Thursday 22 April 2021

Eastwards Heterotopias of the Piano
Seminar by Nikos Ordoulidis

Department of Music of the University College Cork in Ireland


The present study constitutes part of a broader project which, in the form of postdoctoral research, is funded by the State Scholarships Foundation of Greece (IKY) and is titled ‘Eastwards heterotopias of the piano’ (2020–2022). The basic aim of the research project is the highlighting of a special and unexplored aspect of the piano: its role outside of its usual context, which is that of classical music. The research programme focuses on discography found in various musical realities within a broad geographical span (Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa). The modeness found in these repertoires constitutes a common feature, which through historical discography often outlines in-between places of the familiar stereotypical dipole forms (popular–scholarly, West–East, foreign–ours). The piano is present in the live performance but also in the discography of the repertoire in question. In the latter, we find it even in the time period of the mobile recording workshops, that is, right from the start of commercial discography (1900). In discography, the piano appears in its familiar ‘classic’ identity, but it also appears in alternative aesthetical attire: it performs a different repertoire in a different manner, constructing an autonomous entity. These alternative aesthetics, active even in the present, remained excluded from research. This lecture will introduce certain special examples from historical discography, at the same time examining the cultural framework of the regions in question.