Both popular and professional discourse around classical music is highly composer-centric. In the world of performing musicians, mainstream classical music is the only genre focused on the presumed intentions of dead but ultimately authoritative creators. This puts performers in the unusual situation of needing both to subordinate themselves to the demands of the music and to present themselves as "owning," or "personalizing" the music. Although many performers orient themselves more consciously towards the work than towards the composer in developing an interpretation, the figure of the composer is never completely absent from consideration, and performers conceptualize this figure in a variety of ways that allow them to negotiate the tension between letting the music speak "for itself" and communicating their own musical personalities. This talk describes some of these conceptualizations and their functions.
Mary Hunter is A. Leroy Greason Professor of Music at Bowdoin College. She is the author of The Culture of Opera Buffa in Mozart's Vienna (Princeton University Press 1999) and Mozart's Operas: A Companion (Yale University Press, 2008), as well as articles about eighteenth-century opera, Mozart, Haydn, and performance theory. She is currently at work on a project about the rhetoric of performance in classical music culture.
Reception to follow
Sponsored by the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere with support from the Yavitz Fund; Co-Sponsored by the School of Music.
Center for the Humanities
and the Public Sphere
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
200 Walker Hall
P.O. Box 118030
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611