International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

18th symposium: Call for papers

Images of the Nineteenth-Century French Musical Life

Venice, Palazzetto Bru Zane, 6–7 December 2021

Symposium coorganized with

the Répertoire international de la presse musicale (RIPM)

in association with

Centre de musique romantique française, Venice

The implementation of new printing techniques in the 1840s advanced the publication of images in mass circulation newsmagazines, which were able to offer their readers for the first time plentiful illustrations of contemporary events. These illustrations visually supplement writings on music of the time, communicate with the music criticism, and document the reception of music performed in concert halls, theaters, salons and in other public places. Although the newsweekly L’illustration, which appeared in 1843, is the most prolific French newsmagazine—publishing by the end of the century over 3,300 illustrations of musical life—it is certainly not the only one visually documenting nineteenth-century music events in France, in Europe and beyond. Nor is the press the only media offering reflections of musical life during this period. One also sees music recognized in photography, extensively in caricatures, and also in miniature statuettes.

The conference invites proposals for papers on any aspect of French musical life in the nineteenth century as reflected in the visual sources:

  • Interior and exterior architecture of concert and theater spaces
  • Performances and reception of opera and other genres of musical theater
  • Chamber and orchestral performances
  • Performances of traditional music
  • Marketing and sales of musical instruments
  • Portraiture of French composers and music performers
  • Street performances, fairs, open air ceremonies with music
  • French music in French overseas colonies and possessions
  • Methodological issues concerning the study, capture and indexing of images included in the 19th-century press
  • Bibliographical research identifying illustrated French journals with significant musical contens
  • Papers on French musical life of other periods, based on visual sources, may be also considered.

The conference’s keynote speaker will be H. Robert Cohen, who with the assistance of Sylvia L’Écuyer and Jacques Léveillé, published an index to and the reproduction of L’lllustration’s musical engraving in a three-volume printed set (Québec, 1982–1983). Recognizing the significance of L’Illustration as an important source for the study French musical life, the Répertoire International de la Presse Musicale (RIPM) recently digitized all music-related images published through 1899. The resulting searchable open-access database which contains an index and reproduction of the images, will be inaugurated during the conference.

Program committee:

  • Zdravko Blažeković, ICTM Study Group on Iconography of the Performing Arts
  • Étienne Jardin, Centre de musique romantique française, Palazzetto Bru Zane
  • Benjamin Knysak, The Répertoire International de la Presse Musicale

English is preferred language for the conference presentations.

Abstracts of 250–300 words may be submitted before 1 July 2021 to:
Zdravko Blažeković
Research Center for Music Iconography
City University of New York, The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016-4309