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Symposium «Clementi and the British Musical Scene: 1780-1830» (24-26 November 2015 Lucca, Complesso Monumentale di San Micheletto)

Clementi and the British Musical Scene: 1780-1830

organized by

Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini (Lucca)

in Collaboration with

Ad Parnassum Journal

Italian National Edition of Muzio Clementi’s Works

24-26 November 2015

Lucca, Complesso Monumentale di San Micheletto




The Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini of Lucca, in collaboration with Ad Parnassum Journal and the Italian National Edition of Muzio Clementi’s Works, is pleased to invite submissions of proposals for the symposium « Clementi and the British Musical Scene: 1780-1830» , to be held in Lucca, Complesso Monumentale di San Micheletto, from Tuesday 24 until Thursday 26 November 2015.

The period from  circa  1780-1830 was once considered the ‘dark age’ of British music. The presence of non-British composers was acknowledged, as was musical activity in general, but the assumption that native British composers produced little of significance forestalled sustained research into the period. More recent scholarship, assisted by a more multivalent, less ‘composer-centric’, approach to musical history, has largely overturned this view. The series of  Nineteenth-Century British Music Studies  and other major publications have charted the rise of training institutions, the acceleration in music publishing, the development of instrument technology, and complex interactions have been traced between composers, publishers, instrument manufacturers and business entrepreneurs, all responding to the dynamics of social and economic change wrought by the industrial revolution. At the same time, the importance of geographical centres apart from London has been acknowledged; and finally, the compositional output of native British composers or European figures active in the British arena has become more accessible through recordings and scholarly editions.   

One figure central to these developments has been Muzio Clementi (1752-1832). With his multi-dimensional career as composer, teacher, instrument manufacturer, publisher and (until about 1790) performer, Clementi, based in England for much of his life, encompasses the rich and multi-facetted world of early-nineteenth-century British music; and with business ventures extending in numerous international directions and through his sustained contribution to the evolution of instrument technology, Clementi embodies the enterprise and dynamism of the Industrial Revolution itself. As a composer Clementi produced a body of solo piano and chamber compositions and various pedagogical works that culminated in the multi-volume  Gradus ad Parnassum . Particularly after 1800 he also produced a substantial number of (now largely lost) orchestral works. During the years that Clementi developed his business interests as publisher and instrument manufacturer he was also preoccupied with musical education, leading to his collaboration with figures like Giovanni Battista Viotti (1755-1824) in an initial attempt to establish an Academy of Music in London. The recent publication of Clementi’s correspondence, edited by David Rowland, has shed new light on Clementi’s ever-expanding network of contacts with almost the full range of eminent musicians on the British scene and beyond.

Stimulated by and with the aim of building on recent scholarship, this conference examines British musical life at the turn of the nineteenth century, encompassing the rise of institutions such as the Philharmonic Society and the Academy of Music; the dynamics of music publishing and instrument technology and the cross-currents of European and British compositional styles. With Clementi at the centre, the conference examines the contributions of late-eighteenth-century figures like Viotti, but also moves forward in time to encompass William Sterndale Bennett (1816-1875), whose bicentennial falls in 2016. The aim is to build on recent research into Clementi and early nineteenth-century British music more generally, stimulated by initiatives like the conference  Muzio Clementi: Cosmopolita della Musica  (Rome), and the Italian National Edition of Muzio Clementi’s Works, in motion since 2008. A mixed methodology is encouraged, and in particular, comparisons with the activities and compositional output of native British composers. Major themes are suggested below, but other topics are also welcome:


*  Contemporary British music retail and instrument manufacturing

*  The music-publishing trade in Britain and Europe

*  The rise of performing and training institutions in early-nineteenth-century Britain

*  The rise of the piano and the expanding market for pedagogical works

*  Changes in Keyboard Performance Styles

*  The piano compositions of Clementi and his British-based contemporaries

*  British symphonic music: symphonies by Clementi, Samuel Wesley, Cipriani Potter, William Sterndale Bennett and others

*  The existence of an ‘English’ concerto tradition: Jan Ladislav Dussek, Johann Baptist Cramer, William Sterndale Bennett, John Field and others

*  The revival of ‘early’ music in nineteenth-century Britain: Clementi, Samuel Wesley, William Sterndale Bennett and others

Scholarly Committee :

*  Roberto Illiano,  Lucca

*  Fulvia Morabito,  Lucca

*  David Rowland,  Milton Keynes, UK

*  Luca Lévi Sala,  Poitiers

*  Rohan H. Stewart-MacDonald,  Warwickshire, UK

Keynote Speakers :

*  Simon McVeigh (Goldsmiths College, London)

*  Leon Plantinga (Yale University, New Haven, CT)

The official languages of the conference are English and Italian. Papers selected at the conference will be published in a miscellaneous volume.

Papers are limited to twenty minutes in length, allowing time for questions and discussion. Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words and one page of biography. 

All proposals should be submitted by email no later than  ***Sunday   12 April 2015***  to < conferences@luigiboccherini.org >. With your proposal please include your name, contact details (postal address, e-mail and telephone number) and (if applicable) your affiliation.

The committee will make its final decision on the abstracts by the end of May 2015, and contributors will be informed immediately thereafter. Further information about the programme, registration, travel and accommodation will be announced after that date.


For any additional information, please contact:

Dr. Roberto Illiano


See more at: http://www.luigiboccherini.org/clementiconf.html

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