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Visiting Fellows’ Reports

Table of Contents

Nicolas Donin (Visiting Fellow, Phase 3)


The main aim of my CMPCP Visiting Fellowship was to write a chapter on collaboration and distributed creativity for Eric Clarke and Mark Doffman’s edited collection in the CMPCP series. My case study drew on a past project that I had developed in my research group from 2006 to 2008, involving the ethnography of collaborative music/research-making at IRCAM. Several aspects of it had been studied by my colleagues and myself, from the iterative design process to performance issues to digital preservation issues. But this project was above all a complex multidisciplinary endeavour and should be considered as such. I had mused at the time about the notion of ‘distributed creativity’ and now believed that a fresh view on the data collected could help me address this efficiently. The Visiting Fellowship indeed allowed me to construe this creative process in new ways and to interweave musicology and psychology, among other things. On a theoretical plane, I exchanged ideas with Clarke and Doffman as all of us were in the process of reflecting on the main issues of the book. This was fruitful, especially with regard to: 1) the meaning and genealogy of the concept of ‘distributed creativity’; and 2) the distinction that can be drawn between collaboration, cooperation and distributed creativity. We pursued this exchange two months later in the second ‘Tracking the Creative Process in Music’ Conference (Montreal). On 12 October, I chaired a roundtable called ‘Beyond the composer: distributed creativity and emerging roles in the creative process’, with Eric Clarke (University of Oxford), Amandine Pras (CIRMMT), Friedemann Sallis (University of Calgary), Vincent Tiffon (Université Lille-Nord de France) and Caroline Traube (University of Montreal).

Adam Linson (Visiting Fellow, Phase 5)

During my CMPCP Visiting Fellowship I was able to significantly extend my research on cognition in improvisation, focusing on relationships between perception, action and attention. The Visiting Fellowship made it possible for me to collaborate closely with Eric Clarke, as we co-authored a book chapter (forthcoming as ‘Distributed cognition, ecological theory, and group improvisation’, in Creativity, Improvisation and Collaboration: Perspectives on the Performance of Contemporary Music, ed. Eric Clarke and Mark Doffman) and planned related empirical studies. During the Visiting Fellowship, I was able to carry out an initial pilot study exploring aspects of piano players’ perception in musical interaction. The pilot served to establish an experimental setup and data collection method that will be incorporated into future studies and further developed. I was also able to explore points of connection to exciting on-going research in the psychology of music being carried out by Mark Doffman (on time in music) and Jonna Vuoskoski (on emotion and music). My current work continues to build on the research facilitated by the Visiting Fellowship.

Mekala Padmanabhan (Visiting Fellow, Phase 3)

The CMPCP Visiting Research Fellowship offered me an excellent opportunity for continued professional development. The fellowship provided me with the time and support to live and work in London. I had the unique advantage of attending the CMPCP/IMR events, as well as several other conferences, concerts and lectures. Most importantly, the Fellowship provided me with access to several library resources, in particular the British Library and the Cambridge University Library collections.

My primary objective was to undertake research related to Indian film music studies with a view to contributing to Tina K. Ramnarine’s project ‘Global perspectives on the orchestra’. I chose to investigate issues of musical creativity, performance practice and aesthetics relevant to music-making in Tamil film orchestras. More specifically, the project addressed the practicalities of film music composition, its performance in the recording studio, and perception of cross-cultural influences within the Tamilian cultural milieu. During my Fellowship, I also presented a lecture on the topic at the CMPCP project workshop in June 2013. The research that I undertook during my Fellowship will appear as a chapter in Tina K. Ramnarine’s edited book Global Perspectives on the Orchestra: Essays in Collective Creativity and Social Agency.

Since my Fellowship I have continued to investigate other topics in Tamil film music. In July 2014 I was awarded a Music & Letters grant to present the latest stage of my research at the Third International Performance Studies Network Conference (Cambridge). Collaborating with Tina K. Ramnarine on this project was an extremely invaluable and enjoyable learning experience. On a personal note, I would like to thank CMPCP, Professor John Rink and Professor Ramnarine for facilitating my research project and for enabling my personal growth as an independent scholar.

Jacqueline Ross (Visiting Fellow, Phase 1)

I focused my work as a CMPCP Visiting Fellow on the preparation of a new performing edition of Schubert’s Trockne Blumen Flute Variations in my version for violin (a work I recorded in November 2011 for Naxos). My edition has been accepted for publication by Universal Edition A.G. Wien. The current release date is 2015. The work involved two distinct areas of research: 1) the study of Urtext editing according to the autograph and first edition; 2) the adaptation for violin, using historical evidence of nineteenth-century performance practice. I used a facsimile of the autograph (1824) and obtained the first edition (1850 – Diabelli) from the British Library. I also referred to the Wiener Urtext, Henle and Bärenreiter Editions. Following an initial meeting with Professor John Rink, I decided to use the autograph as Principal Source (A), and the first edition (D) as a template for my editorial work. After reading James Grier’s The Critical Editing of Music, and reviewing several Urtext editions and accompanying commentary, including the Peters Chopin Edition, of which John Rink is Editor in Chief, I was able to study the main sources extensively and prepare a working draft of the score and flute part. In order to understand implications of early nineteenth-century performance practice on violin adaptation, I read pedagogical works of the period, and relevant publications by Robin Stowell and Clive Brown, and articles relating to this particular editorial project.

My research was presented in lecture-demonstrations and masterclasses throughout 2012–13: I gave a paper at the Performer’s Voice Symposium in Singapore, and I was subsequently invited to Beijing. I presented a Grove Forum lecture at the RCM and gave lecture-demonstrations at the Guildhall School, as well as engagements in Paris, Riga and Dublin, which included work related to early nineteenth-century performance practices revealed through my research. In February 2014, I performed and coached chamber music at the Menuhin Festival in San Francisco, which included Schubert’s later works. In April 2014, I was Resident Artist at Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, for an intensive week of concerts, masterclasses and lectures on late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century repertoire, including Schubert. As a result of my research into nineteenth-century string performance practice, particularly in relation to cantabile playing, I initiated a series of workshops at the Guildhall School involving singers and violinists exploring cross-disciplinary study of this period using the Schubert song-cycle as a basis.

My edition of the ‘Trockne Blumen’ Variations, in an original adaptation for violin, will be published by Universal Edition A.G. Wien in 2015. Universal has expressed interest in publishing a volume of transcriptions of songs of the late classical and early romantic periods for the violin. I have begun research work for a new project on the violin sonatas by Brahms, focusing on the collaboration and correspondence between Brahms and Joachim. This is intended to culminate in a recording using period instruments and to include transcriptions of Brahms’s songs in an original adaptation for violin and piano.

László Stachó (Visiting Fellow, Phase 5)

During my Fellowship I had the opportunity to meet all of my colleagues working on the Cambridge and King’s College London projects and to discuss with them their results and my own research projects. On their recommendation I got in touch with further professionals working in fields related to my research and pedagogical interests. Based on these meetings I was able to initiate my previously planned small-scale investigations, and as a direct result of the Fellowship I am currently planning a joint research project related to my Practice Methodology, a complete pedagogical methodology for enhancing the ability of real-time navigating in the musical flow. Further to these research-related activities I held a very well-received Practice Methodology workshop at the Department of Music, King’s College London on 6 May 2014 as part of my Visiting Fellowship, organised by Daniel Leech-Wilkinson. On 27 May 2014, I gave a CMPCP/IMR Performance/Research Seminar at Senate House, University London, chaired by John Rink, on a subtopic of my Bartók research to a small but select audience. My paper on Practice Methodology presented at the PSN3 conference on 19 July 2014 was well-attended and was followed by invitations for international collaborations and giving workshops abroad. Further to these events, I attended the following conferences related to my Fellowship, all of which were fruitful not only professionally but also in terms of networking. Again they were followed by various invitations: ‘The construction of musical performance norms’ (study day), King’s College London (24 May); Musical Entrainment Symposium, University of Durham (6 June); and ‘Perspectives on Musical Improvisation II’ conference, University of Oxford (9–12 September). Furthermore, I had the opportunity to affiliate with Downing College and other university-based organisations, including the NVS and the Postdocs of Cambridge, who invited me to perform a concert for piano four-hands to a full house in the Corpus Christi College Chapel on 20 July 2014 with a fellow musician.

Overall, several collaborations and professional as well as personal contacts resulted from my Visiting Fellowship. Besides the invitations for collaborations referred to above, I am currently planning a joint research project related to my Practice Methodology with the Department of Psychology of the University of Cambridge (Centre for Neuroscience in Education). Most importantly, through my Visiting Fellowship, a connection is now established between the Liszt Academy, the renowned centre of European higher music education and research in Budapest, and two CMPCP institutions, i.e. the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge and the Department of Music, King’s College London, laying the foundation for potential research collaborations between us.

Renee Timmers (Visiting Fellow, Phase 2)

The CMPCP Visiting Fellowship allowed me to closely collaborate for a number of weeks with Eric Clarke and Mark Doffman at the University of Oxford on the project related to creative collaboration between the composer Jeremy Thurlow and the violinist Peter Sheppard Skaerved. My visit was split into several shorter visits. This allowed both my collaborators and me to allocate good time to work together on the project when I was in Oxford and to develop the work independently between the visits. My primary contribution was to develop a quantitative analysis of characteristics of performances of Ouija during the workshops in which the piece was given shape, and of public performances of the piece. The quantitative analysis offered a way to investigate the ‘material changes’ that occurred as a consequence of the collaboration between the composer and the performer. However, such a quantitative analysis can really be developed only with a good understanding of the creative context, and interpreted when intimately familiar with the responsible creative collaboration and creative process. Consequently, my involvement in the project went further than suggesting an analysis procedure, and included involvement in the interpretation and analysis of the video-recorded material documenting the collaboration.

The collaboration with Eric Clarke and Mark Doffman led to joint presentations at international conferences and a joint publication about the collaborative creation of Ouija. It gave me valuable experience in interpretation and analysis of performance practice in modern music, and it also gave me the opportunity to deepen my understanding and familiarity with the theoretical perspective that ecological perception offers as advocated by Eric Clarke, and the methodological perspective of discourse analysis as practised by Mark Doffman. Last but not least, it gave me invaluable insight into the rich musical and creative worlds of Jeremy Thurlow and Peter Sheppard Skearved, two unique and important figures of contemporary musical art in Britain.

Kathryn Whitney (Visiting Fellow, Phase 1)

I applied to join CMPCP as a Visiting Fellow because I wanted to develop a new area of activity in my professional life as a musician. I had been working as a performer for a number of years and had become interested in the role that liveness played (if any) in facilitating creativity in concert performance. I had co-founded the SongArt Performance Research Group at the Institute of Musical Research in 2010 in order to begin exploration into these questions, and after two years of theoretical work, I wanted to develop a test that could help us to begin to understand how live concert performance may differ structurally and aesthetically from mediated video-recorded performance for performers and listeners. Although I had a solid background in historical musicology, I knew I needed to gain new skills in contemporary performance studies research in order to make this work rigorous and relevant to contemporary research streams. I was thrilled to join the Music and Shape group at King’s College London in spring 2012, where I worked with Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, Helen Prior and Mats Küssner on a project titled ‘Shaping liveness in song performance: exploring the performer-audience paradigm’.

Our project took the form of a series of public experimental song performance workshops during which we ran an experiment that tested how live versus mediated conditions might influence reports of the perceived ‘feeling shape’ and ‘expressive contour’ of a song for performers and listeners. Together with pianists Gavin Roberts and Chris Hopkins, I performed a number of short song recitals and collected quantitative data in the form of shape drawings and the rating of shape-related statements from our live audience. We also video-recorded the live performances and repeated the experiment with new listeners. Our results showed significant differences under the two conditions.

The Visiting Fellowship at CMPCP has impacted my work considerably. I have given papers on my CMPCP work at the Music and Shape conference in London (2012), for the Canadian University Music Society (2012 and 2013), the Performance Studies Network (2013), and the American Musicological Society (2014). Both my article published in Psychology of Music (2013) and my book chapter in Artistic Practices in Music (ed. Mine Doğantan-Dack, Ashgate, 2014) were influenced by my CMPCP work, and I have been invited to collaborate on related research projects with colleagues in the UK, Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, the USA, Canada and Spain. My Visiting Fellowship has especially impacted the direction and quality of my work with the SongArt group, which since 2012 has held three international events and has established an extensive research network with connections in both the educational and the professional creative industries. I am very grateful to CMPCP for the opportunity of the Visiting Fellowship, and I would like to extend sincere thanks to the CMPCP directorate for this opportunity, especially to John Rink, Daniel Leech-Wilkinson and my colleagues at King’s.

Stevie Wishart (Visiting Fellow, Phase 4)

The aim of my Visiting Fellowship was to research and develop a greater level of collaboration between the composer and performers using insights of historically informed music performance. I was able to develop and execute a series of practice-based musical experiments which were used to customise the notation in the eventual composition of a new orchestral work. This was in the combined form of a double-bass concerto and concerto grosso which required the performers to engage with the music at a deeper level than that of professional sight-reading. The aim of the Visiting Fellowship supported my compositional process in terms of developing a musical score and performer-guide that left enough space for the performers to contribute to the work with regard to its musical content and interpretative freedom, without undermining the integrity of the musical composition. The results of the fellowship R & D are ongoing. The work was given its first performance in May 2015 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, preceded by a pre-concert talk in which I was able to discuss the Fellowship’s working process. The audience seemed to appreciate the collaborative and more spontaneous and risky spirit of the new work. The musicians found the work rather challenging because of the degree of performer collaboration demanded of them. Unless more rehearsal time is given to new works of this nature, then my tendency would be to add more specific notation – thus restricting the level of composer–performer collaboration. This could be offset by a more detailed performer-guide, making this ‘appendix’ as important as the score. The performers could then develop their parts in terms of this composer–performer collaboration (such as improvised content) in advance, thereby facilitating their fluency with the score during the actual rehearsal. The idea of using musicians familiar with historical music in this context was a good one, especially with regard to the skills of the continuo players. I will now consider the above options and decide whether the score needs further revision, through looking at the research, listening to the recordings, and taking into account the invaluable verbal and written feedback that I have had from the performers and through more informal discussions with CMPCP colleagues . This will determine how I approach the next version of the Concerto with the co-commissioning orchestra (The Handel & Haydn Society, Boston), who will perform the Concerto in the autumn of 2016. In any event, the Visiting Fellowship enabled me to develop a strategy for a new collaboration between the composer and the performer, which will be invaluable both in terms of teaching and writing about composition and improvisation, and in terms of my personal development as a composer, for which I am very grateful.

Simon Zagorski-Thomas (Visiting Fellow, Phase 2)

In order to study how music performance students from different musical genres engage with and think about performing in the studio, I organised three recording sessions involving students from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Leeds College of Music, London College of Music and Tech Music Schools. They were all filmed and most of the students completed the questionnaires, which involved the participant-led ‘video-recall’ technique developed in CMPCP’s ‘Creative learning’ project of getting participants to watch footage of the sessions, answer questions, and point to examples in the video that supported or illustrated their answer. Two follow-up discussions were also filmed with students from Tech Music School, the London College of Music and the Leeds College of Music. The Fellowship also fed into my AHRC-funded ‘Performance in the Studio’ research network bid, which has involved ten core researchers, including Mirjam James from CMPCP, and input from a very broad range of international academics via an innovative online conference. The proceedings of the conference, including many blog-based panel discussions, are available on the Art of Record Production website.

Since the end of Fellowship I have lectured on the topic to the students at Leeds College of Music, the London College of Music, and in Europe and the United States. Amy Blier-Carruthers and I organised and presented at the second and third of the Performance Studies Network conferences in Cambridge, and we are working on two joint outputs from this research: a co-authored article and a chapter in a book that Thomas Porcello, Amy and I are editing on Performance in the Studio, which is one of the outputs from the AHRC-funded research network that I led. I also gave a research seminar on 20 May 2014 in the CMPCP/IMR performance/research seminar series. Amy Blier-Carruthers and I continue to plan further engagement with other conservatoires and performance departments in universities to discuss the issues raised by the study with students and staff where possible. In addition, as an extension of this research into performance in the studio, I am currently (March–October 2015) leading an AHRC-funded project with Amy Blier-Carruthers (RAM), Andrew Bourbon (LCM) and. Emilie Capulet (LCM) on Classical Music ‘Ultra-Production’ and Practice As Research. This will involve working with classical performers on extended performance techniques for the recording studio, drawing on the multi-tracking and editing techniques of popular music to create innovative and experimental recordings of the classical repertoire. Dr Bourbon and I are also working on similar experiments with Mine Doğantan-Dack (Oxford).