Elevation, Appreciation, or Appropriation: Fusion and Power in Western Classical Music | College of Arts

Elevation, Appreciation, or Appropriation: Fusion and Power in Western Classical Music

Date and Time


Zoom link here.

Meeting ID: 937 4856 5670
Passcode: 465322


Eric Hung
Music of Asian America Research Center

In 1988, Gayatri C. Spivak asked a simple question, “Can the subaltern speak?” Can we truly
hear the ideas and emotions of those without any power? Or can they really only speak through
intermediaries—media organizations, university professors—who might subvert their
messages? In the world of Western Classical Music, the subaltern’s messages are filtered
through composers, performers, and institutional practices who usually have different
backgrounds and agendas.

In this presentation, we explore: how can composers ethically use elements of musical cultures
with which they are not intimately involved? Should performers—and how should we—present
works that mishandle elements of different cultures? Can we—and how can we—continue to
perform and teach works that perpetuate harmful stereotypes? To create a more equitable
musical culture, we need to investigate and struggle with these difficult questions.
Eric Hung is a musicologist with extensive experience in non-profit management, and an
Adjunct Lecturer in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. His
academic research focuses on Asian American music and public musicology. Current projects
include a book on trauma and cultural trauma in Asian American music and an edited volume
on public musicology. His pedagogical project, “Incorporating Local Musics in the
Undergraduate Music History Curriculum,” won the Teaching Award from the American
Musicological Society.

Hung is also an active pianist and conductor who has performed in Germany, Austria, Hong
Kong, and Australia and throughout North America. Prior to joining the nonprofit world fulltime,
he was a tenured professor at Westminster Choir College of Rider University. He has also
served as executive director and interim president of New York–based Gamelan Dharma Swara
and co-director of the Westminster Chinese Music Ensemble.

Thursday, 14 October 2021, 2:30 – 4:00
Meeting ID: 937 4856 5670
Passcode: 465322

Presented by the School of Fine Art and Music Visiting Speakers Fund, University of Guelph