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POSTPONED - Visiting Scholar - Prof Antonio Baldassarre - Public Lecture 2


Who are Shakespeare, Mozart and Van Gogh? The Revival of Biographical Research: Methods, Traditions

Start Date

5th Oct 2016 5:30pm

End Date

5th Oct 2016 6:30pm


Room 113, Conservatorium of Music; 5 Sandy Bay Road, Hobart

We wish to advise that due to circumstances beyond our control, Prof. Antonio Baldassarre is unable to join us to present his scheduled public lectures at the University of Tasmania. We are currently in negotiations with Prof. Baldassarre for the public lectures to be presented at a later date. We will advise details once known.

The University of Tasmania Conservatorium of Music in association with the Tasmanian Chapter of the Musicological Society of Australia presents:

Who are Shakespeare, Mozart and Van Gogh? The Revival of Biographical Research: Methods, Traditions and Challeng

a public lecture by Prof. Antonio Baldassarre

5.30pm - 6.30pm | Wednesday 5 October 2016
Room 113, Conservatorium of Music
5 Sandy Bay Road, Hobart


About this public lecture:
Biography is a very popular, yet extremely controversial, genre of scholarly research. In his critical review of Maynard Solomon’s seminal study Beethoven (New York: Schirmer Books, 1977), Siegmund Levarie claimed that “in relation to the essence of a work of art, historic as well as psychological data are irrelevant.” (Biography of A Composer. American Imago, 36(4), 1979, 325), and René Wellek and Austin Warren even went so far as to maintain that “no biographical evidence can change or influence critical evaluation.” (Theory of Literature. New York: Harcourt, 1956, 68). Such and similar statements are more than just an expression of a basically different methodological perspective. Rather, they voice a general mistrust in any biographical venture. The representatives of an “anti-biographical approach” stick to the conviction that the aesthetic judgement is the leading force in adequately understanding both the essence of a work of art, and the artist’s artistic achievements. Within such a paradigm, the life of an author, composer or artist seems to be marginal and not essential. The hegemony of such an approach is paradigmatically evidenced in the fact that biographical considerations have been largely ignored in serious scholarship for quite a long period. Only recently, and significantly influenced by the introduction of postmodern theoretical and epistemological models, questions related to scientific biographical research have once more attracted increased interest. It is no exaggeration to claim that biography is currently enjoying something of a renaissance in the humanities, and a particular focus is put on methodological aspects such as, for instance, the questions as to what extent biographical information may shape analytical and aesthetic judgements, and how biographical narration has to be designed to meet current scientific criteria and requirements without falling back into methodological principles as were characteristic in nineteenth-century monumental biographies. Against this background, the lecture will provide a brief historical overview of biographical narration and research, address core characteristics of current biographical research (such as referentiality, narrativity, fictionality, and facticity), explore the most common forms of biography (literary biography, scientific biography, fictional biography, intermedial biography) and, finally, present a selection of current trends in biographical research.

Antonio Baldassarre is Professor and Head of Research and Development of Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, School of Music, and is appointed Guest Professor at the Facultad de Música of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and PhD Advisor at Boston University. He is a board member of numerous national and international scientific and learned societies, including his role as President of Association Répertoire International d’Iconographie Musicale (RIdIM) and as Member of the Directorium of the International Musicological Society. He holds a PhD from the University of Zurich (Switzerland) and has held research and teaching positions as Research Fellow, Lecturer and Visiting Professor at the Research Center for Music Iconography, the universities of Basel and Zurich, the Faculty of Music of the University of Arts in Belgrade, and at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. He has extensively researched and published on topics of music history from those of the Renaissance to contemporary music, music iconography, visual culture, performing studies, music historiography and the social and cultural history of music.