Redefining Early Recordings as Sources for Performance Practice and History: Newsletter 1, August 2021

Dear all,

A warm welcome to the first issue of our newsletter! Some of you might have learned about our AHRC-funded research network our May conference, Early Recordings: Diversity in Practice; others might have come across it from our recent announcement about our upcoming symposium in September. However you found us, we are grateful for your support in our aim to create a space for conversation and exchange on the topic of early recordings as sources for performance practice and history.


International audience for Early recordings: Diversity in Practice 

In May, we held the conference Early recordings: Diversity in Practice – with an in-person meeting being sadly still unfeasible, we decided to distribute the sessions over three Wednesday afternoons (5th, 12th and 19th), which provided a suitable antidote to “Zoom fatigue”. We were privileged enough to host thirteen presenters coming from nine different countries, on topics ranging from theoretical and methodological considerations of mediatisation and listening to a multiplicity a case studies covering flamenco, musical theatre, Hawaiian music and the classical repertoire. You can find the programme and abstracts, as well as some of the talks, on the conference micro-site.

Fatima Volkoviskii (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) presenting her paper on early recordings of flamenco

Even though the conference was not officially part of the activities of the Redefining Early Recordings as Sources for Performance Practice and History network, it provided an opportunity to present the project and learn more about the diversity of the research on early recordings being conducted all over the world.

Introducing our Research Resources

We have also been busy updating our website, including our collection of links to research resources! One of the things that came up during our May conference was the difficulty in finding out about the increasing number of digitization projects being developed all over the world, and so we wanted to contribute to bridge that gap. If you know of any other digitized collections of early recordings, please let us know; and, similarly, if you have completed a PhD on the topic, we will be happy to link to it.

We are also interested in publishing reviews of such resources – similar in tone and scope to reviews of books that you can read in any academic journal. While such resources are of course incredibly beneficial to research into early recordings, we believe it is fundamental that they are critically appraised and contextualized, for the benefit of both the research and the sound archives community. If you would like to contribute a review of a resource, please e-mail us.

Symposium Using early recordings in practice-led research to be held in Huddersfield in September

We are pleased to announce that the first symposium (of a total of five) organized by the network will take place at the University of Huddersfield on 12th September 2021, under the title Using early recordings in practice-led research.

The presenters include Kate Bennet-Wadsworth (Guildhall School of Music), Jeroen Billiet (Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles), David Milsom (University of Huddersfield) and George Kennaway (University of Huddersfield). The afternoon of the symposium is reserved for a public work-shop on making two minute cylinders, led by Duncan Miller (Vulcan Records) and Inja Stanović (University of Huddersfield).

If you would like to attend the symposium in Huddersfield, please e-mail Inja Stanovic to book your place. A detailed programme will be published closer to the date, but we anticipate that the day will start at about 9am and finish at about 6pm.

The event will also be streamed online, on our YouTube channel and we will let you know about the details of the streaming closer to the time.

Our blog

Please remember that our webpage has a blog where we will be more than happy to publish any of your news relating to early recordings research (announcements of events, publications, concerts and recordings; calls for papers; opinion pieces, etc.). Just e-mail us to tell us about your idea.

We hope you are all having a good summer, and we’ll be delighted to meet you in person at one of our forthcoming events.

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