Welcome to the Performer’s Voice Online

The Performer’s Voice Online was launched following the highly successful 2009 symposium, The Performer’s Voice: An International Forum for Music Performance & Scholarship, convened by Dr Anne Marshman. The symposium’s original conceptual foundations, title, themes and objectives are derived from Dr Marshman’s research, particularly her musical applications of the theories of Mikhail Bakhtin. The Performer’s Voice was Yong Siew Toh Conservatory’s inaugural international performance symposium. It attracted 170 delegates from 22 countries (6 continents) and featured 65 presentations on the four themes: Towards Performance; Beyond the Score; My Instrument – My Voice; and Asian Voices. Initially populated with content derived from presentations filmed at the 2009 symposium, The Performer’s Voice Online is envisioned to be an evolving resource centre for interdisciplinary performance research. Its priority is to create a space where performers can play, speak, reflect, share, and explore.

Voices Lost & Liberated: Performer Meets Critical Theorist

The role played by some music scholarship in the inhibition of the performer’s voice during the twentieth century has been increasingly acknowledged in recent years. While much of this scholarship has been linked to the modernist aesthetic that prevailed for most of the previous century, the philosophy and theory that inform this demonstrate the capacity of scholarship, specifically the cultural theory of Mikhail Bakhtin, to liberate and empower rather than mute the performer’s voice. In this presentation, Dr Anne Marshman and Marcel Luxen explore the expressive, communicative and semantic implications of ‘performing’ cultural voices in music by Mozart, Beethoven, and Stravinsky. This presentation aims to promote performers’ conscious awareness of their musical voice, elements of which might well defy notation, but which can by no means be dismissed as extrinsic to music.

Where Things Stand Now

Professor Richard Taruskin (University of California, Berkeley) delivers the keynote address of the Performers Voice Symposium 2009. Professor Taruskin discusses the current state of performance studies research.

Whose Voice Is It Anyway? Shared Authority Between Composers and Performers

Professor Paul Barker (University of London) delivers a lecture-recital with performer Frances M. Lynch, exploring the collaboration between composer and performer. Professor Barker es that “As a composer concerned with live performance, the individuality of the performer, their voice and the context in which it is presented are inimitably bound together. And my challenge is to find the balance between authoritative control and individual expression that enables a performer to breathe unique life into a composition, the performances of which might differ radically, while remaining recognisable.”

Behind the Music: The Performer as Researcher

The performer’s conscious and subconscious processes in preparation for a concert or recital and their parallels with more traditional research has only recently come to broader scholarly attention. A number of important articles this decade, particularly in Rink’s Musical Performance (2002), the 2007 themed edition of The Dutch Journal of Music Theory, and the forthcoming Zurich University Yearbook based on an ELIA conference on the topic (2009), specifically deal with issues of process (with its interdependent and cyclical activities of preparation, rehearsal, interpretation, and reflection) and product, exploring its broader relationship to research. Professor Huib Schippers (Griffith University) expands on the findings of this research and discusses his experiences leading the Queensland Conservatorium Research Center and establishing a research culture focussed on the understanding of musical processes as research.

Beyond the Frenzy and the Drifts

Enrique Granados’ Goyescas is an enormous piano work of marvel and beauty. Its writing employs the most decorative style, harmonically and lineally, resulting in one of the most intricate and masterfully designed piano works of the late Romantic era. Almost at all times layers of counterparts interweave around the main melodic thread, and with all the elaborations and details to manipulate, a performer is prone to lose sight of the mental mapping of the musical structure during performance. Professor Hsin Hsing-Chwen (National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan) demonstrates a preferred learning process approaching these problematic movements. Through her presentation, Professor Hsin Hsing-Chwen shares her experience as a professional pianist engaged in complex memory building and also manifests her interpretation of the work.