Supervisors: Newton Armstrong
Overview and research interests
The music of Austrian composer Bernhard Lang (°1957) references a variety of sonic environments, ranging from electronics to free jazz and even DJ-culture. The composer claims to draw inspiration from experimental film and literature, but also explicitly associates his oeuvre with the differential ontology of French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. Besides this explicit association with neo-Marxist philosophy, a second characteristic feature of this oeuvre is Lang’s frequent use of citation and quotation. As such, his music is often linked to that of the so-called ‘European avant-garde’. At the same time, however, elements of what Kyle Gann defines as ‘post-minimalism’ are also at play, such as, for example, an obsessive use of repeating cells and a structural preoccupation with algorithms and computational processes.
The thesis aims to inquire analytically into the apparent discrepancy between the notated score, from which looping processes and formal aspects can be abstracted, and the aural experience of this music, in which one seems to get lost in subtle yet persistent phenomenal transformation. The thesis will be particularly concerned with the ways in which this music explores philosophical notions of identity and non-identity. Or, to put it in Deleuzian terms, how this oeuvre surveys the concepts of ‘identity’, ‘difference’ and ‘repetition’; of ‘being’ and ‘becoming’; of ‘unity’ and ‘multiplicity’.
- Music of the 20th and 21st Centuries
- Contemporary composition
- Experimental music
- Musical borrowing
- Music and philosophy
- Music and politics.
Higher educational background
2012 – 2013: MSc in Culture Management (magna cum laude), University of Antwerp, Belgium
2011 – 2012: MA in Musicology (magna cum laude), University of Leuven, Belgium
2008 – 2011: BA in Musicology (cum laude), University of Leuven, Belgium
Public Presentations and Conference Papers Given
‘The Paradox of Musical Repetition: Bernhard Lang meets Gilles Deleuze’, read at: ‘6th Conference of the Royal Music Association Music and Philosophy Study Group’, London (England), July 2017.
‘Exposing Demagoguery: Mass-Communication as Anti-Totalitarian Protest in Mauricio Kagel’s Der Tribun (1979)’, read at: ‘Compositional Aesthetics and the Political’, London (England), February 2015.
‘A Cellular Approach to Schönberg: Bernhard Lang’s Monadologie VII …for Arnold... (2009)’, read at: ‘EuroMAC/European Music Analysis Conference’, Leuven (Belgium), September 2014.
‘Mozart as a Means of Postmodern Critique: Bernhard Lang’s I hate Mozart (2006)’, read at: ‘International Conference on Composition in the 21st Century’, Dublin (Ireland), March 2014.
‘Parodistic subversion in Mauricio Kagel’s Zehn Märsche, um den Sieg zu verfehlen (1979)’, read at: ‘International Conference on Protest Music in the 20th Century’, Lucca (Italy), November 2013.
DYSERS C. (2013), ‚Parodistic subversion in Mauricio Kagel‘s Zehn Märsche, um den Sieg zu verfehlen (1979)’, in: Revue belge de Musicologie / Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Muziekwetenschap 67, pp. 159-175.
DYSERS C. (2014), Mozart als Gegenstand postmoderner Kritik. Das Wiederholungskonzept in Bernhard Langs I hate Mozart (2006)’, in: Musik & Ästhetik 18/72, pp. 5-25.
DYSERS C. (2015), ‘Re-writing history. Bernhard Lang’s Monadologie Series (2007-present)’, in: TEMPO 69/271, pp. 36-47.
DYSERS C. (2015), ‘Exposing Demagoguery. The use of Mass-Communication as Anti-Totalitarian Protest in Mauricio Kagel’s Der Tribun (1979)’, in: R. ILLIANO (ed.), Protest Music in the Twentieth Century (Music, Criticism & Politics, vol. 1), (Turnhout: Brepols), pp. 79-98.