Past Event

Georgina Born: The Dynamics of Pluralism in Contemporary Digital Art Music

April 24, 2023
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
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2960 Broadway, 620 Dodge Hall, New York, NY 10027

Georgina Born: The Dynamics of Pluralism in Contemporary Digital Art Music -- Monday April 24, 4PM

Event Start:  Mon, 04/24/2023 - 4:00pm
Location:  620 Dodge Hall, Columbia U Morningside Campus, 116th and Broadway, NYC

The Center for Ethnomusicology and the Fritz Reiner Center are pleased to announce a seminar with Prof. Georgina Born (University College, London) on Monday, April 24, at 4PM in 620 Dodge Hall, on the Columbia Morningside Campus (Broadway at 116th St.).  

This event is open to the public but space is limited.  Please RSVP to [email protected] if you plan to attend. 

Attendees are asked to read a book chapter by Prof. Born in advance, entitled "The Dynamics of Pluralism in Contemporary Digital Art Music," which is Chapter 8 from Prof. Born's new edited volumeMusic and Digital Media: A Planetary Anthropology (2023, University College of London Press). The entire book is online and open source at this link:

Abstract: "The Dynamics of Pluralism in Contemporary Digital Art Music"
How to capture the transformation, from without and within, of a dominant art music genre? Academic electroacoustic music, and specifically acousmatic music, the modernist lineage that came to prominence from the 1970s in universities in the UK, Canada and Europe, has been both hegemonic and waning for around twenty years. In this presentation, based on a chapter from the open-access book Music and Digital Media: A Planetary Anthropology (2022), I explore this state of affairs through an ethnography of British university trainings in digital art music and related x, trainings I gather under the term 'music technology degrees'. The aim is to probe the burgeoning pluralism of digital art music in the UK as this presses on contemporary music writ large. My fieldwork focused on three leading British centres: the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) at Queen’s University, Belfast, the Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre (MTIRC) at De Montfort University, Leicester, and the Music and Music Technology groups at the University of Huddersfield. It also involved contacts with music departments at the universities of York, Edinburgh, East London and East Anglia, and the sound art research centre at London’s University of the Arts. I observed teaching and events, attended gigs and conferences, and made relationships with teaching staff, masters and PhD students. By analysing the music technology degrees the chapter narrates a heterogeneous field in motion, buffeted by larger historical processes. A core premise is that educational change of this kind is both a barometer and a catalyst of wider musical, cultural, social and political changes. The net effect is the blossoming of an extraordinary but patterned diversity of idioms in digital art music, analysed in the final part of the chapter. This leads to a final discussion of how we should conceptualise pluralism in music today. 

Prof. Georgina Born Bio: Georgina Born is Professor of Anthropology and Music at University College London. Previously she held Professorships at the Universities of Oxford (2010-21) and Cambridge (2006-10). Earlier she had a professional life as a musician in experimental rock, jazz and free improvisation. Her work combines ethnographic and theoretical writings on interdisciplinarity, music, sound, and digital/media. Her books include Rationalizing Culture: IRCAM, Boulez, and the Institutionalization of the Musical Avant-Garde (1995), Western Music and Its Others (ed. with D. Hesmondhalgh, 2000), Uncertain Vision (2004), Music, Sound and Space (ed., 2013), Interdisciplinarity (ed. with A. Barry, 2013), Improvisation and Social Aesthetics (ed. with E. Lewis and W. Straw, 2017), and Music and Digital Media: A Planetary Anthropology (ed., 2022). She directed the ERC-funded research program ‘Music, Digitization, Mediation’ (2010-15) and in 2021 was awarded an ERC grant for ‘Music and Artificial Intelligence: Building Critical Interdisciplinary Studies’. She has held visiting professorships at UC Berkeley, UC Irvine and Aarhus, Oslo, McGill and Princeton Universities.