1st Edition

Contemporary Musical Virtuosities

Edited By Louise Devenish, Cat Hope Copyright 2024
    214 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Contemporary notions of musical virtuosity redevelop historic concepts and demonstrate that our present understanding of virtuosity in western art music has shifted from what seemed, for a time, to be a relatively clear and stable definition. In the field and the academy, lively debates around the definition and/or value of virtuosity have always elicited strong and varied ideas. In the twenty-first century, frictions have emerged between traditional definitions of virtuosity and contemporary practices that emphasise collaboration and blur roles between performers, composers, and improvisers. Contemporary Musical Virtuosities embraces the evolving processes, practitioners, and presentation models within twenty-first century art music.

    This edited collection explores recent insights into the experience and role of virtuosity in different contexts, via contributions from an intergenerational group of artists, academics, and artist-academics. Their writing highlights current themes in contemporary western art music and intersecting musical and performing arts genres such as dance, sound art, improvisation, jazz, trans-traditional collaborations, and Australian Indigenous music. It offers models for supporting and recognising a plurality of musical virtuosities typically excluded from traditional definitions and examines implications for musical practice today. Chapters take the form of academic essays, artist reflections, interviews, personal letters, and a manifesto, reflecting the range of approaches and contexts covered.

    The collection includes first writings on practices that have been present in the industry for some time not yet documented or examined in detail until now, and thus offers a vision for the future that prioritises inclusive and overlapping practices and processes in music.

    1.Contemporary musical virtuosities, Louise Devenish, Cat Hope and Sam McAuliffe 2. Virtue restored, virtue shared, Jonathan Impett 3. Virtuosity, pleasure and violence, Salomé Voegelin 4. Songman? Considering virtuosity and Noongar song revitalisation, Clint Bracknell 5. Virtuosity of the Self: Investigating how the disabled dancer develops singular virtuosity, Molly Joyce 6. Virtuosities of the native alien, Sandeep Bhagwati 7. The practice of social virtuosity, Maggie Nicols 8. On The New Virtuosity Manifesto, Louise Devenish and Cat Hope 9. Virtuosity and the Commons, Margaret Schedel and Suzanne Thorpe 10. Moving for machines: How performing with sensors results in a new virtuosity, Cathy van Eck 11. Developing gestural virtuosity for electronic music, Iran Sanadzadeh 12. Always preparing for spontaneity, Echo Ho, Alberto de Campo and Hannes Hölzl 13. Virtuosity, post-instrumental practice, and collapse: A correspondence, Louise Devenish and Jennifer Torrence 14. Skills and sensitivities: Designing collaborative site-specific soundworks, Ros Bandt 15. ‘Rrrrreaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrghhhhh!!!!’: Evolving vocal virtuosity in extreme metal, Karina Utomo and Cat Hope 16. The interrogation of instrumental technology in Liza Lim's ‘Invisibility’, David Moran


    Louise Devenish is a contemporary percussionist whose creative practice blends performance, collaboration and artistic research. She is a Senior Research Fellow and Percussion Coordinator at Monash University, where she is undertaking an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award in artistic research, developing performance works with collaborators across music, visual arts, digital arts, and design. Additional projects include ARC Special Research Initiative on gender diversity in Australian jazz and improvisation, and ongoing artistic research in animated notation (Decibel New Music) and contemporary music performance (The Sound Collectors Lab). Her writing on music performance, Australian music, and notation is published in Contemporary Music Review, Tempo, Musicology Australia, Music & Practice, and Percussive Notes, and the monograph Global Percussion Innovations: The Australian Perspective. Her creative work has been acknowledged by awards and grants including a Churchill Fellowship.

    Cat Hope is an artist scholar whose research interests include animated notation, gender and music, Australian music, digital archiving, as well as music composition and performance as artistic research. She is currently a Professor of Music at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance at Monash University in Melbourne. She is the vice-president of the Australian Council of Deans and Directors of Creative Arts (DDCA) and a reviewer for a number of journals and conferences. She was a member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts, on the Humanities and Creative Arts panel (2016-2019).