Call for Proposals ODC 2015 Music for All

The Fourth International Orpheus Doctoral Conference, organised by the doctoral students of the Orpheus Institute docARTES Programme, offers the opportunity for contributors from around the world to gather and explore the theme of ownership in composition, improvisation, and performance.Practitioners from all disciplines are invited to submit proposals for presentations.

Deadline for Proposals: December 31st, 2014.


In light of the relative failure of Digital Rights Management technology (DRM), attempts to define musical ownership in the contemporary world of digital media have become highly contentious. The ways in which we define who owns music and what it means to own music (how it can be used, re-used, and re-imagined) all have implications for our everyday musical life. It seems, though, that whenever we attempt to form such definitions, we also find them undermined by musical practice. Even long before the era of mechanical reproduction, the distinction between the original and the copy had been a tenuous one. In Western music, the practices of transcription, adaptation, and citation have been essential to the creation of music. Remix culture is not, it seems, an entirely new phenomenon.

The issue becomes even more striking in interactions with primarily oral musical cultures. Without scores or recordings, without any sort of object to contain it, who owns this music? The traditional improvising musician participates in a web of musical practices, one in which she belongs. When we stop worrying about origins—about the music's historical source and its rightful owner—we face the interesting specter of music that might belong to no one, or perhaps to everyone. When these same oral traditions interact with literate musical practice, we are faced with even more radical challenges to our notions of ownership. Even the essential primacy of a score over its performance in Western music becomes problematic in light of the practice of improvising musicians.

These issues have a long and varied history, one that shapes our creative lives as performers, composers, improvisers, and listeners in subtle, often tacit ways. In this conference, we meet as practitioners and researchers in music to explore ownership's connections to musical practice. Participants from primarily oral musical cultures, primarily literate musical cultures, and all the shades in-between, will engage in dialogue and discussion, both on how various conceptions of ownership affect our practice, as well as how our own practice, in turn, might affect understandings of ownership.

The conference will frame the debate in a wider perspective through the keynote lectures by Prof. Martin Scherzinger, Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, and Ross Daly, professional musician.


Proposals are welcomed from the global pool of interested experts, ranging from artist-teachers to artistic researchers, and from students to policy makers, in order to bring practices, concepts and innovation to the floor of a two-day conference. For the benefit of everyone involved in the artistic community, the conference aims at scrutinizing all aspects of the relationship between music-making and ownership.  Applicants are encouraged but not required to welcome performances into their presentations, and there will be a concert on the evening of 18th February where performing researchers will have an opportunity to perform outside of the scope of their own presentation.
Proposals should consist of an abstract of c. 300 words, providing a brief account of the presentation’s rationale, method of investigation and findings. In addition, proposals should include the title of the presentation, name and institutional affiliation of each author (when applicable), short curriculum vitae, contact information and required technical support. Please indicate whether your presentation includes live music. Presentations will be allocated 30 minutes; this includes 10 minutes for questions and discussion.

Deadline for Proposals: December 31st, 2014.

Send us your proposal through
Note: Those sending proposals are requested to submit them as MS Word files, not as PDFs.
Notification of acceptance will be made by January 5, 2015.

Download the full call in PDF


Deadline for Registering as Participant: Friday, January 30th, 2015.

Register through or through the online registration form.

Registration fee: €50.
The fee includes coffee breaks, a Wednesday dinner, and Thursday lunch.

Note: Free for all full-time conservatory students under the age of 26, all current and former students and researchers associated to the Orpheus Institute, ORCiM, and/or docARTES. And, participants whose proposals have been accepted, and who will thus be presenting during the seminar, do not pay the admission fee.
Participants who received confirmation (through e-mail) of their registration, are asked to transfer the registration fee into our account before February 6th, 2015.

Address Bank:        KBC - Kouter 175, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
Account number:    IBAN: BE36 7343 3417 2281

Participation is only then confirmed when the total amount due is paid into our account. We kindly ask you to provide us with a proof of payment of the admission fee. You will then receive confirmation by e-mail.


Participants should arrange their own travel and accommodation. 
We recommend the following websites when searching for a place to stay in Ghent:

For all practical information, please contact


Music for All: Ownership in Composition, Improvisation, and Performance

Orpheus Doctoral Conference 2015

18 and 19 February 2015