Last week I participated in the conference ‘Interseccions’, which aimed to rethink Valencia music history in the light of recent historiographical perspectives and research approaches. The title ‘Intersections’ reflects pretty well the content of the conference and its planning and structure, which succeeded in establishing spaces for dialogue, paths for collaboration and meeting points between historical musicology, performance and ethnomusicology—following Joseph Kerman’s claim that musicology must draw closer to ethnomusicology just as history must draw closer to anthropology. Organised by Andrea Bombi and Ferran Escrivà at the Facultat de Geografia i Història, Universitat de València, and the Palau de les Arts, this conference brought together a number of invited professors who contributed to plenary sessions and dozens of researchers who presented short papers distributed in a variety of sessions.
The inaugural lecture by Dinko Fabris, President of the International Musicological Society (IMS), established one of the ideas that would be present throughout the conference: that the local could be a starting point to create new historical accounts. Three plenary sessions were devoted to historiography, institutions and biographies, respectively. These three sessions were structured as a lecture by a senior professor and two short responses by early-career musicologists or experts in disciplines different from musicology, such as history of art or medieval history. Robert Kendrick (University of Chicago) talked about the importance of the concept of ‘local’ music around 1600 at the session on historiography. For the session about institutions, Pilar Ramos (Universidad de La Rioja) presented a paper on the different roles played by musical institutions in historical accounts. Paolo Fabbri (Università di Ferrara) presented a lecture entitled ‘I musicisti hanno diri o di vita?’ at the session on biographies. I was able to present a short response (‘Redes musicales y el estudio de las instituciones en su contexto sociocultural’) to Pilar Ramos’s lecture, in which I developed—in connection to specific Valencian case-studies—some of the methodological issues on which I am working as part of the URBANMUSICS project.
Paper sessions included several presentations of musicological research on the Valencia area and they covered a broad range of approaches and subjects—such as popular music, wind bands, sacred music, twentieth-century experimental music, music theory, music education, musical sources, music theatre and musicological methodologies. Moreover, ways of collaboration between musicologists and performers were analysed in an original format: a dialogue between Fabio Biondi, musical director of the Palau de les Arts, and Miguel Ángel Marín, director of the Fundación Juan March in Madrid. This session was celebrated at the Palau de les Arts, followed by a concert in which we enjoyed several arias from the opera Dorinda (Valencia, c.1735). Thanks to the organisers and the scientific committee for designing this stimulating programme and generating such a collaborative atmosphere. [Ascensión Mazuela-Anguita]