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CO.LABORATIONS | Partnerships in Media and Culture


21 March 2019
16:15 - 18:00
Nieuwegracht 80, Room 1.06, Utrecht

Robert Adlington – Utrecht Colloquia in the Musicologies 2018-19

Unequal Equalities: Group Music-Making as Deliberative Democracy

Robert Adlington (University of Huddersfield)


The processes involved in small-scale ensemble music-making have frequently been characterised as ‘democratic’ in nature, recognising the ways in which each participant is equally involved in the musical decision-making. I will examine these claims in the light of recent theoretical writing on deliberative democracy, with the aim of arriving at a more nuanced understanding of what ‘equality’ might look like in such contexts. I also explore the limits to the democratic analogy.

Robert Adlington holds the Queen’s Anniversary Prize Chair in Contemporary Music at the University of Huddersfield. His research has focused upon modernist, avant-garde and experimental music since 1960, with particular attention to the relationship between progressive musicians’ creative practice and their socio-political commitments. He is author of The Music of Harrison Birtwistle (CUP, 2000), Louis Andriessen: ‘De Staat’ (Ashgate, 2004), and Composing Dissent: Avant-garde Music in 1960s Amsterdam (OUP, 2013), and editor of the volumes Sound Commitments: Avant-garde Music and the Sixties (OUP, 2009), and Red Strains: Music and Communism outside the Communist Bloc (OUP, 2013). He has also published articles and book chapters on Luigi Nono, Luciano Berio, new music theatre, and musical modernism. He is currently writing a new book, Musical Models of Democracy, examining the different ways in which musicians of the past 60 years have sought to imagine democracy through their musical practice.