Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Music

Reconceiving Bartók’s Music – A Public Symposium

An international symposium on the music of Bartók on the seventieth anniversary of his death. Speakers will include Amanda Bayley (The Cambridge Companion to Bartók), Julie Brown (Bartók and the Grotesque), David Cooper (Béla Bartók, Bartók Concerto for Orchestra), Malcolm Gillies (The Bartók Companion, Bartók in Britain, Bartók Remembered), Martin Iddon (‘Bartók’s Relics: Nostalgia in György Ligeti’s String Quartet No. 2’) and László Vikárius (Head of the Budapest Bartók Archives). The symposium will be chaired by Derek Scott.

In this section:

About the Symposium: About the Symposium

The theme of the symposium, Reconceiving Bartok’s music, links to various recent or forthcoming events including:

  1. the freeing up of copyright restrictions, allowing for some editions of the Bartok Complete Critical Edition to appear and a general release from the orthodoxies, restrictions and taboos of the mid-late 20th century
  2. the impending appearance of László Somfai’s Thematic Catalogue – a major contribution to how we rethink his music
  3. the final appearance of the Gillies/Gombocz edition of letters subtitled The Musical Mind
  4. the publication of Cooper’s new critical biography of Bartók by Yale University Press, including the themes of its analytical commentary
  5. the perspectives emerging from Biro and Krebs’s The String Quartets of Béla Bartók: Tradition and Legacy in Analytical Perspective.

Symposium Programme: Symposium Programme

Each session includes the presentation of a short position paper followed by an interactive round-table discussion.

9.30-9.45am: David Cooper and Derek Scott – Welcome and introduction

9.45-10.30am: Malcolm Gillies – Reconceiving Bartók’s Music Through His Correspondence

10.30-11.15am: László Vikárius – The Béla Bartók Complete Critical Edition

11.15-11.45am: Morning coffee

Provided for delegates.

11.45am-12.30pm: David Cooper – Redrawing Bartók’s ‘Life and Works’ in 2015

12.30-1.30pm: Lunch

1.30-2.15pm: Amanda Bayley – The spirit of Bartók, creative musicology and intercultural composition

2.15-3.00pm: Julie Brown – Duetting with Bartók and others: reflections on Iva Bittová’s post-revival ‘personal folk music’

3.00-3.15pm: Afternoon tea

Provided for delegates.

3.15-4.00pm: Martin Iddon – Bartók after Catastrophe, after Exile: Reading Bartók through Adorno in the post-war era

4.00-4.30pm: Conclusions and Next Steps

Speaker Biographies: Speaker Biographies

Amanda Bayley

Amanda Bayley is Professor of Music at Bath Spa University. She is editor of The Cambridge Companion to Bartók (2001) and Recorded Music: Performance, Culture, and Technology (Cambridge University Press, 2010), for which she received the Ruth A. Solie Award from the American Musicological Society in 2011. She is Humanities Editor for the Journal of Interdisciplinary Music Studies. Recent and forthcoming book chapters include ‘Developing Dialogues in Intercultural Music-making’ in the Routledge International Handbook of Intercultural Arts Research (2016), and ‘Cross-cultural Collaborations with the Kronos Quartet’ in Distributed Creativity: Collaboration and Improvisation in Contemporary Music (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). She is Co-Investigator on an ERC-funded bid Integrating Turkish. Beyond East and West: Developing and Documenting an Evolving Transcultural Musical Practice (2015-2020).

Julie Brown

Julie Brown is Professor of Music at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her publications include Bartók and the Grotesque (Ashgate, 2007), Schoenberg and Redemption (Cambridge, 2014), and contributing editor of the edited collection Western Music and Race (Cambridge, 2007), which was awarded the American Musicological Society’s Ruth A. Solie Award. She is also contributing editor, with Annette Davison, of The Sounds of the Silents in Britain (Oxford University Press, 2013), and with Nicholas Cook and Stephen Cottrell, of ‘Desert Island Discs’ and the Discographic Self (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2017). She was Principal Investigator for the AHRC-funded Research Network ‘The Sounds of Early Cinema in Britain’ a British Academy Research Development Award entitled ‘“Film fitting” in Britain, 1913–1926’.

David Cooper

Professor of Music and Technology and Dean of the Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications, at the University of Leeds. He is a composer and musicologist and has published extensively on the music of Bartók, film music and the traditional music of Ireland. He is author of the Cambridge Handbook on Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra (Cambridge: CUP, 1996), monographs on Bernard Herrmann’s scores for the films Vertigo (Westport: Greenwood Press, 2001) and The Ghost and Mrs Muir (Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2005), and the study The Musical Traditions of Northern Ireland and its Diaspora: Community and Conflict (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009). He edited the first modern edition of George Petrie’s seminal The Petrie Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland (Cork: Cork University Press, 2002, 2005). He is the co-editor with Kevin Dawe of The Mediterranean in Music: Critical Perspectives, Common Concerns, Cultural Differences (Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2005); with Christopher Fox and Ian Sapiro of Cinemusic? Constructing the Film Score (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008); and with Rachel Cowgill and Clive Brown of Art and Ideology in European Opera: Essays in Honour of Julian Rushton (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2010). His recently published major study of Béla Bartók for Yale University Press has received critical acclaim and been described as ‘the most impressive musical biography of the decade’.

Malcolm Gillies

Malcolm Gillies is a visiting professor of King’s College London and an emeritus professor of the Australian National University. He was previously vice-chancellor of City University London and of London Metropolitan University, and chair of the university advocacy body London Higher. His books include Bartók in Britain (1989), Bartók Remembered (1990), The Bartók Companion (1993), Bartók Connections (2006), and many studies of the life and works of Australian-American musician, Percy Grainger. He edits Oxford University Press’s Studies in Musical Genesis series, and sits on the advisory board of the Béla Bartók Complete Critical Edition.

Martin Iddon

Martin Iddon was born in Manchester in 1975. He studied composition and musicology at the Universities of Cambridge and Durham and studied composition privately with Steve Martland, Chaya Czernowin, and Steven Kazuo Takasugi. Iddon was appointed Lecturer in Music at University College Cork in 2005, moving to Lancaster University in 2006, and the University of Leeds in 2009, where he is Professor of Music and Aesthetics. His books New Music at Darmstadt and John Cage and David Tudor are both published by Cambridge University Press. His music is published by Composers Edition.

Derek Scott

Derek B Scott is Professor of Critical Musicology at the University of Leeds. His books include: From the Erotic to the Demonic (2003), Sounds of the Metropolis (2008), and Musical Style and Social Meaning (2010). Among his edited books is The Ashgate Research Companion to Popular Musicology (2009). For the past eighteen months, with the aid of a major award from the European Research Council, he has been researching the reception of twentieth-century German operetta in London and New York.

László Vikárius

László Vikárius directs the Bartók Archives of the Institute of Musicology of the Research Centre for the Humanities of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and lectures at the Liszt University of Music in Budapest. He has also been serving as president of the Hungarian Musicological Society since 2007. His main field of research is centred on Bartók’s life, style and, especially, compositional sources. He has published articles in Hungarian and foreign Music journals including Hungarian Quarterly, International Journal of Musicology, Magyar Zene, Musical Quarterly, Studia Musicologica and Studien zur Wertungsforschung. His study Modell és inspiráció Bartók zenei gondolkodásában [Model and inspiration in Bartók’s musical thinking] was published in 1999 (Pécs: Jelenkor) and his most recent publications include the facsimile edition of Bartók’s autograph draft of Duke Bluebeard’s Castle (Budapest: Balassi Kiadó, 2006), available with commentary in English, Hungarian, German and French. He co-edited, with Vera Lampert, the Somfai Fs (Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2005), the revised English edition of Vera Lampert’s Folk Music in Bartók’s Compositions (Budapest: Helikon, 2008) and, with János Kárpáti and István Pávai, the CD- ROM Bartók and Arab Folk Music (Budapest: European Folklore Institute, 2006). He has been curator of several exhibits on Bartók, among them Bartók and Kodály – anno 1910 (catalogue, co-authored by Anna Baranyi, 2010) and Bartók the Folklorist (catalogue 2014).

Getting here: How to get here

Please click here for a map of the campus


Leeds is well served with good rail links up and down the east coast main line and via the Transpennine Express. The Leeds Citybus Service from the station (formerly the ‘Free Bus’, now charging a flat rate of 50p) stops at the southern edge of the University (stop 9 is best). From stop 9 head round the multi-storey car park on the left and along Calverley Street to the campus South Entrance at Willow Terrace Road.


From the west: Take the M62 motorway to junction 27 and exit onto the M621 motorway. Continue with the instructions below.

From the north, east or south: Take the M1 motorway to junction 43 and continue onto the M621 motorway. Exit the M621 at junction 2 and take the 1st exit from the roundabout. Get into the middle lane when it appears and follow it three-quarters of the way round the next roundabout, exiting towards the A58(M) Inner Ring Road. Exit the A58(M) up the sliproad just after the underpasses (signed towards the Universities and Otley), and go up to the traffic lights. Turn left at the lights and right at the next set  to head uphill along Woodhouse Lane. Turn left into the University main entrance just after the churches and before you reach the large white Parkinson building. Parking on campus must be booked in advance along with conference registration and costs £7 per day. For more parking options please see parkopedia.


Leeds/Bradford Airport is around seven miles from the University to the north of Leeds. A taxi booking office is located in the airport car park, and a taxi to the University main entrance should cost £15-£25 and take up to 45 minutes depending on traffic.

The School of Music Building

From the University main entrance head through the security barrier and follow the road down the hill into the campus. Where the road bends left continue straight down the hill to the bottom. The School of Music is on the right here, attached to the gold-domed Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall.

From the South Entrance continue along Willow Terrace Road, and turn right along the second side road, opposite The Edge sports centre. Walk under the E.C. Stoner building and turn left up the hill. The School of Music building is ahead of you on the right, attached to the gold-domed Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall. Walk along the front of the concert hall and the entrance to the School is at the far end of the building.

Booking & Fees

This event is free for students and members of the public, but places should be booked in advance here.

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