Call for Papers – Chant and Culture

The University of British Columbia’s
Committee for Medieval Studies
8th Annual Colloquium of
The Gregorian Institute of Canada
August 6-9, 2013
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia

The Gregorian Institute of Canada has focused from its inception on performance, providing a unique opportunity for scholars and performers from Canada and around the world to share and discuss their ideas, research, and experience. This year’s theme—Chant and Culture—is inspired by an essay currently found in WILLIAM MAHRT’s book, The Musical Shape of the Liturgy, and which also originally appeared as “Gregorian Chant as a Fundamentum of Western Musical Culture”, in Sacred Music 102.1 (Spring 1975): 3–21. WILLIAM MAHRT, Professor Emeritus of Music at Stanford University, will be giving this year’s keynote address. In addition to academic papers, there will be workshops in chant performance. Vancouver Early Music Programme & Festival will have concerts on campus at the same time, including one on the medieval Carmina Burana by BENJAMIN BAGBY and the ensemble SEQUENTIA.

Submissions on any topic of chant research are welcome, but paper and workshop proposals that address the broadly conceived colloquium theme—Chant and Culture— are particularly encouraged and will be favored over others in the selection process. Suggested topics include anything related to Mahrt’s thesis: i.e., “Gregorian chant was not only the historical predecessor of a great development of polyphonic music; it was
also the actual structural basis of the better part of medieval and renaissance sacred music. One could chart this history in great detail, but more interesting are the ways in which it played the role of a fundamentum, and the part it played in the development of a polyphonic fundamentum. From the high middle ages onward, there existed a polyphonic sacred music which used the materials and even the thought processes of each age. A creative interaction between the traditional fundamentals of sacred music and the ideas of the time is a hallmark of the entire history. If at times it seems that the ideas of the time prevailed, it must not be forgotten that polyphonic sacred music always existed in the context of some kind of performance of Gregorian chant as chant.”

Please send a 250-word abstract to the program committee at Abstracts may be sent and papers presented in either English or French. Conference papers will be limited to 30 minutes, followed by a 10-minute discussion period. Performance practice workshops will last 40 minutes.

The deadline for proposals is January 15, 2013.
For further information, registration, and conference updates,
please visit the Gregorian Institute of Canada website at

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