The Artist vs. The Audience
Conservatorium of Music
This symposium is part of the Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Colloquia.
This series of colloquia perpetuates the legacy and cultural impact of Melburnian music patron and publisher Louise Hanson-Dyer (1884–1962) – founder of Éditions de l’Oiseau-Lyre – by bringing cutting-edge issues in music research to a public forum for discussion and debate.
Music history is littered with examples of works now considered masterpieces which initially were rejected by audiences and critics. In the politically fraught world of mid-19th-century Germany, such bruising encounters were common for those of progressive inclinations. Painted as Zukunftsmusiker (musicians of the future, i.e. not acceptable at the time), composers such as Liszt and Wagner took the fight to their opponents by writing pamphlets justifying their art. They refused to be trammelled by existing norms and appealed to the concept of progress as justification for their departures from orthodoxy in matters of form and harmony. This colloquium explores this contested terrain in the aftermath of the 1848–9 revolutions, interrogating how both sides understood the relationship between composers and the audiences of the day.