modernism and cosmopolitanism.  
Currently he is Principle Investigator of the research network ‘Towards a Somatic Music: Experimental Music Theatre and Theories of Embodied Cognition’ funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and is writing a book with the working title A Global History of Musical Modernism for Cambridge University Press.

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