Performing Indeterminacy: An International Conference


Friday 30 June – Sunday 2 July 2017

School of Music, University of Leeds

Bringing together nearly 100 international delegates, the conference addressed the performance of indeterminate and experimental musics as its central theme, and was intended as a forum for the exchange of perspectives from scholars, performers, composers, and a wider audience.

The programme included:

Invited contributions from Catherine Laws (Pianist / University of York), Benjamin Piekut (Cornell University), and Christian Wolff (Composer / Dartmouth College).

A roundtable discussion, ‘Performing Cage’s art works’, with Sam Belinfante (University of Leeds), Laura Kuhn (John Cage Trust), and Jeremy Millar (Royal College of Art).

A performance of John Cage’s Concert for Piano and Orchestra (1957–58) and the world premiere of Christian Wolff’s Resistance (2017) by Apartment House in Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall.

A special Performance Studies Network sponsored Q&A session with Amanda Bayley (Bath Spa University) and members of Apartment House.

Installations, papers, lecture-recitals, and performances, addressing themes including:

  • Critical approaches
  • David Tudor and the Solo for Piano
  • Extending indeterminacy
  • Games and play
  • Openness
  • Politics/democracy
  • Praxis
  • (Re)examining indeterminacy
  • Socialities
  • Technology/mediation

The conference programme (including abstracts) is available here.

The conference will result in a collection of essays, Performing Indeterminacy: Experimental Music in Practice, co-edited by Martin Iddon, Emily Payne, and Philip Thomas. The proposal is currently under review with a publisher.

Philip Thomas piano
Philip Thomas’s piano, ready to perform John Cage’s Concert for Piano and Orchestra. Image used by permission of James Joslin.
Christian Wolff
Christian Wolff, moments before the premiere of Resistance. Image used by permission of James Joslin.
Andrew Digby, Philip Thomas and Christian Wolff
Andrew Digby, Philip Thomas, and Christian Wolff. Image used by permission of Amanda Bayley.
Laura Kuhn
Laura Kuhn (John Cage Trust) presents on John Cage’s Lecture on Commitment. Image used by permission of James Joslin.
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