Department of Music Launches Streaming Lecture Series

Lecture Series Music Revealed
April 29, 2020

The University of Chicago Department of Music is excited to announce the launch of a streaming humanities lecture series titled Music Revealed, bringing captivating insights in music straight to your home. With multimedia presentations delivered via Facebook Live, University of Chicago Music faculty will peel back the layers on the history, theory, and anthropology of music, sharing their research and answering your questions.

Join us for the first lecture featuring Assistant Professor of Music Jennifer Iverson on Friday, May 8 at 4:30 pm CDTProfessor Martha Feldman will present on May 15, and Professor Philip V. Bohlman takes the virtual stage on May 22.

Jennifer Iverson headshot

Liminal Synths: Sonic Pre-Histories and The Search for Legitimacy

Assistant Professor Jennifer Iverson
Friday, May 8 at 4:30 pm CDT

Electronic sound pervades our 21st century experiences, but how and when did it become ubiquitous? This talk by Assistant Professor of Music Jennifer Iverson (who begins an appointment as Associate Professor on July 1) focuses on two liminal moments: the Barron studio in 1950s NYC (of Forbidden Planet fame) and Moog synthesizer pop-rock cover albums from the late 1960s. Analyzing these genre-crossing experiments, Iverson asks how instruments and sounds can express economic and political ideologies. Electronic experiments—from cult favorites to dustbin discards––either gain legitimacy, or don’t. This talk explores why.

Martha Feldman headshot

The Castrato Phantom: Masculinity and the Sacred Vernacular in Twentieth-Century Rome

Professor Martha Feldman
Friday, May 15 at 4:30 pm CDT

This talk explores what Professor Martha Feldman calls the "sacred vernacular" to puzzle out the conditions in twentieth-century Rome that mark the uncomfortable anomaly of the castrato, a man castrated for singing. The “sacred vernacular” refers to the peculiar Italian and especially Roman tendency to domesticate the sacred by means of the everyday. Among the consequences of this cultural formation is the figure of the sacred monster. The castrato is a marked instance of it, but the death of the last castrato Alessandro Moreschi, coincident with the rise of fascism, initiates a decades-long period of masculinist tropes and obliteration of the castrato’s memory. In this presentation, Feldman explores the "sacred vernacular" and memory of the castrato through the cultural works of iconic twentieth-century artists Frederico Fellini, Anton Giulio Bragaglia, Pietro Germi, and others.

Philip V. Bohlman Headshot

"Lifted Up from the Earth at the Very Moment of Death": the Border, the Wall, and the Transcendent Topography of Migration Crisis

Professor Philip V. Bohlman
Friday, May 22 at 4:30 pm CDT

Professor Philip Bohlman will participate in a livestream Q&A about his keynote address at the 2020 SMI/ICTM-IE Postgraduate Conference, hosted by the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick. Professor Bohlman's full talk can be viewed in advance of the Q&A on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ujo9I2cOE4A

Throughout history walls have been built along borders to block the paths of migrants fleeing violence and poverty, and to divert and silence the transnational circulation of music. The conflict between walls and migration has generated the shifting soundscapes of what Bohlman calls an aesthetic topography represented by the contradictory conditions of sound and silence. The music historical path he traces through his talk begins with the metaphors of walls in Irish literature and moves across medieval ballads and the materiality of ghetto walls. The forced migration of European Jews represents a leitmotif throughout the talk, from the exile that followed expulsion from Mediterranean lands in early modern Europe to the musical chronicle of flight and death in the Holocaust. Specific genres of song – ballads in oral and written tradition, corridos, ghetto music, the songs of pilgrimage, music from concentration camps – converge in the voices of a historical counterpoint providing critical new perspectives on the migration crisis of our own day.