Past Event

The End of Exoticism or The Infiltration of the Other into Western Art Music - Boulez, Debussy, Kagel, Varèse and the Development of Musical Thought

February 28, 2013
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
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Columbia University’s Italian Academy is pleased to present a lecture that explores how, in Prof. Borio’s words, “in the 20th century the musical avant-garde encountered ethnographic discourse at many moments and at several levels, establishing close alliances that were sometimes problematic. Claude Debussy had a long and inspiring exchange with the writer Victor Segalen, as did Pierre Boulez with the ethnomusicologist André Schaeffner. From ‘neo-primitivism,’ through the adoption of non-European concepts of rhythm and sound, and on to the critique of imperialism around 1968, the development of musical thinking coincided with a breaking away from the 19th-century paradigm of exoticism. In this process, European culture ceased to see ‘the Other’ as a token for a
standardized representation of feelings and atmospheres and began to integrate it into musical language and expression.” 

This is the second annual lecture of the Compagnia di San Paolo Italian Academy Distinguished Visiting Professorship. This series focuses on art history, archaeology, and musicology and is made possible by multi-year funding from the Compagnia di San Paolo. The second holder of the position is the renowned musicologist Gianmario Borio, who is teaching a weekly graduate course at Columbia this semester, “Avant-garde Music in Italy: 1950-2000.”