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Professor Alastair Williams Inaugural Lecture06 June 2017 18:15 Westminster Theatre, Chancellor's Building
CLASSICAL MUSIC AFTER 1945: STRUCTURE AND EXPRESSION
This lecture examines three moments in the story of classical music in the second half of the twentieth century. The first of these is the end of World War II in 1945, which ushered in an era that rejected the expressive conventions of tonal classical music in order to pursue structural integration in a manner that would not be tainted by the past. The second event is the social upheaval of 1968, which triggered a reaction against the narrowness of a purely structural approach and helped to facilitate a renewed engagement with older traditions. The third moment is the end of the Cold War in 1989, which led to a cessation of the post-war debates about systems and initiated a more relaxed exploration of a range of styles and expressive devices.
Professor Alastair Williams studied at City, University of London, and then joined the horn section of the RTE National Symphony Orchestra in Dublin. He subsequently pursued doctoral research at Magdalen College, Oxford, and in 2002 he was an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at the Humboldt University, Berlin. He is the author of New Music and the Claims of Modernity, Constructing Musicology and Music in Germany since 1968. In addition, he has received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy. He has achieved international recognition, first for deepening the cultural understanding of musical modernism, and second for applying critical theory to the discipline of musicology in ways that have shifted the direction of the discipline.
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