contemporary chamber music [performance + composition + research]

nief-norf Research Summit


June 10-11, 2016

Keynote Speaker: Douglas Kahn

Deadline for Proposals: Friday, April 1, 2016

Writing in the early 1970s, composer Gordon Mumma identified a trend in live-electronic music, which he called “Astro-Bio-Geo-Physical” applications––a process of tapping into the earth, the cosmos, or the body and attempting to make these sources audible and musical. Since then, examples extend from Pauline Oliveros’ amplification of the body in Indefinite Integral of Psi Star Psi D Tau Equals One (1969) to John Luther Adams’ ongoing installation, The Place Where You Go to Listen (2004-), which surveys real-time data in Alaska––including seismological vibrations, moon phases, daylight and darkness, movements of the aurora borealis––and translates this into a light and sound environment.

The nief-norf Research Summit: Astro-Bio-Geo-Physical Music invites proposals for 20-minute papers or 30-minute panels discussing music that engages with astrological, biological, geological, or physical sources. We welcome submissions from scholars and performers working in musicology, sound studies, the history of technology, ethnomusicology, art history, and ecomusicology. 

Potential topics might include, but are not limited to: biofeedback experiments, histories of transduction, ecomusicologies, music and landscapes, brainwave music, and relevant works by composers such as Alvin Lucier, Pauline Oliveros, David Rosenboom, Annea Lockwood, R. Murray Schafer, Gordon Mumma, Maryanne Amacher, Gérard Grisey, John Cage, Maggi Payne, John Luther Adams, and others.

Please send abstracts (300 words) as PDF attachments to by Friday, April 1, 2016. In your submission, please include your name, institutional affiliation, and any audiovisual requirements.

Douglas Kahn is an historian and theorist of the arts, music and media, with emphases on sound and energies. He is Australian Research Council Fellow at the National Institute for Experimental Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney. His books include Earth Sound Earth Signal: Energies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts (UC Press, 2013), Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts (MIT Press, 1999) and the collection Source: Music of the Avant-garde, 1966-1973 (UC Press, 2011), along with the forthcoming Ecological Energies and the collection Energies in the Arts

Read the introduction to Kahn's Earth Sound Earth Signal here on The Wire.

The nief-norf Research Summit (nnRS) is an academic series embedded in the larger 13-day nief-norf Summer Festival. As part of the festival, dozens of performers, composers, festival faculty, and participating scholars attend the Research Summit. Past summits have featured topics such as the music of John Cage (2012), Music and Technology (2013), Music and/as Process (2014), and Music as Theater (2015).

Watch video highlights from the 2014 Research Summit on Music and/as Process: