International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

Call for Papers: First joint symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Mediterranean Music Studies and the International Musicological Society

"Musicians in the Mediterranean: Narratives of Movement"

(Painting on a Florentine cassone depicting the conquest of Naples by Charles, Duke of Durazzo. Late fourteenth century. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.)

The ICTM Study Group on Mediterranean Music Studies and the International Musicological Society warmly invite abstracts for their first joint symposium titled "Musicians in the Mediterranean: Narratives of Movement".

We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers and for panels comprising three 20-minute papers. Please submit abstracts in English including names of authors and titles to: or by 20 December 2015

The official language of the symposium is English but proposals in French or Italian are also welcome.

In June 2016 it will be exactly twenty years since the Study Group "Anthropology of Music in Mediterranean Cultures" met in Bari-Molfetta, Italy, for a conference titled "Musicians in the Mediterranean: History and Anthropology" in conjunction with the festival organised by Mousiké. Conceived as a meeting of historical musicologists and ethnomusicologists, the conference combined historical and ethnographic methods and perspectives on topics relating to music, musicians, and musical transmission in the Mediterranean and beyond. 

In this first joint conference of ICTM and IMS, organised by the ICTM Study Group on Mediterranean Music Studies, we provide a forum for renewing that intradisciplinary collaboration, focusing on the theme "Musicians in the Mediterranean: Narratives of Movement". We invite papers that address music as narrative and musicians as narrators of movements of peoples, cultures and civilisations through time and space, focusing on musical genres, styles,  repertories and practices of the Mediterranean region, broadly conceived, including diasporic communities. Participants are encouraged to explore processes of cross-cultural fertilisation, interaction and exchange, of transformation and loss, and of musical conservation and control, as societies attempt to comprehend and come to terms with conditions of physical and temporal flux. How do different types of movements sound? How do language, gestures, and sound narrate each movement? What is sounded and what is silenced? Which sounds/gestures are meaningful? And for whom? Answering these and other critical questions requires an understanding of the structural and aesthetic factors that govern musical organisation and, concurrently, a frame of reference in which musical phenomena can be understood in terms of their wider cultural meanings. Papers may also address narratives about music, including the histories, myths, and intellectual traditions that have evolved around movements of musicians, musical instruments, repertories, styles, and practices across and beyond the Mediterranean.

With origins dating from the Greek Bronze Age, Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Founded as a commercial port by Greek sailors in the ninth century BCE, the city has long been a site of contact and convergence between the diverse cultures and civilizations of the Mediterranean. It is also one of the few cities founded on a musical myth — that of Parthenope, the singing siren of Greek and Roman mythology; as ‘children of the siren’, Neapolitans consider themselves born for music. In the seventeenth-century, Naples invented the concept of the modern, public music school: its four conservatoires contributed to the wide dissemination of a new myth, that of the “Neapolitan Music School”. The library of the Conservatorio San Pietro a Majella, which inherited the archives, scores and musical instruments of the ancient baroque conservatoires, is widely regarded as the richest collection of early western music in the world. Situated almost adjacent to the Conservatorio, the University L’Orientale is the foremost institute in Italy for the study of Mediterranean languages and civilizations.

Programme Committee

  • Co-chairs: Ruth Davis (ICTM/MMS) and Dinko Fabris (IMS)
  • ICTM Members: Alessandra Ciucci, Salvatore Morra
  • IMS Members: to be confirmed.

Local Arrangements Committee

  • Chair: Adriano Rossi (Università L’Orientale, Naples)


Conservatorio di Musica San Pietro a Majella, via San Pietro a Majella 35 Napoli

Università degli Studi “L’Orientale” di Napoli, via Chiatamone 61/62 Napoli


Just ten minutes by car from the city centre, Naples airport is well-served by major international airlines, including British airways, Air France, Germanwings, Easyjet, Transavia, Vueling, Air Berlin, Air Arabia, Lufthansa, Meridiana, Turkish airlines, Iberia express, Tunis Air Express. Naples is also served by boat to Naples port, by train, and by local buses. The conference venues are in the historic centre, the nearest underground station is Dante; the journey planner, available at gives directions for travel within Naples via public transport.


Information on options, including reduced rates at designated venues, will be provided closer to the time.

Participants are responsible for covering the costs of their travel and accommodation.