2011 conference at the University of the Philippines College of Music

Theme: The Impact of Music in Shaping Southeast Asian Societies

September 2 & 3, 2011, Abelardo Hall Auditorium UP Diliman, Quezon City

The First International Conference on The Impact of Music in Shaping Southeast Asian Societies of the UP College of Music reflects on the fundamental question of how various idioms of Southeast Asian musical expressions have played important roles in shaping Southeast Asian societies through time. Intangible yet concrete, these expressions have not been merely epiphenomenal but have been quite central to the constitution of the kinds of polities that make up the heterogeneous cultures and landscapes of peninsular and insular Southeast Asia, past to present. Crisscrossing laterally and vertically through the Nusantara trade route from ancient times and later through the transpacific voyages of colonial period, the diffusion of music was inevitably part of the movement of peoples, cultures, and goods within and outside the Southeast Asian region. This means that if there was dissemination of music as culture, then music must have created some crucial role, not peripherally as most of the papers in this conference would not argue, but–on the contrary– of high importance in the creation of long distance social networks and exchange in the region that expanded and intensified with the advent of air travel and telecommunications in the postcolonial age or neocolonial present.

But how did music exactly play a role in the Southeast Asian intercultural nexus? How was music used or what must have been its meanings in the contexts of European colonialism or imperialism? How can music be so construed as a technology that bound individuals into an effective solidarity at different levels of social praxis from colonial times to postcolonial nationalism and neocolonial global consumerism (tourism and commodification)? How are we to asses the copycat behavior of Filipino musicians as their bodies move to the tune of 21st century’s globalization? How are the various appropriations of traditional music rendered meaningful as arts of resistance?

Not yielding to reductive and easy answers, the conference therefore tackles what seems to be an innocent question from a multiperspectival lens or diverse set of panels, each based on the expertise of the convenors (who are all faculty members of the newly instituted PhD in music program of the UP College of Music). The final schedule of panels with topics will be posted in this blog shortly.