This year’s Med-Ren conference took place at the Department of Music at the University of Sheffield and included over 120 papers, with two sessions specifically devoted to the Iberian world—’Sources’ and ‘Performance and Reception’. This was my seventh time at this conference and the session to which I contributed, chaired by Jennifer Thomas, was entitled ‘Women patrons in the sixteenth century’. It included the paper of Aimee E. Gonzalez (University of Florida) about ‘Saints, sons, and sovereignty: Mouton’s Gloriosa Virgo Margareta in the court of Anne of Brittany (1477-1514)’, the work of Vincenzo Borghetti (Universita degli Studi di Verona) about ‘Reading music, performing identity: Margaret of Austria and her Chansonnier BrusBR 228’, and my own paper on ‘Women and networks of musical patronage in the sixteenth-century Iberian world: Ana de Mendoza, princess of Eboli (1540-1592)’. It was very inspiring to put together different contributions to the study of early modern music from a gender perspective. The chair of the session had encouraged the three of us to share our papers before the conference, so that we were able to read the contributions in advance and to have a deeper and more critical understanding during the session itself.
A gender approach was also present in Linda Austern’s keynote lecture on ‘Anne Boleyn, musician: A romance across centuries and media’. Austern’s work on gender and music in Renaissance England is well known. On this occasion, she analysed biographical accounts, scholarly studies, and visual representations of Anne Boleyn’s musicality, from less than a year after her execution to the present. Her approach seemed quite original and innovative to me, and her presentation was extremely attractive and up-to-date from the visual point of view.
In addition to sessions devoted to particular geographical areas, genres, sources, historiography, theory and analysis, visual arts and musical iconography were indeed quite present in this year’s Med-Ren, with two sessions on ‘Music and art in Renaissance Italy’, including some papers resulting from the Leverhulme Trust-funded project ‘Music in the Art of Renaissance Italy, c.1420-1540′, which involves most of the members of this year’s organising committee. Thanks to Tim Shephard and his team for such a motivating conference.
8 July 2016