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by George E. Lewis

A Small Act of Curation

During 2017 and 2018, I was part of Defragmentation, a project on ‘Curating Contemporary Music’. The initiative was supported by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation), and involved four European contemporary music festivals – the Ultima Festival (Oslo), and the Germany-based International Music Institute Darmstadt (including the Darmstadt Ferienkurse), the Donaueschinger Musiktage, and the MaerzMusik Festival for Time Issues.[1]

The Defragmentation project featured four areas of emphasis: Decolonization, Technology, Curation, and Gender/Diversity, the area with which I was the most directly involved as an adviser, along with Georgina Born and Thomas Schäfer, who brought me into the project.[2] The online narrative from Darmstadt portrayed Defragmentation as

a research project aimed at enduringly establishing the debates currently ongoing in many disciplines on gender and diversity, decolonization and technological change in institutions of New Music, as well as discussing curatorial practices in this field… A key goal is to accelerate structural and habitual change with respect to these interlinked thematic areas and develop better practices.[3]

In 2018, I took part in two public Defragmentation events. First, Maerzmusik 2018 saw the rollout of the project in a public meeting and discussion at the Berliner Festspiele.[4] Second, the Darmstadt Ferienkurse 2018 produced the centerpiece of the Defragmentation events, a four-day conference on the topic that included lectures, panels, workshops, and listening spaces and sessions.[5] The conference reflected the understanding that the practices and discourses around contemporary music events differed markedly from curatorial practices in other fields – particularly the visual arts, a field that, in distinction to music curation, features a robust ongoing discussion of curatorial issues in academic and lay media and conferences.

George E. Lewis. Photo: Emily Peragine.

George E. Lewis. Photo: Emily Peragine.

A focused understanding of the need for change in the art world of contemporary music permeated both the planning process of Defragmentation and the public discussions in Darmstadt. Over the four days of the conference, topics introduced in lectures by curators and scholars working in visual arts included ‘Critical Practices of Curatorship’ (Dorothee Richter), ‘Curating Performance in the Agonistic Field’ (Florian Malzacher), ‘Forms of Display’ (Jérôme Glicenstein), and ‘Decolonization As Method’ (Bonaventure Ndikung and Berno Odo Polzer). Music-centered practices of curation were explored and critiqued by Martin Tröndle (‘The Classical Concert, Situation and Institution’) and Anke Charton (‘Thoughts on Intersectionality and New Music’), while Rolando Vázquez and Polzer presented a session on ‘decolonial listening’. Music-centered ‘conversations’ (panel discussions) included ‘Methodologies of Diversity’ (Bill Dietz, Hannah Kendall and Stellan Veloce), ‘Sound Acts’ (Veloce and Terre Thaemlitz), ‘Multi-Diasporic Sound Art’ (Raven Chacon and Miya Masaoka); ‘Gender, Audience & Affect’ (Amy Cimini, Bill Dietz and Christabel Stirling); and ‘Architectures of Sound’ (Stirling, Masaoka, and Marina Rosenfeld). A 2019 special edition of the Darmstädter Beiträge zur Neuen Musik presented published versions of some of the talks.[6]

Also presented was a session led by the Gender Relations In New Music group (GRiNM).[7] This was an outgrowth of the 2016 Darmstadt Ferienkurse's project on Gender Relations in Darmstadt, led by Born and composer Ashley Fure.[8] Exploring the Darmstadt Ferienkurse archive, Fure and Born compiled a remarkable set of statistics that shed light on the ongoing paucity of women composers in terms of commissions, performances, and prizes at the Ferienkurse. For example, according to Fure and Born, of 4750 pieces programmed at Darmstadt between 1946 and 2014, 334, or seven per cent, were composed by women.[9]

It was not hard to conceptually migrate from the ‘lens of gender’ Fure and Born used to one of race and ethnicity, which for Defragmentation was seen as implicitly coming under the rubric of ‘diversity’. Over the decades, however, I had already experienced considerable skepticism around that term.[10] In her 2012 book, On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life, Sara Ahmed noted that ‘Strong critiques have been made of the uses of diversity by institutions,”[11] and one ongoing concern of mine was voiced by her understanding that well-meaning people hoped to ‘embed diversity such that it becomes an institutional given,’[12] while avoiding issues of race.[13]

Accordingly, Ahmed’s book reflects on the relationship between diversity and institutional whiteness, going on to personalize the situation in a way that I certainly recognized: ‘There are problems and pitfalls in becoming a diversity person as a person of color. There is a script that stops anyone reading the situation as a becoming. You already embody diversity by providing an institution of whiteness with color.’[14] This is similar to my own understanding that in institutionally and historically white spaces, people of color are often perceived as ‘bringing race to the table’ – simply by being there, whether or not they explicitly broach the topic. Thus, for Ahmed, ‘diversity pride becomes a technology for reproducing whiteness: adding color to the white face of the organization confirms the whiteness of that face.[15] – what Ahmed calls ‘an institutional speech act’.[16]

A GRID document from October 2016 referred to ‘gender, sexuality, race, class, disability and so on’ as ‘vectors of disadvantage’,[17] a framing that stands at variance with GRID’s own research, in which gender appears as a category of advantage in terms of commissions and performances – that is, if the composer is male. Even though the authors of this ‘post-GRID’ document cautioned that ‘it’s undesirable and difficult to pull out any one vector’ – despite having done exactly that in their research – I took GRID’s work as an example for my own informal Google-based inquiry into the history and presence of Afrodiasporic composers, i.e., composers of African descent, at Darmstadt.

Exploring this sub-vector of diversity revealed whiteness as a second category of advantage. The white South African composer Kevin Volans forged extensive connections at Darmstadt during the 1970s and 1980s.[18] As for composers of African descent who were not white, an eight-minute work for flute, piano, and cello by Zulu composer Andile Khumalo was performed at Ferienkurse 2008.[19] I located a work by New York-born Alvin Singleton, who studied with Goffredo Petrassi at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome and lived and worked in Europe for fourteen years. The work won the Kranichsteiner Prize for the best work performed at Darmstadt in 1974, but his music never again appeared at Darmstadt.[20]

What this means is that of those same 4750 compositions, just two works by a non-white Afrodiasporic composer were performed at Darmstadt. In percentage terms, this works out to 0.04 percent of the total.[21] This would still be a larger percentage than Donaueschingen, which never managed to program a work by an Afrodiasporic composer (except for its yearly concert devoted to jazz) between the inception of the festival in 1921 and its 1995 edition.[22]

What accounts for these radical lacunae? Arguably, the Donaueschingen Festival is focused on composers with strong ties to or provenance from Europe; the Ferienkurse less so. Still, we can compare contemporary music and contemporary art in terms of outcomes since 1996, a watershed year in curation in the visual arts with the advent of Documenta11, in which Nigerian Okwui Enwezor became the first nonwhite curator of the festival. As Anthony Gardner and Charles Green saw it, ‘Documenta11 painted a picture of contemporary art as a network in which New York, Lagos, London, Cape Town, and Basel were more or less equally important to a contemporary canon and similarly crucial in understanding contemporaneity, as opposed to some centers being exotic margins and others more genuinely cosmopolitan and contemporary.’[23]

In this light, my focus on the Afrodiasporic lacuna in contemporary music seems comparable to an interview on US television in 1983 in which David Bowie matter-of-factly asked an interviewer, ‘Having watched MTV over the past few months, it’s a solid enterprise with a lot going for it… I’m just floored by the fact that there’s so few black artists featured on it. Why is that?’ The circularity of the interviewer’s response reflects the racializing aspect of the border-policing and gatekeeping functions of genre with which artists of color are all too familiar, functions that it would be overly flattering to cast as ‘epistemological’: ‘We want to play artists that seem to be doing music that fits into what we want to play on MTV.’[24]

I’d like to leaven this turn in the discussion with a reminiscence of a conversation with an old friend who directs a public cultural institution in Germany. His institution was collaborating with an academic institution in the US to present a multi-day presentation of African American music in Germany. However, the project proved difficult to put together due to resistance from various stakeholders to the strong desire on the part of the US institution to present an evening devoted entirely to African American ‘contemporary classical’ music.

I wondered what the difficulty was there, since at least in the US, there was and continues to be a longstanding African American contemporary classical music scene with composers and performers of considerable prominence. My friend shared that the resistance had something to do with concerns about ‘quality’. I pointed out that since the music was fully notated, experts could assess the quality via scores if they liked, just as they do for competitions, curatorial initiatives, fellowships and prizes. Of course, everyone knew that this was possible, so a lack of ‘quality’ could not serve as justification for the resistance. Rather, what was really being expressed was a ‘coals to Newcastle’ moment – what could these composers have possibly done that we have not already done?

The question here, of course, is: Who is ‘we’?

In 1984, Fredric Jameson ventured to ‘periodize the 60s’. His staging ground for the period begins ‘in the third world with the great movement of decolonization in British and French Africa… these “natives” became human beings, and this internally as well as externally: those inner colonized of the first world – “minorities,” marginals, and women – fully as much as its external subjects and official “natives”.’[25] Jameson is speaking here of identity and subjectivation, and when we discuss curation in the 21st century, identity – or for some, identity politics – always comes to the fore. In the above case, a defense of the identity of classical music was at stake, where that identity would be maintained as essentially ‘white’.

To pursue this path as a curator requires adherence to a cultural and institutional logic that appears as a form of prestidigitation, in which the presence and contributions of Afrodiasporic musicians in Europe is made to simply disappear.  This is despite a presence that goes back to the early modern era, well before that day in 1803 when Ludwig van Beethoven, in a fit of pique, removed the name of the Afro-European violinist and composer George Bridgetower from the dedication to the new sonata that they had already premiered, and substituted the name of Rodolphe Kreutzer,[26] who, as Hector Berlioz reported, disliked Beethoven’s music and ‘could never bring himself to play this outrageously unintelligible composition.’[27] The original dedication was ‘Sonata mulattica composta per il mulatto Brischdauer, gran pazzo e compositore mulattico.’[28] Beethoven’s joking reference notwithstanding, Bridgetower’s racial provenance seemed otherwise unremarkable, certainly posing no barrier to the understanding of his performances and composing as squarely within the European tradition.

As Sara Ahmed writes, ‘An institutional logic can be understood as kinship logic: a way of “being related” and “staying related,” a way of keeping certain bodies in place. Institutional whiteness is about the reproduction of likeness... Institutions are kinship technologies: a way of “being related” is a way of reproducing social relations.’[29] In her 2006 article, ‘World Systems and the Creole’, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak proposes ‘creolity’ as a way of thinking that can more robustly supplant this kind of traditional kinship discourse,[30] and I have written elsewhere that twenty-first century new music itself is becoming marked by a condition of créolité.[31] Éloge De La Créolité, an influential 1989 manifesto crafted by Caribbean writers Jean Bernabé, Patrick Chamoiseau, and Raphael Confiant begins with this ringing declaration:

Neither Europeans, nor Africans, nor Asians, we proclaim ourselves Creoles. This will be for us an interior attitude – better, a vigilance, or even better, a sort of mental envelope in the middle of which our world will be built in full consciousness of the outer world… The son or daughter of a German and a Haitian, born and living in Peking, will be torn between several languages, several histories, caught in the torrential ambiguity of a mosaic identity. To present creative depth, one must perceive that identity in all its complexity. He or she will be in the situation of a Creole.[32]

At least in music, kinship is often represented as genre. Its root, gen- (genetic, genotype, and even gender) is often found as representing not only family, but fixity. While genre markers – improvised music, classical, contemporary, jazz, zeitgenössisch, Neue Musik – are often framed by scholars as ontologically salient, promoting both community and intelligibility, one might ask a race-aware curation to address more pointed discussions of the gatekeeping, border-policing, and kinship-enforcing functions of genre; or, perhaps, the less salutary aspects of how genre assignations can devolve into rigid binaries between insider and outsider, margin and center, overgeneralized moral imperatives, restrictions on mobility of practice, and questionable divisions between good and bad music – often enough based not so much on the content of the music as on its assumed provenance in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, or national origin. Here, assumed genre actually affects what we are able to hear.

In 1918, American literary critic Van Wyck Brooks, like many, viewed the search for American cultural identity in racial terms: ‘The European writer, whatever his personal education may be, has his racial past, in the first place, and then he has his racial past made available for him. The American writer, on the other hand, not only has the most meager of birthrights but is cheated out of that.’[33] This was Brooks’s novel solution: ‘If we need another past so badly, is it inconceivable that we might discover one, that we might even invent one? Discover, invent a usable past we certainly can, and that is what a vital criticism always does.’[34] This understanding of the usable past is compatible with a 1930 article in which Henry Cowell portrayed Charles Ives as the epitome of a new wave of ‘composers of Anglo-Saxon American blood who write music of significance, music with something to say, music which contains undefinable American feeling, music in which the distinction from European style is clear, music which necessitates the development of new materials and modes of expression.’[35]

Despite the current fashion for deriding identity politics, this example shows us how far back we can locate that discussion, as well as the diversity of subject positions involved. Indeed, philosopher Monique Roelofs maintains that identity politics has been centrally associated, not just with women and persons of color, but also with ‘certain kinds of white, masculinist, middle-class, European, heterosexual, and colonial perspectives.’[36] Thus, as historian George Lipsitz has put it, ‘Once we remember that whiteness is also an identity, one with a long political history, contemporary attacks on “identity” politics come into clear relief as a defense of the traditional privileges and priorities of whiteness in the face of critical and political projects that successfully disclose who actually holds power in this society and what they have done with it.’[37]

As a historicized element of identity, the usable past not only grounds our present, but provokes our future, and the circulation of usable pasts amounts to a kind of identity-based infrastructure. So I did not feel any particular compunction about identifying non-whiteness as a category of potential infrastructural disadvantage in contemporary music. Despite the enormous influence of Afrodiasporic music-makers around the world, we continue to experience gaps in the historical narrative and sonic presence of certain kinds of black music; perhaps none of these erasures are more glaring than that of the Afrodiasporic classical composer. I draw here upon composer, improvisor, and musicologist Dana Reason’s powerful notion of the ‘myth of absence’, which she uses in her 2002 study of the art world of experimental improvised music to summarize her finding that lack of press coverage and festival programming of the works of women leads to the automatic assumption that women are not present in the field in sufficient numbers to matter.[38]

Thus, at the Defragmentation conference at Darmstadt I moved to drive a large sound truck right over the myth of absence and right through this glaring hole in the historiography of contemporary music, by creating a listening/viewing space in which a large-screen video monitor, two-channel sound system, and comfortable seating and lighting invited visitors to experience a four-hour sound and video loop consisting entirely of the work of Afrodiasporic composers active since 1950. By doing so, I sought to provide a small example of how black liveness matters, and how music curators might actually do diversity by highlighting black creativity in contemporary music as an international, multi-generational practice with important work coming out of North America, South America, Europe, the UK, Scandinavia, and Africa. Moreover, the focus on the work of living composers and postwar music allowed not only a richer sense of the multiplicity of experiences, aesthetics, and practices that characterizes contemporary Afrodiasporic music, but also a far more diverse and contemporary portrayal of the impact and potential for change that contemporary music presents in the twenty-first century.[39] Of course, there were many more Afrodiasporic composers working in this time period than I could present, but one criterion for inclusion was my judgment as to whether the aesthetic stances expressed in the music I presented would have been compatible with the sonic goals of Darmstadt and Donaueschingen at the time in which the music was written.

This paper supports the call of the 2016 ‘post-GRID’ document to develop metrics on race and ethnicity as well as gender in multiple sectors of contemporary music.[40] There is indeed a lot of work to be done, particularly in an intersectional mode. However, regular encounters in the USA and Europe with major festivals and educational programs devoted to contemporary music show that the paucity of nonwhite ethnicities, particularly the Afrodiasporic, is so obviously extreme as to oblige direct action now, without waiting for studies. Here, it is important to note that Defragmentation’s diversity initiative, while bearing obvious implications for contemporary music curation globally, was in primary dialogue with the Western European legal, political, and cultural condition.

Policymakers in both the USA and Europe have noted the need for reliable demographic data to assess effectiveness in achieving diversity, and to that end, the Defragmentation team was provided with the World Economic Forum's "Global Gender Gap Report" from 2016.[41]  However, it may well be that in Western Europe at least, gender statistics were more readily available than other demographic vectors.  As social scientist Patrick Simon has noted,

The refusal to include ethnic categories in official statistics characterizes nearly all the countries of Western Europe. According to a recent inventory, the reasons that these countries refuse to include questions regarding ethnic groups are mainly political, constitutional and legal: this is the case notably of France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Denmark and Italy… where the absence of ‘multicultural’ traditions and the recent emergence of debates around ethnic and racial discriminations explain the absence of data on ethnic and racial categories.[42]

One claim made by European policymakers is that ‘ethnic categories are rejected in order to promote national unity’[43] and avoid identity politics. However, as Simon writes, ‘“ethnic and racial” statistics have the power of revealing historically crystallized relationships of power.’[44] Thus, ‘One may well wonder whether the negation of minority identities that prevails in France in the name of universalism is not often simply a tactic for consolidating the position of dominant groups.’[45] Or, as Georgina Born and Kyle Devine wrote in a 2015 article, ‘a cultural-educational domain that is generally understood as ethnically unmarked or “non-raced” – as representing the musical-universal, the “commonality of humanity” in music – is actually experienced as ethnically white and is linked to an invisible politics of whiteness.’[46] At the very least, the title of one of Simon’s articles on the French government’s refusal to collect race and ethnicity (but not gender) statistics seems apt: ‘The Choice of Ignorance’.

Oddly, the 2016 post-GRID proposals appear to explicitly endorse a standard criticism of ‘identity politics’: ‘How, in the new music and artistic fields, do we balance a desire for diversity with our other musical, aesthetic, and political agendas? How do we take progressive steps to equalize gender, race, and class representation while retaining commitments to high musical and artistic ambition?’[47] The language expressing this ostensible conundrum inadvertently adopts the spurious ‘identity or excellence’ binary, whose aim it has always been to preemptively shut down attempts by non-majoritarians to win space, portraying women and people of color as the only identity politicians around.

The prominent German critic and journalist Hanno Rauterberg has been critical of ‘identity politics’ in contemporary art. In a 2017 article titled ‘Tanz der Tugendwächter’ (Dance of the Virtue Police), Rauterberg tells us that ‘politically correct art has conquered the museums, from Kassel to New York.’ The author starts with a familiar portrayal of an Eden in which ‘art was free from everything. Free from shame and shyness, free from internal constraints and from the outside mostly. And society? Proud to see itself reflected in the freedom of art.’ Then came the Fall: ‘The old struggle over form, composition or originality seems to have ended. It is about questions of identity, origin, gender, skin color.’[48]

The fear expressed here is palpable. If you are a scholar, critic, curator, teacher, or artist who grew up with the notion of autonomous art, you might need to retool for a new profession—not so easy. In 1969, the philosopher Stanley Cavell used the late music of Beethoven to make a related point about the situation in which Rauterberg and others find themselves: ‘Convention as a whole is now looked upon not as a firm inheritance from the past, but as a continuing improvisation in the face of problems we no longer understand.’[49] When those previously designated as permanent subalterns finally begin to speak, you might have to listen – to new ideas and perspectives. Acts of listening and responding inevitably place us in a position of momentary subalterity, whatever our designated social, racial, gender, or class position; suddenly, you are experiencing the condition that so many women and artists of color have experienced, where (to extend Stuart Hall) gender and race become two of the prime modalities through which curation is lived.

Monique Roelofs recognizes that both identity and the aesthetic can be double-edged swords. On the one hand, she notes that ‘constructions of identity in the arts pose the risk of aesthetic deficiency or tedium.’ On the other, she maintains that ‘artistic inquiries into identity and difference… can push the boundaries of experience, engender new formal vocabularies, and alter the forums that support public life.’[50] Her conclusion is that ‘the question of identity, broadly conceived, reaches into the core of the notion of the aesthetic.’[51] The baleful binaries so often invoked in response to demands for greater and more diverse representation (quality or inclusion, scholarly value or identity politics) ignore the fact that identity has always been central to music: Wagner’s mythical Wälsung tribe, Schoenberg’s proclamation of a method that would assure the superiority of German music for the next hundred years, Julian Carrillo’s search for a microtonal 13th sound.

In January 2019 I was walking near the Centre George Pompidou when an enormous poster on the side of the building piqued my attention: ‘Polish Avant-Garde’. Later, I read an article about the show:

An exhibition of long-forgotten Polish avant-garde art has gone on show at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. The exhibition entitled ‘Une avant-garde Polonaise: Katarzyna Kobro et Wladyslaw Strzeminski’ (Polish Avant-Garde: Katarzyna Kobro and Wladyslaw Strzeminski) introduces western audiences for the first time to the works of the man and wife ‘giants’ of Poland’s art movement. The curators of the exhibition, which begins today, described Kobro and Strzeminski as ‘Important members of the “progressive international”’ who have attracted considerable scholarly attention’, they remain largely, and unjustly, unknown to the wider public.[52]

This was exactly what I had tried to do with my small act of curation in Darmstadt the previous summer. Of course, since ‘Polish’ constitutes an identity as well as a nationality, I wondered if the identity politics warning lights were flashing red somewhere in the larger art world.  Somehow, I doubted it.

In this essay, I did not intend to present a set of ‘best practices’ for curation; rather, I sought to encourage questions about how curatorial outcomes reflect the community of thought and practice in which the curators and their constituencies are embedded. Do the outcomes of new music curation processes implicitly celebrate the European sonic diaspora? Or can the field and its curators explore, recognize and even posit a  multicultural, multiethnic base for new music, with a variety of perspectives, histories, traditions, and methods?

Perhaps controversially, I want to suggest that although pursuit of greater numerical representation (or even ‘balance’, however defined) is desirable, this alone is unlikely to bring full subjecthood to women composers or composers of color in the long run. Subjecthood and membership are reflected not only in numerical representation, but also in the circulation of sounds, culture, histories and ideas. Conceptual migration (or even conceptual nomadism) would create a new curatorial subject for contemporary music that can directly conceive of ascribing kinship, membership, and subjecthood to these new composers and their forebears, creating a new, creolized usable past for new music. Building upon that foundation, we can address the question of how Defragmentation might sound, and how that sound can be heard.

Clearly, the Paradise on Earth portrayed by Rauterberg, in which society was proud to see ‘itself’ reflected in the freedom of art, was not being experienced by everyone in quite the same way. If the aesthetic becomes the modality through which intersectionality and creolity are lived, we can note with Okwui Enwezor that

In the context of decolonized representation, innovation is as much about the coming to being of new relations to cultures and histories, to rationalization and transformation, to transculturation and assimilation, and new practices and processes, new kinds of exchange and moments of multiple dwelling as it is about the ways artists are seen to be bound to their national and cultural traditions. Here, political community and cultural community become essentially coterminous.[53]

This is one way in which Spivak’s notion of creolity as ‘the delexicalization of the foreign’ might be realized in innovative musical and curatorial practice, requiring a new model of the educated curator, composer, improvisor, listener, and critic. In this way, as Spivak predicts, ‘Creolity…will yield us a history and a world.’[54]

George E. Lewis (USA) is Professor of American Music at Columbia University. Lewis is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, a MacArthur Fellow and a Guggenheim Fellow. He is the author of A Power Stronger Than Itself:  The AACM and American Experimental Music (University of Chicago Press) and co-editor of the two-volume Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies. Lewis’s compositions have been performed by ensembles worldwide, and he holds honorary doctorates from the University of Edinburgh, New College of Florida, and Harvard University. From 1980-82 he served as Music Director (curator) of the Kitchen Center for Dance, Music, Video, and Performance.

Parts of this talk were originally developed for “Seminar: New Odysseys,” a presentation at the Ultima Festival 2018 in Oslo, curated by Thorbjørn Tønder Hansen. I’d like to express my appreciation to him and to the Defragmentation team for providing me the space to work out some of these issues.


[1] The international team of curators, composers, performers, and academics pursuing the project included Heloisa Amaral, Camille C. Baker, Georgina Born, Björn Gottstein, Lars Petter Hagen, Tim Perkis, Berno Odo Polzer, Thomas Schäfer, and myself, with Katja Heldt as primary team coordinator.  See "Defragmentation – Curating Contemporary Music, Thinking Together – Project Presentation & Panel Discussion," https://www.berlinerfestspiele.de/en/berliner-festspiele/programm/bfs-gesamtprogramm/programmdetail_240304.html.

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Defragmentation--Four-Day Convention on Curating Contemporary Music,” https://internationales-musikinstitut.de/en/ferienkurse/defragmentation/.

[4] "Defragmentation – Curating Contemporary Music, Thinking Together – Project Presentation & Panel Discussion.”

[5] “Defragmentation--Four-Day Convention on Curating Contemporary Music,” program book, https://internationales-musikinstitut.de/content/uploads/imd-2018-07-06Defragmentation.pdf

[6] See “Defragmentation: Curating Contemporary Music,” Darmstädter Beiträge zur Neuen Musik (Sonderband), edited by Sylvia Freydank and Michael Rebhahn (Mainz: Schott, 2019).

[7] https://www.grinm.org/about.

[8] For commentary on the GRID initiative by two of its primary exponents, see Ashley Fure, “Reflections on Risk, Pigeonholes, Precarity, and the Zero-Sum Game of Time: On Speaking Out,” https://griddarmstadt.wordpress.com/2016/08/14/reflections-on-risk-by-ashley-fure/. Also see Juliana Hodkinson and Georgina Born, "Social Relations in New Music: Tackling The Octopus," http://seismograf.org/gender-and-social-relations-in-new-music-tackling-the-octopus.

[9] Ashley Fure, "GRID: Gender Research in Darmstadt, A 2016 HISTORAGE Project Funded by the Goethe Institute," https://griddarmstadt.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/grid_gender_research_in_darmstadt.pdf.

[10] See Georgina Born and George E. Lewis in conversation with Leonie Reineke, “What Would It Sound Like?” How To Approach Gender and Diversity in Contemporary Music,” in Thomas Schäfer et al, Darmstadt Summer Course 14-28 July 2018 (program book), 242-249, https://internationales-musikinstitut.de/content/uploads/imd-180725PrgrammbuchIMD-ENDS.pdf

[11] Sara Ahmed, On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2012), 1.

[12] Ahmed, On Being Included, 16.

[13] Indeed, the twenty-three page initial draft document that I encountered on coming into the project referred frequently to gender, but only once to race. “Defragmentation: Curating contemporary music,” unpublished internal draft overview.

[14] Ahmed, On Being Included, 4.

[15] Ahmed, On Being Included, 151.

[16] Ahmed, On Being Included, 54.

[17] "Taking GRID Forward With IMD: Proposals for the 12/10/2016 Think Tank," https://errantsound.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/session4_grid-manifesto-oct2016.pdf

[18] See Joevan de Mattos Caitano, "Intercultural Perspectives in the International Summer courses for New Music: The Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt in the context of exchanges with Latin America, Africa, USSR, Oceania and Asia” (PhD diss., Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber, Institut für Musikwissenschaft, Dresden, 2019), 152 ff.

[19] Joevan de Mattos Caitano, "Intercultural Perspectives in the International Summer courses for New Music,” 166.  The Khumalo work is also listed in the online listing of the Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt at https://imd-archiv.de/detail/IMD-M-2008CDR040-01?q=Andile&d=&p=1&s=25&l=list&o%5Bscore%5D=desc .

[20] Chicago-born Maurice Weddington, who won first prize in the Gaudeamus competition in 1973,  has lived in Berlin since winning a DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm residency in 1975. Mehr Licht, a work for bass flute written for Eberhard Blum, received its European premiere in 1977 – in Darmstadt, but not at the Ferienkurse. For a discussion of this work, which was performed at the Darmstadt Institute for New Music and Music Education, see Eberhard Blum, "Bemerkungen zu neuer Flötenmusik," https://www.moeck.com/uploads/tx_moecktables/1979-2.pdf_S._317-321.pdf.

[21] At Darmstadt 2018, two works by living Afrodiasporic composers (Lester St. Louis and George Lewis) were performed, along with a work by Julius Eastman (1940-1990). See Thomas Schäfer et al, Darmstadt Summer Course 14-28 July 2018 (program book), https://internationales-musikinstitut.de/content/uploads/imd-180725PrgrammbuchIMD-ENDS.pdf.

[22] See Josef Häusler, ed., Spiegel der Neuen Musik: Donaueschingen, Chronik—Tendenzen—Werkbesprechungen, mit Essays von Joachim-Ernst Berendt und Hermann Naber (Kassel: Bärenreiter-Verlag, 1996). For a complete list of composers programmed at the festival, see https://www.swr.de/swr-classic/donaueschinger-musiktage/programme/donaueschinger-musiktage-archiv/-/id=2136962/did=14231624/nid=2136962/csruw2/index.html.

[23] Anthony Gardner & Charles Green, "Post-North? Documenta11 and the Challenges of the 'Global' Exhibition,” http://www.on-curating.org/issue-33-reader/post-north-documenta11-and-the-challenges-of-the-global-exhibition.html.

[24] Andy Greene, “Flashback: David Bowie Rips Into MTV for Not Spotlighting Black Artists,” Rolling Stone, January 13, 2016, https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/flashback-david-bowie-rips-into-mtv-for-not-spotlighting-black-artists-62335/, accessed August 4, 2019. For the video, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZGiVzIr8Qg, accessed August 18, 2019.

[25] Fredric Jameson, "Periodizing the 60s," Social Text 9:10, “The 60's without Apology” (Spring/Summer 1984), 180-81.

[26] Alexander Wheelock Thayer, translated by Henry Edward Krehbiel, Thayer's Life of Beethoven, Vol. 1, revised and edited by Elliot Forbes (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1967), 333.

[27] Robin Stowell, The Early Violin and Viola: A Practical Guide (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 138.

[28] See "Ludwig van Beethoven, Sonate für Klavier und Violine (A-Dur) op. 47, 1. Satz, Partitur, Autograph," Beethoven-Haus Bonn, NE 86, https://da.beethoven.de/sixcms/detail.php?&template=dokseite_digitales_archiv_en&_dokid=ha:wm108&_seite=1-2, accessed August 3, 2019.

[29] Ahmed, On Being Included, 38-39.

[30] Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, "Dialogue: World Systems & the Creole," Narrative 14:6 (January 2006): 102-112.

[31] For an extended view of the creolization of contemporary music, see George E. Lewis, "The Situation of a Creole,” in “Defining Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Music,” forum convened and edited by David Clarke, Twentieth Century Music 14:3 (2017): 442-46.s

[32] Jean Bernabé, Patrick Chamoiseau, and Raphael Confiant, translated by M. B. Taleb-Khyar (édition bilingue français/anglais), Éloge De La Créolité (Paris: Gallimard, 1993), 112.

[33] Van Wyck Brooks, “On Creating a Usable Past,” The Dial (April 11, 1918): 338.

[34] Brooks, 339.

[35] Joel Sachs, Henry Cowell: A Man Made of Music (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), 235-36.

[36] Monique Roelofs, "Identity and its Public Platforms: A String of Promises Entwined with Threats," Texte zur Kunst 107 (September 2017): 70.

[37] George Lipsitz, The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics, Revised and Expanded Edition (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2009), 67.

[38] See Dana L. Reason Myers, “The Myth of Absence: Representation, Reception and the Music of Experimental Women Improvisors” (PhD diss., University of California, San Diego, 2002).

[39] The list of composers: T.J. Anderson (USA, b. 1928); Nicole Mitchell (USA, b. 1967); Alvin Singleton (USA, b. 1940); Tania Léon (Cuba, b. 1943); Anthony Braxton (USA, b. 1945); Tyondai Braxton (USA, b. 1978); Julia Perry (USA, 1924-1979); Andile Wiseman Khumalo (South Africa, b. 1978); Hale Smith (USA, 1925-2009); Courtney Bryan (USA, b. 1982); Roberto Valera Chamizo (Cuba, b. 1938); Hannah Kendall (UK, b. 1984); Anthony Davis (USA, b. 1951); Julius Eastman (USA, b. 1940); Matana Roberts (USA, b. 1975); Jeffrey Mumford (USA, b. 1955); Yvette Janine Jackson (USA, b. 1973); Muhal Richard Abrams (USA, 1930-2017); Olly Wilson (USA, 1937-2018); Wadada Leo Smith (USA, b. 1941); Eleanor Alberga (Jamaica/UK, b. 1949); Wendell Logan (USA, 1940-2010); Tyshawn Sorey (USA, b. 1980); Roscoe Mitchell (USA, b. 1940); Elaine Mitchener (UK); Maurice Weddington (USA/Germany, b. 1941); Ulysses Kay (USA, 1917-1995); singe and verb (Beth Coleman with Howard Goldkrand (USA); Anthony R. Green (USA): Camille Norment (USA/Norway, b. 1970); Benjamin Patterson (USA, 1934-2016); Pamela Z (USA, b. 1956).

[40] “Taking GRID Forward With IMD.”

[41] Klaus Schwab, Richard Samans, Saadia Zahidi, Till Alexander Leopold, Vesselina Ratcheva, Ricardo Hausmann, and Laura D’Andrea Tyson. "Insight Report: The Global Gender Gap Report 2016" (Cologny/Geneva: World Economic Forum, 2016).

[42] Patrick Simon, Victor Piché, and Amélie A. Gagnon, eds., Social Statistics and Ethnic Diversity: Cross-National Perspectives in Classifications and Identity Politics, 5 (Heidelberg, New York, Dordrecht, and London: Springer Open, 2015), https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2F978-3-319-20095-8.pdf

[43] Social Statistics and Ethnic Diversity, 19.

[44] Patrick Simon, “The Choice of Ignorance: The Debate on Ethnic and Racial Statistics in France,” in Patrick Simon, Victor Piché, and Amélie A. Gagnon, eds., Social Statistics and Ethnic Diversity: Cross-National Perspectives in Classifications and Identity Politics, 75-76 (Heidelberg, New York, Dordrecht, and London: Springer Open, 2015), https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2F978-3-319-20095-8.pdf.

[45] Simon, “The Choice of Ignorance,” 75.

[46] Georgina Born and Kyle Devine, "Music Technology, Gender, and Class: Digitization, Educational and Social Change in Britain," Twentieth-Century Music 12:2 (2015): 139.

[47] "Taking GRID Forward With IMD.”

[48] Hanno Rauterberg, "Politisch korrekte Kunst: Tanz der Tugendwächter," Die Zeit, July 26, 2017, https://www.zeit.de/2017/31/kunst-museen-reform/komplettansicht, translated by the author.

[49] Stanley Cavell, “Music Discomposed,” in Must We Mean What We Say? A Book of Essays (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969), 201.

[50] Roelofs, "Identity and its Public Platforms,” 70.

[51] Ibid.

[52] "A Polish Avant-garde: Katarzyna Kobro & Władysław Strzemiński in Centre Pompidou," culture.pl, October 2018, https://culture.pl/en/event/a-polish-avant-garde-katarzyna-kobro-wladyslaw-strzeminski-in-centre-pompidou.

[53] Okwui Enwezor, "The Postcolonial Constellation: Contemporary Art in a State of Permanent Transition," in Antinomies of Art and Culture: Modernity, Postmodernity, Contemporaneity, edited by Terry Smith, Okwui Enwezor, and Nancy Condee, 225 (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2008).

[54] Spivak, "Dialogue: World Systems & the Creole”: 106.

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