A Smithsonian Symposium at the National Museum of American History: Historically Informed Performance in American Higher Education

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Friday through Sunday, May 8-10, 2015
Free and open to the public, but registration is required. Also available via live webcast.

The Smithsonian Chamber Music Society of the National Museum of American History will convene a symposium on "Historically Informed Performance in American Higher Education." Organized by the Smithsonian's Kenneth Slowik, the symposium will explore several topics germane to the teaching of historically informed performance practice (HIP) to collegiate and graduate students in the United States.

Friday, May 8 (Afternoon): David Stull, President of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (http://www.sfcm.edu/president) will lead a panel discussion examining the present state of HIP teaching in America and the perils and potentials of its future.  Other panelists include:


Friday, May 8 (Afternoon): A roundtable discussion will bring together several Fourth Estate observers of the impact HIP continues to have on American concert life. Chaired by Donald Rosenberg (editor of Early Music America's EMAg, former music critic for The Plain Dealer [Cleveland], The Pittsburgh Press, and the Akron Beacon Journal, and four-term past president of the Music Critics Association of North America), the participants will include, among other music journalists:

  • Heidi Waleson of The Wall Street Journal
  • David Patrick Stearns of The Philadelphia Enquirer


Friday May 8 and Saturday May 9 (Evening Concerts): Two musical highlights of the symposium will be the Friday and Saturday evening concerts, during which over 40 undergraduate and graduate students from Yale, the Juilliard School, the Peabody Institute, Case Western Reserve University, the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, Indiana University, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music will perform a wide variety of works ranging from medieval chansons to Haydn string quartets, and including a French baroque chamber opera and an eight-piece Renaissance wind band.


Saturday, May 9 (Morning): Harvard's Thomas Forrest Kelly (http://www.music.fas.harvard.edu/faculty/tkelly.html) will lead the Saturday morning session, which will investigate the role of the historical imagination in the performance of medieval music. He will be joined by performer/scholars:


Saturday, May 9  (Afternoon): Kenneth Slowik (http://smithsonianchambermusic.org/about/directors) swings the focus to a consideration of the importance of HIP in teaching music of the later 19th and early 20th centuries. Colleagues who will participate in this discussion, which will draw heavily on the information conveyed in early recordings, are:

Assisting with a demonstration of how HIP can interact with music of Smetana will be the University of Maryland’s Excelsa Quartet (http://www.excelsaquartet.com/#home1).


Sunday, May 10 (Morning): Daniel Boomhower, Head of Reader Services at the Library of Congress, will discuss the role of his Library of Congress predecessor O. G. Sonneck in illuminating the culture of concert life in early America. A series of short papers on various HIP topics, presented by musicology students from a number of different schools, will follow.


Sunday, May 10 (Morning): There will also be roundtable discussion, moderated by Slowik, with Yale Collection of Musical Instruments curator William Purvis (http://music.yale.edu/faculty/purvis-william/), Library of Congress curator Carol Lynn Ward Bamford (http://www.shfwire.com/unique-jobs/),and clarinet performer/scholar Eric Hoeprich of Indiana University and the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague (http://info.music.indiana.edu/faculty/adjunct/hoeprich-eric.shtml). They will discuss how one might go about assembling the complement of wind instruments needed for HIP readings of Brahms or Mahler symphonies.


Sunday, May 10 (Late Morning): The symposium will end with closing remarks from Harvard University’s Kate van Orden (http://www.music.fas.harvard.edu/faculty/kvanorden.html), followed by a public discussion.

To register for the symposium please email Jane Woodall at woodallj@si.edu. For further information about the symposium please contact Kenneth Slowik at slowikk@si.edu.