23.07.2014 - UNESCO Venice Office

The International Musicological Society brings the Cantus Planus conference to Venice

©Helsinki University Library - Graduale Aboense, hymn book of Turku, Finland. 14th-15th century

From 28 July to 1 August 2014, the island of San Servolo in Venice will play host to the 17th meeting of the IMS Study Group 'Cantus Planus', organized in partnership with the Fondazione Ugo e Olga Levi, an acclaimed Venice-based foundation focusing on musicological studies, and with the participation of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy).

Cantus Planus is an official Study Group within the International Musicological Society (IMS). Founded in Basel in 1927 with the aim of promoting musicological research through international cooperation, the IMS is a member of the International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences (ICPHS), an NGO recognized by UNESCO. Its purpose is the advancement of musicological research in a thriving environment based on broad international cooperation

The group’s enquiries center on the history and practice of liturgical chant traditions in Eastern and Western Christendom. They take the form of seminars, research publications and joint projects that promote academic cooperation between researchers and specialists from around the world.

To date, the Cantus Planus conference has met 15 times, 5 during the IMS general congress and 10 independently. The 2014 International Conference is the first to be hosted in Italy. It will take place in the Palazzo Giustiniani Lolin on the Grand Canal of Venice, a city chosen for its rich cultural and musical history and its long-standing role as a meeting place of East and West.  

The meeting will bring together over 90 scholars and researchers from around the world, including musicologists from South-East European states (Slovenia, Greece) and other European countries. They will engage in academic debate, develop joint research projects and suggest new areas of interest. The sessions will touch on topics such as ‘Venice’, ‘Venerating the Saints’, ‘Byzantine and Western Connections’ and ‘Catalogue of Medieval Music Manuscripts in Dalmatia’. The conference will include three concerts, two on San Servolo and one in San Francesco della Vigna.

Participants will also discuss the creation of an online database that can be accessed by all members, allowing them to share their research. The group’s current chair, James Borders from the University of Michigan, will then present a report on the group’s findings to the International Musicological Society.

Support for the meeting is further provided by the Studium Generale Marcianum, a foundation promoting cultural and religious initiatives in Venice, and the Department for Historical, Artistic, Musical and Demo-anthropologic Heritage of the University of Padua.

The Fondazione Ugo e Olga Levi and the University of Padua have agreed to oversee publication of the proceedings, making them accessible to the broader international community. An exhibition of manuscripts with Bizantine musical notation, linked to the conference, will be held from 19 July to 1 of August in the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana.

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