Oxford-Princeton Partnership

In 2008 the Faculty of Music was successful in its bid for seed-corn funding from the John Fell Fund to establish a research partnership in music theory and analysis with our colleagues in the Music Department at Princeton University.

The Oxford–Princeton Partnership aims to encourage closer research collaborations on projects of mutual concern between colleagues in the two institutions; to rethink definitions and boundaries of musical analysis in the context of the historical, critical and interdisciplinary work of both departments; to produce joint publications emerging from our annual symposia; and to consolidate Oxford as a leading UK centre for music theory.

The first Oxford-Princeton Analysis Symposium took place in Oxford, 14-16 April 2010, on the theme of ‘Analytical Encounters’. While members of both departments have interests in the history of theory and its institutions, (i.e., in meta-theoretical issues), our principal concern during the Symposium was to explore analysis as a practical discipline by actually doing analysis. The results led to rich and wide-ranging discussions of issues and approaches. In a plenary session we further discussed trans-Atlantic similarities and differences of approach, as well as disciplinary trends and prospects.

Presentations were made by: V. Kofi Agawu (Mozart), Scott Burnham (Schumann), Eric Clarke (Goldfrapp), Jonathan Cross (Birtwistle), Laurence Dreyfus (Gibbons), Daniel Grimley (Sibelius) and Elizabeth Eva Leach (Machaut).

The following graduate students also participated in the Symposium: Johanna Frymoyer, Christopher Matthay (Princeton); James Munk, Alberto Sanna (Oxford).

The second Oxford-Princeton Analysis Symposium took place at Princeton University, 17–19 March 2011. Faculty members Eric Clarke, Jonathan Cross and Laurence Dreyfus, along with graduate students Simon Desbruslais and Maria Witek, took part in another three intensive days of presentations and discussions on and around analytical/theoretical topics. The aim of the Symposium was to share and explore current ideas in progress.

The speakers from Oxford were Eric Clarke and Maria Witek (on analysing rhythm), Jonathan Cross (on the ‘Apothéose’ from Stravinsky’s Apollon musagète) and Laurence Dreyfus (on ‘Es ist vollbracht’ from Bach’s St John Passion); the speakers from Princeton were Kofi Agawu (on the ‘Adagietto’ from Mahler’s 5th Symphony), Scott Burnham (on Mozart’s Requiem and Ave Verum), Noriko Manabe (on hip hop) and Dmitri Tymoczko (on Schubert’s Quartett-satz). Graduate students from both institutions also gave short presentations on their current projects.

Discussion of future collaborations between faculty and graduates of the two departments are currently in progress.

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(Picture: Oxford-Princeton Analysis Symposium I, Faculty of Music, Oxford, April 2010)