Lecture: Alec Hall
Alec Hall: Music after Repetition: Acoustics of the 21st Century
In 2010, Susan Philipsz, an artist best known for her sound installations, won the Turner Prize, Britain's most prestigious prize for contemporary (visual) art. In 2013, the Museum of Modern Art exhibited "Soundings: A Contemporary Score". In the second decade of the new millennium, one could say that sound is finally enjoying its moment in the spotlight. What does it mean, however, when we talk about sound today in artistic contexts beyond its traditional location within music? Since many aspects of the new sonic art are driven by elements of source recognition, how does that effect the creation of new concert music, an art that is rooted almost entirely in abstraction? Offering both a historical analysis of twentieth century avant-garde practices relating to representation in music, and a prescriptive model for contemporary methods of composition, this presentation addresses the current difficulties of taxonomy in classical music. By clarifying the ontological divide between what musicologist Michael Rebhahn calls "Contemporary Classical" music and "New Music", I argue that the central problem facing composition today is the fetishization of materials, ultimately derived from music's refusal to allow the question of representation to be addressed.