Visitors from across the globe attended the 4th Tracking the Creative Process in Music conference held in Huddersfield for the first time

CENTURIES of musical creativity came in for analysis by experts from around the world when the University of Huddersfield hosted the latest in a sequence of international conferences.

There were 90 delegates at the three-day event titled Tracking the Creative Process in Music (TCPM).  It was the fourth in a bi-annual series that began in 2011 in Lille, with Montreal and Paris being the subsequent venues, leading up to Huddersfield in 2017.

story continues below...

Conference organisers (l-r) Huddersfield's Dr Frédéric Dufeu, and Professor Michael Clarke with IRCAM's Nicolas Donin

The University is home to the Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM), and three of its members – Professor Michael Clarke, Dr Frédéric Dufeu and Sam Gillies – were among the organising committee for the latest TCPM.  They were joined by Nicolas Donin, of the Paris-based research institute IRCAM, who originated the conference series.

The aim of TCPM is to bring together researchers who examine musical creativity and sound creation through the ages.  In addition to its world-renowned expertise in contemporary music, the University of Huddersfield also has specialists in the research and performance of early music, and one of the evening lecture recitals at the conference was given by the viol players Professor John Bryan, Alison Crum and Roy Marks.

Professor Bryan has carried out a five-year research project into The Making of the Viol in Sixteenth Century England, leading to a book on the subject.  There was also a performance by violinist Linda Jankowska, of music by her fellow University of Huddersfield PhD student Pablo Vergara.  After both recitals there were discussions on the creative process and issues such as the nature of recreated historical instruments and the relationship between performers and composers of contemporary music.

Keynote speakers at the conference were Dr Laudan Nooshin of City, University of London, whose specialities include Iranian music; and Professor Gianmario Borio of the University of Pavia, who is a leading authority on 20th century music.

story continues below...

Conference contributors (l-r) composer Howard Skempton, early music trio Alison Crum, Roy Marks and Professor John Byran and keynote speakers Professor Gianmario Borio and Dr Laudan Nooshin

Conference sessions had a wide range of themes, including Stravinsky, electroacoustic music, dance, improvisation, ethno-musicology, songwriting, jazz and the performance practice using technology.

Delegates included musicologists, composers and performers and they came from throughout the UK and Europe plus countries that included the USA, Canada and Australia.  Most of the sessions took place in the University of Huddersfield’s Oastler Building, but on the final afternoon the conference relocated to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.  This was an attempt make links with the creative process in the visual arts, said Professor Clarke.

The Sculpture Park’s auditorium was the venue for a session probing the work of the composer Howard Skempton, who attended in person and gave a performance.

Several papers at TCPM were presented by University of Huddersfield researchers.  They included conference co-organisers Professor Clarke and Dr Dufeu, who described the outcome of their recently completed project on Technology and Creativity in Electroacoustic Music.  They now embark on a £2 million European Research Council-funded project that that aims to transform the analysis of music.

Professor Clarke commented: “The conference comprised a rich variety of contributions by delegates from around the world.  It was a tremendous opportunity for us to take full advantage of the new facilities we have in the Oastler building, something which greatly impressed our visiting delegates.”