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28-11 First events of the series Music Matters: Performing Music through Culture (ORLANDO & Timothy Dowd)

21 November 2013
The department of Arts, Culture and Media, Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG), Koninklijke Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis (KVNM) and The Prins Claus Conservatoire are proud to announce the first concert and lecture event of the series Music Matters: Performing Music through Culture (2013/2014). The first episode features the indie folk group Orlando and the American cultural sociologist Timothy Dowd.


'Orlando' is a music group formed around Dutch singer-songwriter Tessa Douwstra. After playing in several other bands and music projects (Wooden Saints is one of them), Tessa decided to form a band dedicated to performing her songs. Orlando was the result, emerging in December 2011 to embark upon an ambitious song writing and rehearsal schedule. From here they progressed quickly, forming a unique sound and performance style. By the end of 2012 their debut-album The Early Warning Company was released. This album received high praise from the press and was followed by a successful club tour. The music of Orlando is characterized as diverse pop-music with very strong folk influences. For this concert, Orlando will perform in Groningen as a trio.

Music Festivals as Transnational Scenes: The Case of Progressive Rock in the Late 20th and Early 21st Centuries
Many scholars note how music “travels” across both time and place. Those emphasizing temporal travel, for instance, have noted the construction of “classics” in such domains as orchestral music. Those emphasizing geographic travel have often emphasized the global circulation (if not crush) stimulated by multinational corporations involved in popular music.
This project looks at the travel of a music that has received relatively little attention in recent scholarship. “Progressive rock” emerged as a genre in the late 1960s and early 1970s; its proponents intended to combine elements of various genres with rock (particularly classical music and jazz). Often described as emanating from the UK, progressive rock actually had proponents in numerous countries. Commercially successful in the 1970s and early 1980s (and disseminated by multinational corporations), this genre has since become a grassroots one – carried forward by local scenes more than corporations.
Festivals play a key role in this now-grassroots genre. In fact, prog rock festivals are a key aspect of the transnational scene’s infrastructure that has been built by enthusiasts and musicians in the absence of corporate attention. Drawing on data from more than 450 festivals in 29 nations, and the musicians who played out those festivals, I demonstrate how these small-scale events link far-flung local scenes in a transnational fashion, and I also demonstrate how such festivals are important for heritage work, whereby the musical past and present are brought together. Consequently, prog rock festivals are important sites that allow this musical genre to travel both across time and place.

Timothy J. Dowd is professor of sociology at Emory University (Atlanta). He specializes in cul­tural sociology, focusing on such issues as the evolving orchestral canon, the evolution of the recording industry, musician careers, and the state of music sociology. He was the Erasmus Chair for the Humanities (Rotterdam, 2007), and he is currently a Fulbright Specialist at the University of Amsterdam. He is also editor-in-chief of Poetics: Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, Media, and the Arts.

Last modified:04 July 2014 9.38 p.m.

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