Viol conference at UC Berkeley, March 2024

The Spirit of Gambo: the state of viol research

March 15–17, 2024, University of California, Berkeley

Submission deadline: October 15

Following its renewed popularity in the second half of the twentieth century, the viola da gamba (viol) family is firmly ensconced within twenty-first century musical life. Quality recordings and critical editions of key repertories are readily available, the instrument is taught at many universities, and a global community of amateur players is thriving. But what of scholarly research into the viol, its music, and the cultures of playing surrounding it?

The Spirit of Gambo: the state of viol research seeks to assess the current state of viol research and suggest new paths forward for scholars and performers. The three-day conference, co-chaired by David H. Miller (University of California, Berkeley) and Zoe Weiss (University of Denver), will include paper sessions, a keynote address by Kate van Orden (Professor of Music at Harvard University), a concert, and open playing sessions. Selected papers will be published in a special issue of the Journal of the Viola da Gamba Society of America.

We welcome proposals for individual papers (20 minutes), roundtables of 2-4 papers (10 minutes per participant), and lecture-recitals (40 minutes) that speak to the viol family, related instruments (e.g. lirone, baryton), and/or related repertories. We are particularly interested in work that pushes viol scholarship past its traditional bounds, including but not limited to:

  • Viols outside of Europe and North America
  • Forgotten histories of viol repertoires and/or players
  • 20th-century reworkings of viol music
  • The viol’s place in the HIP movement
  • Composing new music for the viol
  • New analytical approaches to viol music

Submission details are as follows:

  • Abstracts of up to 300 words for individual papers and lecture-recitals, and up to 600 words for roundtables, should be submitted to [email protected].
    • Proposals for roundtables should include a brief description of the roundtable’s topic as well as abstracts for individual presentations, and should be submitted as a single document.
  • All submissions must include contact information for all participants in the body of the email, while abstracts should be submitted as attachments without any identifying information.
  • Submissions are due October 15; acceptance decisions will be communicated by November 1.

Questions can be directed to [email protected].

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