Introduction to the Symposium
MUSIC AND ECOLOGY
Since 2011, when the inauguration of the stay of the Secretariat of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) in Slovenia was marked by a symposium and a series of concerts titled Encounters Between Traditional Music and Dance and European Musical Culture in Various Places and at Various Times, comparable events with specific thematic frames have taken place in Slovenia’s capital every August, within the festival Nights in Old Ljubljana Town. So far, the events co-organized by six participating institutions—Imago Sloveniae, the Department of Musicology of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana, the International Council for Traditional Music, the Cultural and Ethnomusicological Society Folk Slovenia, the Institute of Ethnomusicology SRC SASA, and Radio Slovenia—have been Whither Accordion? (2012), Music and Protest (2013), and Music and Otherness (2014).
The theme of the 2015 symposium and accompanying concerts and workshops is Music and Ecology. While reflecting the growing interest in sound perception in regards to the relationships between people and their environments, the symposium provides an excellent opportunity for discussion about ecological strategies, environmental planning, heritage politics, sustainable development, and power relations from the perspectives of music and sound. Presentations point to a variety of issues in different geographical and cultural contexts on four continents, including Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Peru, Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and Vietnam. The authors discuss specifics of rural and urban sound domains as related to culturally appropriate performance spaces (Toska), use new arguments to critically approach the old dichotomy between nature and culture (Ilić), question the proclaimed sustainability values in a festival context (Brennan), address ecological concerns of a selected indigenous community (Lin) and of some contemporary composers (Gilmurray), and stretch the argument about the importance of sonic interaction between people and environment by encompassing neo-shamanism and popular culture (Brabec de Mori).
A group of six scholars actively involved in the ongoing research project City Sonic Ecology discusses selected urban soundscapes of Belgrade (Atanasovski, Medić, Dumnić), Ljubljana (Hofman, Kovačič), and Bern (Sweers), pointing to the policescape, conflict between bottom–up and top-down “reculturalization” initiatives, building of a sound environment, political soundscapes and grassroot music activities, religioscape, and the question of inclusiveness of immigrant soundscapes.
The invited keynote speakers include Huib Schippers (Australia), who addresses the large-scale project Sustainable Futures for Music Cultures: Towards an Ecology of Musical Diversity under his direction; Kjell Skyllstad (Thailand), one of the pioneers of activist music scholarship who relates music of minorities and applied ethnomusicology in the ICTM context to ecological concerns; and Marcello Sorce Keller (Switzerland), whose inspiring thoughts enrich the symposium with a much needed zoomusicological discourse.