CAST: Constructing Authenticity

CAST Joint Research Project 2014

Constructing Authenticity?
Recreating Musical Cultures of the Past for the 21st Century

Darryl Cressman, Stefan Krebs and Peter Peters (coordinator)

At the end of their first year in the research master programme Cultures of Arts, Science and Technology, students work together on a joint research project, which culminates in the writing of a collective publication, such as an edited book or special issue journal.

The 2014 joint research project aims to explore how musicians, architects, patrons, and listeners attempt to re-create historical musical cultures through different objects and practices. We will be interested in researching the central question how particular actors translate aspects of complex historical musical cultures in order to create new cultures of performance and listening for the twenty-first century.

Since Paul Hindemith’s call to perform early music “with the means of production that were in use when the composer gave it to his contemporaries,” historical performance practice of music has gradually become an essential part of modern music culture. Musicians and audiences became historians, studying the musical practices of the time they want to (re)perform and experience. Historical performance practice also required the restoration of original musical instruments and the rediscovery of old techniques and materials to build replicas of ‘authentic’ instruments. Recently, both performers and scholars have turned their attention to performance spaces, exploring the design and acoustic characteristics of buildings like churches and concert halls. (Re)constructing the material and spatial basis of historical performance practice also involves modern scientific and technological knowledge like electro-acoustical measurements and computer models of old instruments.

These three inter-related aspects of musical culture (instruments, buildings, consumption/listening) will be our starting point. The research in these domains is both theoretical and practice oriented. Students will have the opportunity to develop their own research in three contexts of practice:

  1. Artefacts & Instruments: Students will undertake research on the re-built/replica organs of the Orgelpark (Amsterdam);
  2. Buildings for Music: Students will research either the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam) or churches in and
    around Maastricht as buildings for music;
  3. Producers & Consumers: Students will research the expectations and practices of musicians and audiences, e.g. of the Nederlandse Bach Vereniging (Amsterdam).

The results of the research project will be a  group exposition in the Artistic Research Catalogue, an international online multimedia environment for the exposition of research in artistic contexts, both by artists and academic scholars.