Performer 2

The Performer-Composer in the second half of the 20 th century - registration

Event September 8, 2022

Conference registration

Content Schedule Registration

Performer-Composer conference

10-12 October 2022

In the beginning was the performer, can logically be argued, but when thinking of a performer who also composes, most often we turn this relationship on its head and call that musician a “composer-performer”. Nevertheless, though much of the classical music history has long been aware of this double identity, and despite the research possibilities in this realm engendered by developments in audio and video recording technology and software for analysing their outputs, this field has attracted little more than incidental academic attention. Performer-composers in particular from the post-WWII generation, a particularly diverse range of personalities including Boulez, Stockhausen, Brown, Tudor, Rzewski, Finnissy, Holliger, Globokar, and many others, have been neglected.

Beyond simple notions of idiomatic writing, or of the ethics involved in judging composers as professional  performers, questions abound as to how exactly composition and performance interrelate when expressed “in one”. Anton Webern’s own historically conditioned performance practice has revealed how shallow stylistic assumptions can be when based on the score alone, and how performance aesthetics are not necessarily synchronous with compositional advances. Can we extrapolate and extend such findings when evaluating music that is more experimentally composed, including that aimed perhaps at pushing the boundaries of stage practices, possibly in more than one discipline? Can we discern particular characteristics in composers’ approaches to interpretation, including sensibilities they bring to the process of interpreting the works of others? Might or should performers feel bound by the composer’s own performance(s)?

This conference seeks to investigate the creative duality of the one-wo/man performer-composer from the perspectives of artistic research, performance studies, and historical musicology, focussing on the second half of the 20th century, and looking for a variety of interests.

Confirmed keynote speakers: You Nakai, Kristin Norderval and Ian Pace.


DAY 1   Monday October 10, 2022

09:00 – 9:30  Registration

9:30 – 10:00  Welcome addresses

  • Luk Vaes (Orpheus Instituut) – Introduction to the Conference

10:00 – 12:30  Session 1 ICONS (chair: Bruno Forment, Orpheus Instituut)

  • Marco Fusi - Giacinto Scelsi, a creative performer
  • Luk Vaes - [A.]“Musik muβ leben”: opening the Pandora’s box of Mauricio Kagel’s own performance practices


  • Charles Corey - Performing by Necessity, Performing by Choice: Harry Partch’s Central Role in Performing His Music
  • Jonas Lundblad - An Exact Romantic in the Decades of the Avant-Garde: Messiaen as organist-performer in the 1950s

12:30 – 13:30  Lunch 

13:30 – 15:10  Session 2 CAGE (chair: Magno Caliman, Orpheus Instituut)

  • Clare Lesser - ‘Voice and Shocking Things’
  • Luk Vaes - [B.] Playing with John Cage’s Imaginary Landscape 5
  • Ann Warde - John Cage, pianist

15:10 – 16:00  Break

16:00 – 17:30  Session 3 TESTIMONIALS (chair: Magno Caliman, Orpheus Instituut)

  • Elliot Simpson - The Interpretive Field of Necessity
  • Audrey Riley - Conversations with Gavin Bryars
  • Roger Redgate - Disseminative Notation and the Impurities of Performance

17:30 – 18:30  KEYNOTE 1/ You Nakai (chair: Luk Vaes, Orpheus Instituut)

  • You Nakai - An Instrument That Only I Know How to Play

20:30 – 22:00 Concert

DAY 2   Tuesday October 11, 2022

9:30 – 10:00  Registration

10:00 – 12:00  Session 4 CONDUCTING (chair: Paulo de Assis, Orpheus Instituut)

  • Sara Caneva - With or without? Visual cues, lag, cognition: the idiomatic conductor in experimental composition.
  • Luca Sutto - Form shaping in Penderecki’s gestural practice
  • Anders Førisdal - Trond Reinholdtsen – composer on stage

12:30 – 13:30  Lunch

13:30 – 15:10  Session 5 ELECTRO-ACOUSTIC (chair: Bruno Forment, Orpheus

  • Anders Førisdal - Bjørn Fongaard – guitarist-composer
  • Neil O’Connor - Reconnections: The Composer, Electroacoustic Music & Modular Synthesis Revival
  • Juan Parra - Opaque technologies: Performative applications of technological experimentation in early electronic music

15:10 – 15:30  Break

15:30 – 16:30  KEYNOTE 2/ Ian Pace (chair: Luk Vaes, Orpheus Instituut)

  • Ian Pace - Two Contemporary Composer-Pianists: Michael Finnissy and Frederic Rzewski

16:30 – 17:30  Session 6 ALL ABOUT THAT BASS (chair: Paulo de Assis, Orpheus Instituut

  • Jonathan Heillbron - Reactivating Gstüss: Incorporating Fernando Grillo’s Instrumental Practice
  • Ralph Lewis - Johnny Reinhard and Performer-Composer Embodiment of Microtonal Possibility

19:00 DINNER

DAY 3   Wednesday October 12, 2022

9:30 – 10:00  Registration

10:00 – 12:00  Session 7 LECTURE-RECITALS (chair: Luk Vaes, Orpheus Instituut)

  • Johann Vacher - Expanding Stockhausen
  • Ji Liu - Programming Underrepresented Works as Creative Process: A Case Study of Creative Programming with Schubert’s Unfinished Piano Sonatas and Rzewski’s Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues
  • William Texeira & André Micheletti - Concrete Experimentation as a Mode of Musical Invention

12:00 – 13:00  Lunch

13:00 – 14:00  KEYNOTE 3/ Kristin Norderval (chair: Luk Vaes, Orpheus Instituut)

  • Kristin Norderval - The return of the performer-composer: a gate-opening genre - How American performer-composers from Laurie Anderson to Pamela Z have changed the face of American contemporary music.

14:00 – 15:00  Session 8 WORKSHOP

  • Luk Vaes - [C.] An Imaginary Kagel-scape

15:00 – 16:00 Closing remarks


The colloquium is limited to 45 participants. Registration is required via this link:

Registration fee: € 100 (incl. lunches, coffee breaks and conference dinner) / € 75 (students, incl. PhD students) / € 0 (presenters, docARTES students and Orpheus related researchers)

Registration deadline: October 3, 2020 (23:59)

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