British music invades York next week

It’s the British invasion. Scholars and lovers of British music from around the world will be at York, July 31 to Aug. 3, for the North American British Music Studies Association’s (NABMSA) third biennial conference to discuss, examine and listen to music from Britain.

The conference will look at all time periods of music and musical life, from any geographical region of Britain, as well as all uses of British music outside of the country. The focus will be on examining music in an interdisciplinary or cultural context.

Northwestern University musicology Professor Linda Phyllis Austern (left), a specialist in renaissance and baroque musical-cultural relations, gender and feminist theory, and music as it relates to visual art and the early history of science, will give the keynote address on the first day of the NABMSA conference. A panel discussion on gender, politics and allegory in the Stuart-Era Masque will follow.

Austern is the author of Music in English Children’s Drama of the Later Renaissance (Gordon and Breach, 1992) and is the editor of the forthcoming, Music in English Life and Thought 1550-1650. She is also the editor of Music, Sensation and Sensuality (Routledge, 2002) and co-editor of Music of the Sirens (Indiana University Press, 2006).

In the morning of day two of the conference several papers will be delivered on a variety of topics, including “And Music at the Close: William Walton”, “Mendelssohn in Albion” and “Nostalgia and Empire in British Pop”, followed by a lecture and recital by Sandra Mangsen of the University of Western Ontario, titiled “The Lady’’s Entertainment and Babell’s Delight: Arias for the Keyboard 1708-1717”. A lunch sponsored by York’s Faculty of Fine Arts will round out the first half of the day.

The topics in the afternoon will include “Victorian Voices”, “Critical Junctures: British Composers in the Mid-Twentieth Century”, “Irrational Entertainments I: Georgian Britain”, “Pleasures and Perversities in Victorian Britain”, “Sweetest of Sweets, I Thank You: Church Music” and “Irrational Entertainments II: Georgian Britain”.

On day three, everything from “British Opera at the Fin-de-siècle”, “Art is like a Theophany: The Music of Ralph Vaughan Williams”, “McLuhan was Right: the Medium is the Message” and “The Roaring ‘20s” to “In Honour of Nicholas Temperley: Musical More in Victorian Britain”, “New Music, Living Voices”, “Intimate Identities” and “Ghosts and Parables in Britten’s Music” will be up for discussion.

The conference will wind up on Sunday with an English country dance session and workshop with caller Karen Millyard of the Toronto English Country Dancers along with live music by Playford’s Pleasure. Student papers, which are eligible for the second biennial Temperley prize for the best student paper presented at the NABMSA conference, are welcome.

NABMSA promotes the study of British music in North America, provides a collegial and supportive forum for discussion through electronic or other means and a clearinghouse of information on the study of British music.

For more information, visit the NABMSA Web site.