Panel Discussion Expanding Cultural Inclusivity in New Music

keyvisual panel Bongani photo: Kevin Grady

Mon, 10/10/2022

10:00 AM EDT


with perspectives from the Global South, the US and Europe

Register for the panel here:
Register for Zoom link In the opening panel of the two-day symposium "Diversity in New Music Repertoire," a group of international experts discuss key questions and share their motivation for engaging with them. Why are institutions and protagonist from the global North still dominating the new music scene in the field of classical music?  What can be done to make it easier for composers and performers with non-European cultural backgrounds to contribute to the current international musical life? Are there initiatives that have managed to change the status quo? What are the challenges that arise when composers and musicians of different cultural and aestetic practices work together and how can they be met constructively?

After short introductory statements by the panellists, moderator Bongani Ndondana-Breen will lead a discussion that addresses specific questions. Questions from the audience will be incorporated into the discussion.

Bongani Ndondana-Breen
, Composer and Lecturer (South Africa)
Harald Kisiedu, Musician, Musicologist, Lecturer, Researcher (Germany/US)
Jon Silpayamanant, Musician, Composer, Lecturer, Researcher (US/Thailand)

Bongani Ndodana-Breen Photo: Kevin Grady Bongani Ndodana-Breen has written a wide range of music encompassing symphonic work and opera. He is the composer of Winnie, The Opera based on the life of Winnie Mandela and Harmonia Ubuntu premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra on their historic tour of Africa. According to The New York Times his “delicately made music - airy, spacious, terribly complex but never convoluted - has a lot to teach the Western wizards of metric modulation and layered rhythms about grace and balance.” He graduated with a PhD (Music Composition) from Rhodes University and was appointed to fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University (2019-20) and the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University (2021-22).

Ndodana-Breen’s awards include the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Music. Ndodana-Breen has received commissions from Wigmore Hall (London), Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston), Minnesota Orchestra, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, Vancouver Recital Society, Madam Walker Theatre (Indianapolis), Luminato Festival (Toronto), University of South Africa, Johannesburg Philharmonic and Haydn Festival Eisenstadt.

Harald Harald Kisiedu (c) Kisiedu Kisiedu is a historical musicologist and received his doctorate from Columbia University. His research interests include Afrodiasporic classical and experimental composers, jazz as a global phenomenon, music and politics, improvisation, transnationalism, and Wagner. His writings have appeared in WIRE, Grove Dictionary of American Music, Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation, Journal der Künste, and Darmstädter Beiträge zur Jazzforschung. Kisiedu is also a saxophonist and has performed with Branford Marsalis, George Lewis, and Henry Grimes. He has made recordings with the NY-based ensemble Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber. Kisiedu is a lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück. He is the author of European Echoes: Jazz Experimentalism in Germany, 1950-1975 published by Wolke Verlag and is currently working on a co-edited volume on Afrodiasporic composers of contemporary music.

Born in Jon Silpayamanant (c) Silpayamanant Udon Thani, Thailand, Jon Silpayamanant is an intercultural multi-instrumentalist, composer, and music educator based in the greater Louisville and Kentuckiana area. As a biracial Thai American with musical families on both sides of the world, he has been navigating musical code switching and bimusicality for much of his life and uses that experience to inform his understanding of how music ecosystems interact, hybridize, and create systems of exclusion.

Silpayamanant was the host of "World of Classical," a three part BBC Radio 3 feature exploring the history of music through a global lens. His chapter in the collected volume "Voices for Change in the Classical Music Profession: New ideas for tackling inequalities and exclusions" (Oxford University Press 2023) explores issues of re-training classical musicians towards polymusicality and hybridisation. Much of his current research is exploring and highlighting how forced musical labor was used as a tool for assimilation and colonialism especially during the centuries history of slave orchestras and residential schools for Indigenous peoples globally.