ISME 29th World Conference, Beijing China




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Preliminary presenter schedule now available.

A time-table for the week and a sample of a typical day are also available


ISME World Conference 2010: Keynote Speakers

Plenary Sessions

Beijing, 2010 logo

One of the highlights of ISME Conferences are the presentations at Plenary Sessions by invited Keynote Speakers. Work is in progress to present to delegates some exciting and inspiring speakers, so watch this space for further information.

Chen Yi

My Musical Journey to the World

Chen Yi,
Distinguished Professor at the Conservatory of the University of Missouri-Kansas City
Changjiang Scholar Visiting Professor at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music


Chen YiI want to express my great gratitude to the ISME for giving me this opportunity to share my experience as a composer and a teacher, with all of my colleagues and friends who participate in our 29th World Conference in Beijing.

I grew up in China, and was trained as a violinist in classical music. I have gone through the Cultural Revolution when I was a teenager, from which I have gained the knowledge of the wider life and music of my homeland. I have also witnessed a part of the changes during the 30 years of reform and opening up since 1978. In my speech I would like to review the music education that I have received in China (study in childhood, reeducation and Beijing Opera orchestra experience, and the study at the Central Conservatory).

Now I have lived and worked in the multicultural society in the United States since 1986, my compositions attempt to distill the essential character and spirit from Chinese and Western traditional music, in accordance with new concepts without musical boundaries. I wish to compose more and more exciting and meaningful works, to bridge the cultures of East and West, to share my ideas with others through my musical creation, in order to improve the understanding between peoples from different cultural backgrounds, for the peace of our world in the present time and in the future. I will introduce some of my new compositions, performed by the Cleveland Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, by Yo-Yo Ma, by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London on the Beijing Olympic opening day, by Evelyn Glennie & the Singapore Symphony, and by the San Francisco Girls Chorus.

As to our musical education, I enthusiastically encourage our young students in America, in China, and in every country across the world, we learn to treasure our traditions and explore new adventures, we learn how to learn at the school. We need to love people, love nature, love our society, and work hard in our community. Everything coexisting in the world would be an inspiration for our innovative creation in our own voice. To all of our young students, you are the hope of the future of our world!

Biographical Note

As a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries, Dr. Chen Yi was born in 1953 in Guangzhou, China. She is the Distinguished Professor at the Conservatory of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the recipient of the prestigious Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her music is published by Theodore Presser Company, commissioned and performed world wide by such musicians and ensembles as Yo-Yo Ma, Evelyn Glennie, Yehudi Menuhin, the Cleveland Orchestra, the New York and the Royal Philharmonic, the Sachsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Seattle, Singapore and Pacific Symphony, Carnegie Hall, Lucerne Festival, and the China National Center for the Performing Arts, recorded on Bis, New Albion, New World, Teldec (with a Grammy Award sung by Chanticleer), Telarc, Angle, Nimbus, Albany, Quartz, Naxos, Koch & China Record Co., among others. Ms. Chen has received bachelor and master degrees in music composition (1983 and 1986) from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China, and Doctor of Musical Arts degree (1993) from Columbia University in the City of New York. Major composition teachers have been Profs. Wu Zu-qiang, Chou Wen-chung and Mario Davidovsky. She has been elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2005, and appointed to the Changjiang Scholar Visiting Professor at the CCOM by the China Ministry of Education in 2006.

Bruno Nettl

Music Education And Ethnomusicology: A (Usually) Harmonious Relationship

Bruno Nettl,
Professor Emeritus of Music and Anthropology
School of Music
University of Illinois


Bruno NettlThis address explores the relationship between music education (broadly defined) and ethnomusicology from a number of perspectives, including that of the author's sixty years of personal experience. Beginning with the varied and changing definition and conception of ethnomusicology and its ramifications in several of the world's cultures, the discussion turns to a historical account of the effects of ethnomusicology on music education and of the uses of educational perspectives in the development of ethnomusicology. The role of music education in the Society for Ethnomusicology and the ICTM, and the discovery of teaching and learning as an aspect of musical ethnography, will be considered.

The major portion of this talk is devoted to brief exploration of six issues shared by the fields of music education and ethnomusicology: 1) questions of aesthetics and the importance of a relativistic perspective ; 2) the nature of the musical world -- a world of "music" or of "musics"; 3) the significance of tradition and authenticity in education and in ethnomusicological research; 4) the uses of music to discover and to teach culture; 5) the understanding of musical change, how to discover, evaluate, and teach it; 6) the role of music as an expression of society and of the individual.

Each of these points will take as its departure from reference to an experience of the author's own studies, and several will be illustrated with appropriate recorded musical examples. Hopefully, there will be a conclusion regarding the future productive relationship of the two disciplines in their parallel tasks of comprehending the music of the world.

Biographical Note

Bruno Nettl was born in Prague, received his PhD at Indiana University, and spent most of his career teaching at the University of Illinois, where he is now Professor Emeritus of Music and Anthropology. He has served as visiting professor for a term or more at several universities, including Harvard, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Carlton College, and the University of Minnesota. His main research interests have been ethnomusicological theory and method, music of Native American cultures, and classical music of Iran. He has been concerned in recent years with the study of improvisatory musics, and with the intellectual history of ethnomusicology. Among his books, the following are recent: Blackfoot Musical Thought: Comparative Perspectives (1989), Heartland Excursions: Ethnomusicological Reflections on Schools of Music (1995), a revised edition of The Study of Ethnomusicology (2005); and Encounters in Ethnomusicology (2002), a professional memoir. He has served as president of the Society for Ethnomusicology and in 2002 completed a second term as editor of its journal, Ethnomusicology. He has several honorary doctorates and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and currently holds a Mellon Foundation Emeritus Fellowship.