Friday, 18 July 2014

Our Take on the Race, Class, Classical Music Debate

The race, class, classical music debate is a topic that is gathering increasing interest in the music and music education sector. Being discussed in physical and digital forums, as well as in the media, it appears that everyone has an opinion on this prominent dilemma of the British classical music industry (and the classical music industry as a whole).

I recently had the chance to share my views on the topic at the deeply thought-provoking Classical Music as Contemporary Socio-cultural Practice: Critical Perspectives Conference held at King's College, London on the 23 May 2014. The conference, which consisted of delegates from all corners of the music and musicological spectrum, was a melting pot of ideas on classical music's social positioning and heard from speakers, including Dr Douglas Lonie (Youth Music) and renown musicologist Professor Georgina Born, on a variety of topics of social relevance. Organised by Dr Christina Schraff (King's College, London) and Anna Bull (Goldsmiths) the conference spanned topics as diverse as HiP (historically informed performance) to gender issues and included insightful papers on the Sistema music education module too.

I chose to focus my contribution on the issue of race in the classical music industry - an issue that has intrigued me for some time and one which there is surprisingly little research on in the UK. There are, however several great music organisations committed to raising the profile of this topic and bringing it into a forum for serious discussion. Though, it is still often unexplored from a research perspective which I believe needs to change in order to fully understand the complexity of this social situation.

In the spirit of Musical-Things, today I would like to share just a few thoughts I have on the topic in the form of the conference paper that I gave in May. As each speaker had only 15 minutes, the thoughts are brief and largely undeveloped but I hope that it is a start of, what I hope could be in the future, an interesting research project:
Click to view
The Unchanging Face of Classical Music – Hadiya Morris
Do you have any thoughts on the issue? Is it even an issue at all? Please let me know by commenting below!

P.S. If you are interested in finding out more about the next conference taking place 17 October, keep an eye on the conference's Twitter page @cmcultures

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