Music & Sound

The Music & Sound Initiative was formed in response to the lightning-speed changes in the sounds, performance practice and aesthetics that have been enabled by new technologies of musical production and musical transmission. Bringing together scholars of music and musicians from across departments through informal conversations and public events, the initiative addresses topics such as aesthetics and technology; the nexus of New Music, New Media and the digital arts; the nature of sound and noise; and the ways new conceptions of musical expression impact training and practice.

Past Events

Seminar | January 19, 2016 - May 13, 2016
Exploring Music, Sound and Urbanism

This seminar takes place at the intersection of sound studies and urban studies, and explores a range of premises: that sound and space are inseparably entangled, that sound crucially shapes how we know the world, and that the modern city has long hosted distinctive configurations of sound in space.

Symposium | November 06, 2015 - November 07, 2015
Scholarly Presentations with Performances by Monastics

This symposium considers the importance of traditional Buddhist ritual music for studying the evolution of Buddhist culture, as well as the interaction between Buddhist music and traditional musical culture outside the monastery in China, Korea, Japan, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Nepal and Laos.

Residency | October 21, 2015 - November 06, 2015
Fall 2015 Public Events

World-renowned composer Kaija Saariaho is in residence in the Department of Music during the Fall 2015 semester. In addition to master classes and private lessons with student composers, she participates in a number of appearances, including five public Bloch Lectures featuring conversations with several of her distinguished collaborators.

Berkeley Book Chat | October 14, 2015
James Davies

Professor of Music James Davies’ book explores the very matter of musical experience; the hands and voices of virtuosic musicians and singers who plied their trade between London and Paris in the nineteenth century.

Symposium | September 25, 2015
The Afterlives of Beethoven's "Choral" Symphony

A symposium featuring UC Berkeley professors Nicholas Mathew, Mary Ann Smart, and James Davies, along with speakers from Harvard, Stanford, UNC Chapel Hill, and Williams College with a lunchtime performance by members of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra.

Lecture | March 19, 2015

The second of two discussions presented in conjunction with the premiere of Death with Interruptions features a panel discussion about this new opera led by Mary Ann Smart (Berkeley) and with Thomas Laqueur (Berkeley), Kurt Rohde (Davis), Majel Connery (Opera Cabal), and Shalom Goldman (Duke).

Berkeley Book Chat | February 18, 2015
Myra Melford

Professor of Music Myra Melford's November 2013 interdisciplinary project, inspired by Eduardo Galeano's Memory of Fire trilogy, incorporates music, movement, video, and spoken text.

Symposium | November 01, 2014
and the End(s) of Art History

Collecting and describing obscure historical debris and weaving it into quirky micro-narratives has become a foundational strategy in many humanistic disciplines over the past twenty years or so. This symposium explores the aestheticized status that these quirky remnants of the past have acquired in our writing of history.

Conference | April 24, 2014
Music & Technology in History, Theory and Practice

This conference brings together humanities scholars, musicians and engineers to examine the relationship between music and technology throughout history, asking how each has shaped the other and questioning the divides commonly drawn between acoustic and electronic, analog and digital.

Artist in Conversation | February 06, 2014

The “Music at the Crossroads: Actions at the Intersection of Sound, Music, Art and Media” series presents Claudia Hart in conversation with Professor of Music Edmund Campion.

Installation | February 06, 2014

The “Music at the Crossroads: Actions at the Intersection of Sound, Music, Art and Media” series presents Kurt Hentschälger’s multi-channel sound/video installation, CLUSTER.