Unlimited Voices  限りなき声

Contemporary Vocal Music in the Era of Globalization


International Conference and Concert
March 8-9, 2008


The University of Tokyo
Institute for Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies

Conference Host
"The role of machines in music culture: Analysis of historical and current aspects and perspectives"
JSPS-sponsored research project; The University of Tokyo, Institute for Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies

Conference Chair
Christian Utz, Visiting Professor, The University of Tokyo, Institute for Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies
クリスチャン・ウッツ (東京大学客員教授,グラーツ芸術大学教授)

Piano Committee, The University of Tokyo
The Musicological Society of Japan, Kanto Section

kindly supported by Goethe-Institut Japan in Tokyo

Conference Location
The University of Tokyo, Komaba Campus, Conference Hall, 1st Floor, Building 18

Program / Abstracts (435 KB)
Flyer (3.96 MB)

This conference explores the relationships between the human voice, vocal music and cultural identity in Asian and Western traditions and the multiple ways in which they have been transformed in new music of the 20th and 21st centuries. The presented papers approach the topic from different angles, notably vocal technique and aesthetics, text/phonetics-music-relationships, historical sources for modern and contemporary vocal music, and areas of conflict between vocal music and cultural identity.

As part of a large-scale Westernization in East Asia, the combination of text and music and the aesthetics of vocal styles have been issues of controversial discussion since the early 20th century. The massive influx of Western music lead to ubiquitous vocal forms with Asian text sung to often purely Western musical idioms – combinations that were frequently triggered or influenced by political agenda. Most vocal styles of traditional East Asian genres, in contrast, have proved too idiosyncratic for such a politicized articulation of identity. Their "otherness" has only more recently been considered by composers as starting points of an accentuation of cultural difference. Such references to Asian vocal traditions vary from a concise modelling of identifiable styles to more hybrid mixtures that often are indebted to unique performer experiences and abilities. Composers in the West have equally called into question traditional Western vocal aesthetics and practices by exploring the diverse layers of the human voice systematically, often in connection with explicitly anti-traditional text-music-relationships or de-semanticizations of the phonetic material.



  Saturday, March 8, 2008 10 am - 5.45 pm

10.00 Welcoming Statement

10.15 Introduction: 山上揚平Yōhei Yamakami; 中村仁Jin Nakamura / 梶野絵奈Ena Kajino; Stefan Menzel; 白井史人Fumito Shirai [students’ presentation]: From Sounds to Identities. Theoretical Models of Globalization and their Relevance for 20th Century Music

I: Fragments of a Global History of Vocal Music (chair: Hermann Gottschewski)

11.00 Christian Utz (University for Music and Dramatic Arts Graz, Austria): Multiple Voices across Space and Time. Methodological Draft for an Intercultural History of Vocal Music

11.45 Steven Nuss (Colby College, Waterville, ME): Cross-Cultural Inversions Around Language. An Approach to Hearing and Not-Hearing Across Japanese Nō and Contemporary Western Vocal Music (with an Oblique Glance back at Levi-Strauss)

12.30 Lunch Break

II: Sources of Vocalization: Ancient and Contemporary Trajectories (chair: Steven Nuss)

14.30 Steven G. Nelson (Hosei University Tokyo): Heightened Vocalization at the Japanese Heian Court. References to Vocal Music in "The Tale of Genji" (Genji Monogatari)

15.15 高橋悠治 Yūji Takahashi (Tokyo): Lost Melodies from Ancient Times. The Vocal Parts in my Works with Japanese Instruments [panel discussion with Christian Utz]

16.00 Coffee Break

III: Historical Snap-Shots of Vocal Music in Japan before 1945 (chair: Akeo Okada)

16.15 Hermann Gottschewski (University of Tokyo): Vocal Music and Cultural Identity in Early 20th Century Japan

17.00長木誠司 Seiji Chōki (University of Tokyo): Vocal Music in Japan during World War II

18.30 Concert, Tokyo University, Komaba Campus, Komaba Communication Plaza, 2F: Music Practice Room
東京大学駒場キャンパス駒場コミュニケーション・プラザ 北館,2F,音楽実習室

田中悠美子、太棹三味線、語り Yumiko Tanaka, futozao-shamisen / voice
西陽子、筝、唄 Yōko Nishi, koto / voice

traditional music for futozao-shamisen, koto and voice.
works by Yūji Takahashi, Michio Miyagi
0 Program

Sunday, March 9, 2008
10 am - 6 pm

IV: Grain(s) in the Voice: Vocal Music and Identity in Asia and the West (chair: Christian Utz)

10.00 Jörn Peter Hiekel (Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber Dresden, Germany): Ritualization and Transformation in Vocal Works by Helmut Lachenmann, Giacinto Scelsi and Hans Zender

10.45 劉長江 Frederick Lau (University of Hawai'i at Mānoa): Voice, culture, and ethnicity in contemporary Chinese compositions

11.30 Coffee Break

11.45 Heekyung Lee (Seoul National University): Rejuvenating Tradition. Metamorphosis of Traditional Vocal Music Idioms in Korean Contemporary Music

12.30 Lunch Break

V: Composer's Voices: Language as a Musical Resource (chair: Frederick Lau)

14.30 福中冬子 Fuyuko Fukunaka (Keio University Tokyo): “The eyes that never close”. The Instrumental Voice and the Embodied Voice in the Operas of Toshio Hosokawa

15.15 岡田暁生 Akeo Okada (Kyoto University): The Interconnection between Vocal and Instrumental Layers in Masahiro Miwa’s Gesänge des Ostens [“Songs of the East”] (1992)

16.00 Coffee Break

16.15 近藤春恵 Harue Kondoh (Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts): On my Concept of »Monodrama« – A Dialogue between Music and the Japanese Language

17.00 Panel Discussion: Musical Identity and the Human Voice (chair: Hermann Gottschewski)


  webdesign: christian utz ©2008 * update: March 01, 2008

The University of Tokyo
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Department of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies / Comparative Literature and Culture
3-8-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8902, Japan

〒153-8902 東京都目黒区駒場3-8-1

TEL/FAX: +81-3-5454-6352