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Music criticism in the twentieth century in America and the english-speaking world

La critique musicale au XXe siècle en Amérique et dans le monde anglophone

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Published on Friday, September 11, 2015 by Céline Guilleux


Cette journée d’étude viendra clôturer un ensemble de rencontres initiées depuis 2013 sur divers aspects de la critique musicale au vingtième siècle, envisagée d’un point de vue théorique (théories et conceptions de la critique musicale), thématique (figures, genres et formes de la critique), ou par aires linguistiques et culturelles (Allemagne, Italie, monde hispanophone). Il s’agira d’examiner comment certaines des questions générales abordées au cours des précédentes journées d’études se posent aux États-Unis ainsi qu’au Royaume-Uni et éventuellement dans le reste du monde anglophone.



This one-day conference is the last in a series of colloquiums that were initiated in 2013 on various aspects of twentieth-century music criticism, from a theoretical (theories and conceptions of music criticism) and thematic viewpoint (figures, genres, and forms of music criticism), as well as from the perspective of cultural and linguistic areas (Germany, Italy, Spanish-speaking world).

The purpose will be to examine how some of the general issues discussed in the course of the previous colloquia are envisaged in the United States as well as in the United Kingdom and, possibly, in the rest in of the English-speaking world:

  • What are the forms, genres, and styles of writing of music criticism?
  • How is the issue of the “speakability” and unspeakability of music envisaged and solved?
  • How do critics describe their method? Are there any “metacritical” discussions (discourse on the critical activity within music criticism proper)?
  • Who are the typical figures of music criticism? How do they legitimize their activities (often in mutual opposition)?
  •  What is the role of composers-critics (Carter, Copland, Sessions, Thomson...) and what is the relationship between their activity as critics and their creative activity?
  • What is, on the other hand, the role of non-musician writers (Auden, Carl Van Vechten, Gilbert Seldes…), and what is the relationship between their writings on music and their other writings?
  • What role is played in music criticism by cultural institutions such as universities, the daily or periodical press (The New York Times, The Dial, New Yorker...), specialized magazines (Modern Music, The Musical Quarterly), the radio?

More specifically, the focus will be on particular characteristics of American and anglophone music criticism compared to other linguistic and cultural areas: how are these specificities seen and commented upon by critics themselves?

Without excluding in the least monographic approaches, which can focus on individual critics and institutions, this conference would privilege transversal approaches, with a view to trying to broadly define the specificities of the area under consideration.

Topic for papers could include the impact of music criticism on musical creation, with particular emphasis on the dissemination of musical modernity; on its potential role on music programming; or on the way classical music critics position themselves vis-a-vis ethnomusicology or popular music in all its forms. Postcolonial and gender studies approaches will also be welcome.

Working languages of the conference will be English and French, participants speaking in either language without simultaneous interpretation. Papers will ultimately be published in French.

Submission guidelines

Paper proposals (one page maximum), along with a short bio/bibliographical paragraph, in English or in French,

should be mailed by 1 December 2015

to both Vincent Giroud (vincent.giroud@univ-fcomte.fr) and Timothée Picard (timothee.picard@gmail.com).

The project is part of a large-scale program on “Music criticism in the twentieth century” (Institut universitaire de France). Previous colloquia are listed on the CELLAM site (www.cellam.fr). 

Scientific Committee

  • Gilles Couderc (Université de Caen)
  • Vincent Giroud (Université de Franche-Comté)
  • Timothée Picard (Université Rennes 2)
  • Marcin Stawiarski (Université de Caen)
  • Noëmie Vermoesen (Université Rennes 2)

Date and place

  • Paris, Franco-American Foundation, Cité universitaire
  • 10 June 2016


  • Vincent Giroud (University of Franche-Comté)
  • Timothée Picard (Rennes 2, CELLAM/IUF)


  • Fondation franco-américaine, Cité universitaire
    Paris, France (75)


  • Tuesday, December 01, 2015


  • critique musicale, espace anglophone


  • Timothée Picard
    courriel : timothee [dot] picard [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Vincent Giroud
    courriel : vincent_giroud04 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Timothée Picard
    courriel : timothee [dot] picard [at] gmail [dot] com

To cite this announcement

« Music criticism in the twentieth century in America and the english-speaking world », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Friday, September 11, 2015, https://calenda.org/338463

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