Symposium Report

The International Symposium Music in Society, organized biennially since 1998 by the Musicological Society of FBiH (Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina) and the Music Academy of the University of Sarajevo, is the most significant event in Bosnia and Herzegovina and one of the leading regional scientific gatherings focusing on the multidimensional, diversified, and transdisciplinary discourse of contemporary music science. In line with its years of continuity and international profile, the 13th symposium edition took place from December 7 to 10, 2022, bringing together experts from the fields of musicology, ethnomusicology, music theory, music pedagogy, and related scientific and artistic disciplines from 17 countries (Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Czech Republic, Croatia, Italy, Canada, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, United States, Slovenia, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom).

The four-day conference unfolded in a celebratory atmosphere, marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Musicological Society. To commemorate this significant milestone, program activities were organized in expanded capacities and at different locations: at the Music Academy of the University of Sarajevo, in the Ceremonial Hall of the University Rectorate in Sarajevo, as well as in the Gazi Husrev-bey Library and the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Within the framework of 17 thematically designed working sessions, the results of various research were presented, offering historical and contemporary perspectives, as well as an interdisciplinary understanding of music in its complexity. The program also included three workshops on databases in musicology, two plenary lectures, a guided tour of the exhibition “Sevdalinka – Image, Word, and Sound” at the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a concert of traditional music of Bosnia and Herzegovina performed by the Etnoakademik Ensemble.

On the first day of the symposium, December 7, the Music Academy hosted the first of three workshops on music databases, essential for scientific music research. Zdravko Blažeković, a distinguished musicologist and professor at the City University of New York, spoke about the importance of the Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale (RILM) database as a global musical source crucial for local music research.

Following the workshop, four working sessions took place. In the first session, “Contemporary Reflections on Ancient Music,” Daniela Castaldo examined the use of the Voghenza Roman trumpet from Ferrara, Italy, from the perspective of musical archaeology. Michał S. Sołtysik presented various aspects of the mythological spectacle in Mantua in the second half of the 15th century, while Rolf Norsen shed light on the work of the composer Clément Janequin (ca 1485–1558) through changes in social contexts in the early modern era. Alessia Zangrando spoke about Balkan music in the travelogues of “Sieur” Poullet and “Monsieur” Quiclet from the 17th century, and Patrick Huang presented his study on “new music” in antiquity based on a comparison of ancient Greek and Chinese traditions.

The second session, “Historical Musical Works through the Prism of New Research,” included presentations by Srđan Atanasovski, who discussed the significant influences of the “Beethoven project” on Schubert’s compositional decisions in his late creative period, Jan Lech, whose work examined Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1 through correspondence with Boleslav Javorski, and Sanja Kiš Žuvela, who presented a paper on the topic “Reveille for Eternal Rest – on Gustav Mahler’s anti-war music.”

The third session focused on historiographical views on music in the region. Stanislav Tuksar presented the socio-ideological and musical-aesthetic determinants of the first statutes of music societies in Civil Croatia in the 1820s. The work of the Jewish composer and conductor Alfred Pordes was the central topic, with presentations by Maja Vasiljević and Fatima Hadžić discussing his poetics and performing activities from Sarajevo to Belgrade, and Tamara Jurkić Sviben exploring the reception of Pordes’s activities in the Croatian press in the interwar period. Petra Babić reflected on opera as a function of national historiography, using the example of Ferenc Erkel’s work “Hunyadi László.”

As part of the final session on the first day, Leon Stefanija analyzed the complexity of the concept of musical style in the age of the internet, David Cotter discussed virtual musical performance in the 21st century, and Angelo Martingo presented a discussion on the significance of integrating neurosociology into the field of the sociology of music, suggesting that cognition and neuroscience could be common ground for current theoretical perspectives in empirical and critical sociology of music.

After the formal part of the program, the participants enjoyed the concert “Sevdalinka – Image, Word, and Sound” at the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which explored the rich cultural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina through the prism of sevdalinka, a traditional genre of folk music. The concert featured performances by renowned musicians such as Amira Medunjanin, Merima Ključo, and Ante Gelo.

The second day of the symposium, December 8, started with the second workshop on music databases. Udo Dahmen, artistic director of the Popakademie Baden-Württemberg and the Music Education Department at the Popakademie Mannheim, presented the Music Information Center Germany (MIC-D) as an essential tool for music researchers and professionals.

Following the workshop, four working sessions took place. In the first session, “Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Music and Sound,” Sanja Kiš Žuvela explored the intersections between literature, music, and philosophy in the work of E.T.A. Hoffmann and Hoffmann’s influence on music in the 19th century. Ivana Petković addressed the connection between music and mythology in contemporary pop culture, while Bojana Denić discussed the role of sound in virtual reality environments. Maria Boros, in her presentation “Framing sounds – music in TV series and documentaries,” examined the function of music in framing audio-visual content.

The second session, “Music, Technology, and Society,” featured presentations by Dinko Fabris, who explored the influence of technology on the perception of sound in cinema, Paolo Pietropaolo, who discussed the role of radio in shaping musical taste, Ana Hofman, who presented her research on the musical dimensions of utopia in Yugoslav socialist culture, and Daniela Cosma, who examined the relationship between technology, music, and identity in the digital age.

The third session focused on “Contemporary Compositional Practices.” Karmina Šilec discussed the role of the voice in contemporary choral music, emphasizing the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration between composers and performers. Jelena Novak, in her presentation “Electronic dance music in contemporary art music,” explored the connections between electronic dance music and contemporary classical music, while Marko Bratulić discussed the influence of urban soundscapes on the creative process of contemporary composers.

The final session of the day was dedicated to “National Music Identities and Cultural Heritage.” Alma Elezović and Asim Đelilović presented their research on the preservation and transmission of traditional music in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Tanja Petrović discussed the role of music in shaping national identity in post-Yugoslav cinema. Koraljka Kovač and Martina Malić explored the role of music in the construction of national identity in Croatian feature films, and Danijela Špirić and Dejan Despić discussed the representation of music in the Serbian television series “Porodično blago.”

The evening program featured a concert by the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Dino Zonić, with soloists Božo Paradžik (double bass) and Đorđe Vasiljević (accordion). The repertoire included works by H. S. Ozep, N. Kapustin, and N. Rimsky-Korsakov.

The third day of the symposium, December 9, began with the third and final workshop on music databases. Svanibor Pettan, president of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) and professor at the University of Ljubljana, presented the World and Ethnomusicology databases as valuable resources for ethnomusicological research.

The working sessions of the day covered a wide range of topics. The first session, “Music and Politics,” included presentations by Marija Bergamo, who discussed the role of music in the political communication of Slovenian political parties, Ana Lebl, who explored the reception of Russian music in Serbia during the 19th and early 20th centuries, and Ivana Medić, who presented her research on the musical expression of political protest in the post-Yugoslav space.

The second session, “Sociological Perspectives on Music,” featured presentations by Ognjen Raden, who discussed the representation of alternative rock music in the media in Serbia, Ljiljana Marković, who explored the role of music in the construction of cultural memory in post-socialist Serbia, and Maja Đukanović, who presented her research on the social and cultural dimensions of music festivals in Serbia.

The third session focused on “Music and Emotion,” with presentations by Amila Ramović, who explored the emotional impact of music in film, Marko Kljajić, who discussed the relationship between music and nostalgia, and Nevena Todorović, who examined the emotional dimensions of music in public spaces.

The fourth session, “Music and Migration,” included presentations by Naida Hukić, who discussed the musical practices of Syrian refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eda Kuljić, who explored the role of music in the integration of migrant children in European schools, and Snežana Stojanović-Novičić, who presented her research on the musical expressions of the Serbian diaspora in Canada.

The evening program featured a concert by the Sarajevo Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Miran Vaupotić, with soloists Edita Aleksić (soprano) and Marija Krivić (violin). The repertoire included works by W. A. Mozart, A. Vivaldi, and J. Brahms.

The final day of the symposium, December 10, featured the closing plenary session, during which participants had the opportunity to reflect on the themes, discussions, and insights of the symposium. The closing remarks were delivered by the president of the Musicological Society of FBiH, Dr. Senad Kazić, and the dean of the Music Academy, Prof. Dr. Nedžad Ibrahimović.

In addition to the academic program, the symposium provided numerous opportunities for networking, collaboration, and cultural exchange. Participants had the chance to engage in discussions, share their research, and establish connections with colleagues from different countries and academic backgrounds. The diverse range of topics and the interdisciplinary nature of the presentations contributed to the richness of the symposium, fostering a holistic understanding of music in society.

The 13th International Symposium Music in Society successfully fulfilled its mission of promoting scholarly excellence, facilitating international cooperation, and advancing the field of musicology. As the participants departed, they carried with them not only new insights and perspectives but also the shared experience of a vibrant and intellectually stimulating symposium, reinforcing the importance of music as a dynamic and integral part of society.