An International Musicology Colloquium on the Czechoslovak Interwar Opera Avant-Garde will take place in Brno

6 October 2023, 1:00
An International Musicology Colloquium on the Czechoslovak Interwar Opera Avant-Garde will take place in Brno

The 57th International Musicology Colloquium will take place in Brno, this year under the title New Paths in Opera. It is organised by the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University (FFMU) together with the National Theatre Opera and the State Opera through the Musica non grata project. World renowned figures from the ranks of musicologists, conductors, opera directors, dramaturges and representatives of music producers will discuss avant-garde musical theatre of the first half of the 20th century with an emphasis on "Entartete Musik". The conference will be streamed live on Musica non grata and FFMU platforms. The project includes the opening concert of the Brno Contemporary Orchestra season.

The 57th International Musicology Colloquium Brno (IMCB) was inspired by the 2021 book New Paths in Opera , which is thematically linked to the composers of the Czechoslovak interwar avant-garde: Erwin Schulhoff, Bohuslav Martinů, Alois Hába, Viktor Ullmann and Emil František Burian. “This period is associated with innovation. Opera in this country broke away from the 'national' tradition for the first time and became a cosmopolitan affair," says Helena Spurná, editor, co-author and dramaturge of this year's colloquium. “The conference, to which we have invited prominent personalities who are intensively involved in this topic, develops the themes of the book, enriches them with new musicological knowledge and opens up the debate on other related areas, including practical implementation," she adds.

The Colloquium’s programme is spread over two days. On Monday 9 October, prominent musicologists from universities and music colleges from the USA, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Czech Republic will present their papers. On Tuesday, 10 October, there will be a panel discussion involving musicologists as well as conductors, opera directors, engineers, dramaturges and representatives of the music producers Schott Music and Boosey and Hawkes. The "Round Table" will touch on musicological topics, but its important aim is to contribute to the debate on the practical issues of performing, staging and presenting "degenerate music" ("Entartete Musik"), i.e. the work of composers who were persecuted by the Nazi regime in the 1930s and 1940s.

Albrecht Dümling, author of the exhibition Entartete Musik, among others, has promised to participate in the debate . A critical reconstruction (Düsseldorf 1938/1988), has been presented in more than fifty venues around the world, with Michael Haas, initiator of Decca's famous "Entartete Musik" edition, Matthew Jocelyn, director and artistic director of the Koffler Centre of the Arts in Toronto, and Per Boye Hansen, artistic director of the National Theatre Opera and State Opera, initiator of the Musica non grata project, also taking part. "I am extremely pleased that the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University and the Musica Non Grata project have joined forces and that we can further contribute to the revival of one of the most interesting periods in the history of European and Czech, or rather Czechoslovak, musical theatre in this intriguing format. I am very pleased that this is happening in Brno, a place that gave the world personalities such as Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Pavel Haas, whose destinies we are also commemorating in the Musica non grata project," says Per Boye Hansen.

In collaboration with the Brno Contemporary Orchestra (BCO) and Musica non grata, a unique programme has been created which will combine works by Brno's Entartete Musik circle of composers with contemporary music in the opening concert of the BCO season. The concert will take place on 11 October at 7:00 p.m. at Cabaret des Péchés.

The guests and the audience will be guided through the colloquium by musicologist Kelly St. Pierre, co-editor of New Paths in Opera, and Tomáš Kraus, director of the Terezín Initiative Institute. The programme of both days starts at 3:00 p.m. The official communication languages are English and German. The detailed programme of the colloquium is available at the musica non grata website. The technical implementation of the project is provided by FFMU in Brno.

For three days from 9 to 11 October, registered participants will receive free access to unique non-public recordings of opera performances and films related to the theme of the colloquium. The project involved the National Theatre Opera and the State Opera, the Moravian-Silesian National Theatre, the Moravian Theatre Olomouc, the Opéra national du Rhin and the National Film Archive. You can register for the media library via the website. Those interested can watch the colloquium online on  the FFMU’s Facebook and YouTube channels.

Colloquium 9 - 10 October 2023

9.10 3:00-8:30 p.m. CET Papers 

Link to LIVE stream:   

10.10 3:00-8:00 p.m. CET Panel discussion 

Link to LIVE stream: 

Venue: Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, Arno Novák 1, Building C, Brno

Free entry

Project details:

Concert on 11 October 2023

11.11 7:00 p.m. Brno Contemporary Orchestra

Venue: Cabaret des Péchés, Jalta Passage, Brno



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