Messiaen Conference in Boston

This weekend (October 12-13, 2007) is a fascinating international conference of the Boston University Messiaen Project entitled “Messiaen the Theologian.” Musicologist and organ virtuoso, Professor Andrew Shenton is the conference organizer.

French composer Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) was inspired by Asian musical traditions, and his work has been quite influential among leading Asian and European composers.

Today I attended an insightful presentation by Wai-Ling Cheong (from Chinese University of Hong Kong) on Messiaen’s use of Japanese gagaku music and the inspiration that the Torii of Miyajima (pictured below) offered to his work:

Olivier Messiaen was among the most innovative composers of the twentieth century, and his creative output represents an important example of how European art music has increasingly incorporated elements from musical traditions of other parts of the world. This is a topic of great interest to those grappling with the issues of hybridity and transculturation in musical creativity and education.

I encourage any musicians and scholars interested in such topics to attend the remainder of this conference.

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