Dislocations: Reassessing Ligeti’s Many Worlds in the 21st Century
A Symposium at the University of Chicago, March 6-8, 2018
The Hungarian expatriate and avant-gardist György Ligeti is one of the most performed, most recognized, and most influential composers of the postwar generation. His oeuvre is at once inimitable, paradoxical, and broad. He was one of twentieth-century music’s great wanderers: a Jewish refugee from Hungary, an Austrian citizen from the late 1960s, speaking multiple languages, living and teaching in multiple cities, drawing upon a great, even improbable variety of Western and non-Western musical cultures. In other words, Ligeti was serially dislocated: a cosmopolitan, an exile, a belonger to many worlds. This symposium seeks to bring together several audiences to think together about dislocation, (post)modernity, music in exile, appropriation, and Ligeti’s beguilingly paradoxical aesthetics. The symposium follows on the heels of Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s performance of several of Ligeti’s piano etudes and Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata on Tuesday March 6 and includes performances by the New Budapest Orpheum Society and Doyle Armbrust (of Spektral Quartet).
Dislocations is organized by four members of the University of Chicago’s music faculty: Seth Brodsky, Anthony Cheung, Jennifer Iverson, and Sam Pluta.
Schedule of Events
Sound Installation, Ligeti in Context: The Witch’s Kitchen at the WDR Electronic Studio
March 5–8, Logan Stairwell
Die Hexenküche (The Witch’s Kitchen) was the colloquial nickname for the electronic music studio at the WDR radio station in Cologne, called as such by conservative critics and skeptical audiences who questioned its aesthetic relevance. For composers such as Ligeti, however, the WDR studio was a utopia for creating truly avant-garde music. This installation reimagines the compelling and strange electronic sounds of the studio. Come immerse yourself in the soundscape of mid-century modernism.
Seminar and Concert
Monday, March 5, 4:30 – 6pm, Logan Penthouse
Tuesday, March 6, 7:30 pm, Logan Performance Hall
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, the leading interpreter of Ligeti’s piano music, discusses the composer in a lecture-demonstration as part of the University of Chicago Composition Seminar. The following evening, he presents a recital of the Etudes and Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata.
Conference (Day One), Wednesday, March 7
Morning Panel: "Technocratic Modernism and the Aesthetics of Failure"
9:30am – 12:00pm, Fulton Hall at Goodspeed Hall (1010 E. 59th St., 4th floor)
9:30 – 10:00am, Jennifer Iverson (University of Chicago) and Samuel Pluta (University of Chicago)
“Electro-acoustic Translations and the Aesthetics of Failure”
10:00 – 10:30am, Naomi Woo (University of Cambridge)
“The Practice of Failure in Ligeti’s Touches Bloquées”
10:45 – 11:15am, Joseph Cadagin (Stanford University)
“Piecing Together Ligeti’s Unfinished Alice in Wonderland”
11:15 – 11:45am, Joshua Banks Mailman (Columbia University)
“The Legacy of Ligeti's Unsung Innovation: Textural Incline of Pitch (TIP)”
12:00 – 1:30pm, Lunch in Fulton lobby
Demo Lectures: "Theorizing Playing, Self and Other"
1:30 – 3:00pm, Fulton Hall
1:30 – 2:00pm, Victoria Tzotzkova (MIT) and Steven Beck (New York, NY)
“Theorizing First-Hand Experience across Two Pianos: An Auto-Ethnography of Preparing Gyorgy Ligeti's Three Pices for Two Pianos”
2:00 – 3:00pm, Seth Brodsky (University of Chicago) with Doyle Armbrust (Spektral Quartet)
“On the Viola Sonata (1991-94)”
3:00p – 3:30pm, Afternoon coffee break in Fulton lobby
3:30 – 5:00pm, Fulton Hall
Amy Bauer (UC Irvine)
Read my Désordre! Ligeti Against the Historicists
8:00 – 10:00pm, Logan Penthouse 901
New Budapest Orpheum Society Ensemble
Transylvania Transit – A Musical Journey through Modernism's Mirror
Artistic Director, Philip V. Bohlman (University of Chicago)
The New Budapest Orpheum Society, the Jewish cabaret and ensemble-in-residence for the Humanities Division, journeys to the Transylvanian world in which György Ligeti grew up and which he explored in his early career as a Romanian ethnomusicologist of Hungarian-Jewish heritage. In the course of the evening the ensemble will travel through the shtetls to the urban ghettos of the Carpathians, searching out the confluence of post-Shoah Polish cabaret with Hebrew songs in the new settlements of modern Israel. Passing through modernism's mirror, as did Ligeti in his early years, listeners will experience twentieth-century music in new and unexpected ways.
Conference (Day Two), Thursday, March 8
Morning Panel: "Composing Multiplicity: Cycles, Distortion, and Dissonance in the Late Piano Works"
9:30am – 12:00pm, Fulton Hall
9:30 – 10:00am, Clifton Callender (Florida State Uuniversity)
“Between the Hands: Interharmony and Combinatorial Tonality in the Études and Beyond”
10:00 – 10:30am, Maxwell Silva (University of Chicago)
“Uncanny Disintegration, Playful Flux: Hearing Attenuated Tonality in Ligeti's Fanfares”
10:45 – 11:15am, Sara Bakker (Utah State University)
"What Makes a Study? Perspectives from Ligeti and Nancarrow”
11:15 – 11:45am, Imri Talgam (The Graduate Center at CUNY)
“A Perception-Based Strategy for the Performance of Rhythmic Dissonance in Ligeti's Polymetric Études”
12:00 – 1:30pm, Lunch in Fulton lobby
Afternoon Panel: "From Transylvania to the Global Stage: Research, Teaching, and Tempering"
2:00 – 4:30pm, Classics 110
2:00 – 2:30pm, Bianca Țiplea Temeș (Gh. Dima Music Academy Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
“Haunting Soundscapes of Transylvania: Ligeti’s Research Stay at the Folklore Institute in Bucharest”
2:30 – 3:00pm, Anthony Cheung (University of Chicago)
“Undercurrents and Overtones: Strangeness, Denaturing, and the Microtonal Conspiracies of Ligeti and His Students”
3:30 – 4:00pm, Noah Kahrs (Eastman School of Music)
“Imperfect Representations of Non-Tempered Intonation in Ligeti's Late Piano Writing”
4:00 – 4:30pm, Benjamin Levy (University of California Santa Barbara)
“Sound Worlds Colliding: Microtone and Macropolitics in the Music of Ligeti and Vivier”
Evening Film Screening
7:30 – 10:30pm, Logan Screening Room 201
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, dir. Stanley Kubrick, 2 h 29 min)
Introduction: Berthold Hoeckner (University of Chicago)
The Dislocations symposium is generously supported by the Franke Institute for the Humanities, the University of Chicago Arts Council, the Logan Center, the Division of the Humanities, the Joyce Z. and Jacob Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies, and the Department of Music.
4th floor of Goodspeed Hall (Department of Music)
1010 E 59th St. 60637 = corner of 59th and Ellis, enter inside the Quad
Incl. Performance Hall on 1st floor, Screening Room 201, and Penthouse 901
915 E 60th St. 60637
Adjacent to Goodspeed Hall—you don’t even have to walk outside
1010 E 59th St. 60637
5225 S. Harper Ave 60615 (shuttle to/from University is provided, ask at the front desk)