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Earle Brown Symposium: Call for Papers

Beyond Notation: An Earle Brown Symposium
January 18-19, 2013

The Department of Music at Northeastern University with support from the Earle Brown Music Foundation will host a symposium on the music of Earle Brown (1926-2002) across two days of scholarship, exhibits, open rehearsals, and performances.  Keynote addresses will be given by Richard Toop (Sydney Conservatorium) and Kyle Gann (Bard College), with evening concerts presented by the Callithumpian Consort directed by Stephen Drury and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project directed by Gil Rose.  Other featured speakers include Brown’s widow Susan Sollins-Brown (President, Earle Brown Music Foundation), Carolyn Brown (Merce Cunningham Dance Company), and Thomas Fichter (Director, Earle Brown Music Foundation).  Brown’s sound installations Wikiup (1979) and Music for Galerie Stadler (1964) will also be on special exhibit during the symposium.  We invite proposals that explore any aspect of Brown’s music and career, and welcome scholars from music and related disciplines, conductors, and performers to present papers and lecture-demonstrations, either of which may be twenty or forty minutes in length.  Possible topics for consideration include:

  • The performance practice of open form works
  • Works from the 1970s onward
  • Works involving electroacoustics
  • Analysis of works for large orchestra
  • Analysis of early works
  • Earle Brown as conductor
  • Earle Brown as composition teacher
  • Earle Brown as record producer and/or concert curator
  • Earle Brown and Europe
  • Earle Brown and popular music
  • Earle Brown and New England
  • The influences of the jazz tradition and the American experimental tradition
  • Cross-disciplinary analyses of works related to or influenced by the visual arts, science, math, or philosophy

The symposium also highlights several recent developments in Earle Brown research. In 2007, Edition Peters became the publisher of a new revised edition of Brown’s scores prepared by the Earle Brown Music Foundation, making available an unprecedented number of the composer’s approximately 50 works, some of them for the first time.  In March 2012, the Foundation will have completed a digital re-issue of the 18 historic albums Brown curated and produced as the “Contemporary Sound Series” for Time-Mainstream Records between 1961 and 1973, now published and distributed as a 6-volume CD series by Wergo.  For the 2013 Symposium, the Foundation has launched a descriptive inventory of the Earle Brown Papers detailing its extensive archival holdings of original manuscripts, sketches, unpublished works, correspondence, audio and visual media, and personal memorabilia.

We will award several research stipends for presenters to travel and study materials at the Earle Brown Archive in Rye, New York prior to the symposium. Interested applicants must complete an online application form by May 15 specifying proposed dates of study, materials to be viewed, a brief description of project goals, and a travel and accommodations worksheet. Please consult the new finding aid of the Earle Brown Archive inventory through the Earle Brown Music Foundation web site.  For inquiries regarding the archive or the research stipend application, contact Thomas Fichter.

Submit proposals to Rebecca Kim at by May 15, 2012. Proposals should consist of the applicant’s name, email address, and institutional affiliation with a PDF or Word attachment indicating a title and abstract of up to 350 words. Please also indicate whether your proposal will be a 20- or 40-minute presentation as well as technical equipment required. You may also submit your abstract through the online submission form.

Notification of accepted papers and research stipend awards will be sent by June 15.  Select papers from the symposium will be considered for publication in a collection of essays.

Visit the symposium web site for further details at or email