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“Above all, music must move the heart...” C. P. E. Bach

The purpose of the Society for Eighteenth-Century Music is to promote the study and performance of music of the eighteenth century. The Society provides a forum where scholars and performers can further their knowledge of music, history and interrelated arts of the period and serves as a resource to facilitate and encourage collaboration.

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Clementi and the British Musical Scene: 1780–1830
organized by
Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini (Lucca)

In collaboration with
Ad Parnassum Journal
Italian National Edition of Muzio Clementi’s Works

24–26 November 2015
Complesso Monumentale Di San Micheletto - Lucca

The period from circa 1780-1830 was once considered the ‘dark age’ of British music. The presence of non-British composers was acknowledged, as was musical activity in general, but the assumption that native British composers produced little of significance forestalled sustained research into the period. More recent scholarship, assisted by a more multivalent, less ‘composer-centric’, approach to musical history, has largely overturned this view. The series of Nineteenth-Century British Music Studies and other major publications have charted the rise of training institutions, the acceleration in music publishing, the development of instrument technology, and complex interactions have been traced between composers, publishers, instrument manufacturers and business entrepreneurs, all responding to the dynamics of social and economic change wrought by the industrial revolution. At the same time, the importance of geographical centres apart from London has been acknowledged; and finally, the compositional output of native British composers or European figures active in the British arena has become more accessible through recordings and scholarly editions.
One figure central to these developments has been Muzio Clementi (1752–1832). With his multi-dimensional career as composer, teacher, instrument manufacturer, publisher and (until about 1790) performer, Clementi, based in England for much of his life, encompasses the rich and multi-facetted world of early-nineteenth-century British music; and with business ventures extending in numerous international directions and through his sustained contribution to the evolution of instrument technology, Clementi embodies the enterprise and dynamism of the Industrial Revolution itself. As a composer Clementi produced a body of solo piano and chamber compositions and various pedagogical works that culminated in the multi-volume Gradus ad Parnassum. Particularly after 1800 he also produced a substantial number of (now largely lost) orchestral works. During the years that Clementi developed his business interests as publisher and instrument manufacturer he was also preoccupied with musical education, leading to his collaboration with figures like Giovanni Battista Viotti (1755–1824) in an initial attempt to establish an Academy of Music in London. The recent publication of Clementi’s correspondence, edited by David Rowland, has shed new light on Clementi’s ever-expanding network of contacts with almost the full range of eminent musicians on the British scene and beyond.
Stimulated by and with the aim of building on recent scholarship, this conference examines British musical life at the turn of the nineteenth century, encompassing the rise of institutions such as the Philharmonic Society and the Academy of Music; the dynamics of music publishing and instrument technology and the cross-currents of European and British compositional styles. With Clementi at the centre, the conference examines the contributions of late-eighteenth-century figures like Viotti, but also moves forward in time to encompass William Sterndale Bennett (1816–1875), whose bicentennial falls in 2016. The aim is to build on recent research into Clementi and early nineteenth-century British music more generally, stimulated by initiatives like the conference Muzio Clementi: Cosmopolita della Musica (Rome), and the Italian National Edition of Muzio Clementi’s Works, in motion since 2008. A mixed methodology is encouraged, and in particular, comparisons with the activities and compositional output of native British composers. Major themes are suggested below, but other topics are also welcome:

· Contemporary British music retail and instrument manufacturing
· The music-publishing trade in Britain and Europe
· The rise of performing and training institutions in early-nineteenth-century Britain
· The rise of the piano and the expanding market for pedagogical works
· Changes in Keyboard Performance Styles
· The piano compositions of Clementi and his British-based contemporaries
· British symphonic music: symphonies by Clementi, Samuel Wesley, Cipriani Potter, William Sterndale Bennett and others
· The existence of an ‘English’ concerto tradition: Jan Ladislav Dussek, Johann Baptist Cramer, William Sterndale Bennett, John Field and others
· The revival of ‘early’ music in nineteenth-century Britain: Clementi, Samuel Wesley, William Sterndale Bennett and others

Programme Committee:

· Roberto Illiano, Lucca
· Fulvia Morabito, Lucca
· David Rowland, Milton Keynes, UK
· Luca Lévi Sala, Poitiers
· Rohan H. Stewart-MacDonald, Warwickshire, UK

Keynote Speakers:

· Simon McVeigh (Goldsmiths College, London)
· Leon Plantinga (Yale University, New Haven, CT)

The official languages of the conference are English, French and Italian. Papers selected at the conference will be published in a miscellaneous volume. Papers are limited to twenty minutes in length, allowing time for questions and discussion. Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words and one page of biography. All proposals should be submitted by email no later than Sunday 12 April 2015 to With your proposal please include your name, contact details (postal address, e-mail and telephone number) and (if applicable) your affiliation. The committee will make its final decision on the abstracts by the end of May 2015, and contributors will be informed immediately thereafter. Further information about the programme, registration, travel and accommodation will be announced after that date. For any additional information, please contact:
Dr. Roberto Illiano

The Sterling E. Murray Award for Student Travel, named in honor of SECM’s founding president, was established in 2011 to encourage and enable college and university students currently enrolled as full-time undergraduate or graduate students in accredited academic programs and having career interests that relate to the mission of the Society for Eighteenth- Century Music, to attend the Society’s biennial meetings. The award consists of $500 to support travel expenses as well as a student membership in the Society for one year. Award recipients are announced in the Society’s newsletter and recognized at the meeting that they attend. Further information and an application form can be found here.

The “Bononcini Project” of the Fondazione Arcadia promotes the music of Giovanni Bononcini with a web site, an online works catalog and downloadable scores. Further information can be found at their web site.

SECM in Brooklyn 2010: Topics in Eighteenth-Century Music I has been published by Steglein Publishing. This volume prints ten papers read at conference of our society in Brooklyn, NY in 2010. The book is the SECM 2013 membership gift. Further information about the title can be found at Steglein’s web site:

Haydn and His Contemporaries has been published by Steglein Publishing. This volume prints thirteen papers read at the joint conference of our society and the Haydn Society of North America in Claremont, CA in 2008. The book is the SECM 2011 membership gift. Further information about the title can be found at Steglein’s web site:

A list of dissertations currently being written or recently completed on topics pertaining to music in the eighteenth century can be found here.

With the help of the RIT Press and Peter Alexander, the Haydn Society of North America has re-started the HSNA Newsletter, but now as an updatable electronic newsletter that works together with our HAYDN online journal, and has RSS feed capabilities. Please go to and click on HSNA Newsletter to read the current content. To submit items to the newsletter's editor Peter Alexander, send them to

The complete text of Charles Burney’s The Present State of Music in France and Italy, 2nd, corrected edition, (London: T. Becket and Co., 1773), is now available here. Access is free and open to anyone.

SECM members get 20% discount on Eighteenth-Century Music and Journal of Musicology

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