Koninklijke Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis

Najaarssymposium 'Music, migration and war' - 9 november 2024

Op 9 november 2024 wordt het KVNM Najaarssymposium gehouden met als thema 'Music, migration and war'. De keynote speech gaat over een documentaire over de Geneefse psalmen in Zuid-Afrika, met een toelichting door Margriet de Leeuw en een gesprek met makers, waaronder Esther-Marie Pauw. Na de lunch zijn er vijf presentaties over uiteenlopende onderwerpen, van een Italiaanse violist in Nederland in het Interbellum tot de relatie tussen Oekraïense en Nederlandse muziek. Een overzicht van de presentaties.


Margriet van der Waal and Esther-Marie Pauw: Six Genevan psalms and their sonic multi-vocalities in a contemporary South African music curation.

‘Nege fragmente uit ses Khoi’npsalms’ (2018), a film by Aryan Kaganof made in South Africa and screened as a prize winner on a national documentary festival, elicited audience responses of bewilderment at ‘what was going on here,’ as articulated at the première’s question-and-answer session.
At the symposium a shortened version of the film will be screened, followed by a talk by Margriet de Waal and a panel discussion with the musicians/artists. The presentation proposes that a narrative of ‘migration of music’, with violence, genocide, erasure and contemporary re-imaginations of unheard voices, are one way of locating what is going on in the Khoi’npsalms film. Despite several publication-reflections about the production and its film (De Waal 2018 [and] Blom, Erasmus & Pauw 2020a, 2020b, 2021) the Utrecht symposium is the first public platform to acknowledge and explore the bafflement elicited by the film. Symposium delegates are invited to watch the 21-minute film ( or read more information here). Through the presentation, material migration as colonial VoC travel into the somewhat unknown, to encounter, control and silence that which is foreign, emerges. Also, in this presentation, improvisational migration as boundary-crossing into sonic unfamiliarity, openness and encounters with listening postures that may have been erased, or deeply buried, emerges. Migration of music as a physical materiality of Genevan psalms’ 17th century ex-Lowlands genocidal crusades morph into unexpected plays of 21st century improvisations of insecurities, risks, intimacies and cares, as revealed through the close shots of faces and fingers that a camera lense captured in Stellenbosch.


Philomeen Lelieveldt: Marcello Lanfredi and his "Italian" Orchestra

 In this talk I will address Marcello Lanfredi’s appeal to Dutch audiences (especially women) against the background of the musical entertainment and political climate in the Netherlands during the interbellum years. The 5th of May 1916, violist and Stehgeiger Marcello Lanfredi, born in Mantova in 1886, settled in Amsterdam for a summer contract with the party venue Bellevue. April 1916, in the same city, he started Café Concert Eden with Mantovan companion Ariodante Valli, where he conducted the Lanfredi orchestra of 10 to 14 musicians, half Italian, Half Dutch, in daily performances of a wide catalogue of salon repertoire. After selling their business, in 1919, Lanfredi continued working as Stehgeiger of his orchestra in Pschorr in Rotterdam and in Zandvoort, a popular seaside village and in Hecks’ Lunchrooms. He performed in two Dutch movies, while also managing his orchestra through an extensive travelling program between Italy and the Netherlands. This talk will show how his talent for networking with relevant actors in the entertainment industry, amongst whom Dirk Reese, helped him to integrate in Dutch society. But also how government legislation that became stricter in the 1930s started to hinder his activities. The talk will be documented with different types of sources, such as commissions in compositions of Dutch composers, the Foreigner registration files, newspaper clippings, references in Dutch literature, an original sound recording from his orchestra from 1937 from hotel Atlanta in Rotterdam as well as a film fragment from a 1922 movie.

Désirée Staverman: The impact of Belgian musicians in the Netherlands during World War I

Among the many refugees who fled to the Netherlands during World War I were artists, writers and musicians. Of the musicians and composers who fled from Belgium, some stayed for a few years, others settled here permanently. They brought with them a cultural baggage with a predominantly French signature that they were keen to propagate. Initially, many of them were actively involved in charity concerts for Belgian and other war victims. What influence did these Belgian musicians have on musical life in the Netherlands? The presentation focuses on the singer Berthe Seroen and the cellist Marix Loevensohn who - both trained at the Brussels Conservatory - came to the Netherlands in 1914 and 1915 respectively. While Loevensohn was able to start immediately as solo cellist of the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Seroen had to start all over again. She soon realised that her experience as an opera singer in both Brussels and Antwerp would not help her much. However, together with pianist and conductor Evert Cornelis, Berthe Seroen developed a series of innovative chamber music concerts from 1916 onwards, in which Loevensohn also regularly participated. Thus, they not only introduced a large number of songs and chamber music by (contemporary) Belgian and French composers to the Netherlands, but also inspired young Dutch composers to write works for them.

Primavera Driessen Gruber: ‘Perhaps Some Day Someone Will Give Them the Particular Attention They Deserve’ (Jacob Presser, in: Ashes in the Wind)

Of the 300 music professionals with an Austrian background, who had come to the Netherlands after the Great War, hoping to find a permanent refuge from the growing anti-Semitism and Nazism in Germany, Austria or the former parts of the Habsburg Empire, about a hundred musicians found themselves trapped in the Netherlands after the German invasion in May 1940. This very heterogeneous group in terms of musical training, professional experience and status, religious observance, political affiliation, nationality, generation and gender allows us to distinguish different forms of migration - voluntary migration for professional or family reasons vs. forced migration, exile and hybrid forms – and to discuss their various networks and different degrees of acculturation in Dutch musical cultures. Based on research for an ‚Austrian Biographical Dictionary of Music Professionals, Persecuted during National Socialism’, to be published in the following years, the presentation will focus on the musical cultures of the entertainment and radio world in the Netherlands, with particular attention to the participation of Austrian musical exiles in Dutch resistance networks. This will be followed by a discussion of the impact of these migratory movements to the Netherlands before and during World War II on post-war Dutch musical cultures and vice versa.

Marlies de Roos: Navigating Musical Identity - Lăutari and ‘Third Space’ After Migrating to the Netherlands.

In the formative years of Romania’s socialist regime, the state strategically harnessed the talents of lăutari (Romanian Romani musicians) to propagate a new and distinctive Romanian national musical identity on the global stage. As these musicians embarked on international concert tours, the dynamics of their musical identification began to shift, resulting in a notable cohort of lăutari seeking refuge in the Netherlands. This paper aims to shed light on the transformative journey of these musicians in the Netherlands, delving into the evolution of their musical identity amidst the challenges posed by migration and cultural change. 

The narrative commences by contextualizing the historical role of lăutari within socialist Romania. Through a focused case study on three lăutari who migrated in the 1986 and 1987 and still reside in the Netherlands, this paper explores how these musicians negotiated their musical identity in a new cultural milieu, grappling with the complexities of migration, cultural adaptation, and the preservation of their Romani and Romanian musical heritage.

Drawing on Homi K. Bhabha’s concepts of ‘third space’ and ‘in-betweenness’, Carol Silverman’s notion of ‘reclaiming personhood’, and David Hargreaves’ perspectives on the nexus between music and identity, this paper presents a fresh perspective on the resilience and adaptation of musical identities.

Iryna Fedun: Ukrainian-Dutch Musical Relations: Research Perspectives.

Currently, there are over 100,000 Ukrainian migrants in the Netherlands, making the topic of Ukrainian-Dutch musical relations particularly relevant today. However, it is essential to analyze the commonalities between these countries not only in contemporary interactions but also based on historical connections. Celtic and Germanic tribes, later Vikings, played a crucial role in shaping not only the Netherlands but also Ukraine. Ukraine's territory is situated at the crossroads of ancient trade routes between the West and the East, contributing to migratory processes. A comparative analysis of folklore in both countries could reveal shared elements. Modern migrants enrich the diversity of the musical landscape with their own music and collaborate with the local music scene through joint projects. For migrants themselves, music becomes a means of preserving and expressing their identity, helping them feel part of a community. In the future, deeper research is crucial to understand whether new music integrates into everyday life, whether traces of migration and cultural blending are evident in new musical compositions, and to determine the popularity of music in the context of migration and the impact of various factors on musical trends. Generally, although migration is an important source of intercultural communication, but with the rapid development of digital technologies, the role of migration in the processes of musical change has become less decisive now.

9 november 2024, van 11 tot 16.30 uur.

Locatie: De Utrechtse Muziekschool (DUMS), Domplein 4, 3512 JC Utrecht

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