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Saturday, January 9, 2021

12:00 pm EST Greetings and Introductions

12:15 pm EST Barry Pearce - Iconography Database

12:30 pm EST Shawn Alger
There is Music in It: The “Gallup” Bass Viol by J.B. Allen

1:00 pm EST Lyracle
Performance/Lecture: Musick's Recreation:” At-Home Viol Playing

1:45 pm EST short break

2:00 pm EST Kiersten Fage
Moments of Pleasure or Violent Entanglements? Understanding the Role of the Cello in Early African American Music

2:30 pm EST Special Topic: Viols in Québec City

Sunday, January 10, 2021

12:00 pm EST Loren Ludwig
A New England Viol Consort?: Yankee "Alto" and "Tenor" Viols In Historical and Musical Context.

12:30 pm EST Craig Cowing
“Violoncellos of a Common Kind”: Tracing the History of an Early 19th Century Cello.

1:00 pm EST Volker Nahrmann
“The first bass made in America? A look at a rare find made by Benjamin Crehore, its history and circumstances. Currently on the bench for restoration at Nahrmann Bass Shop”

1:30 pm EST James Middleton
“But is it Real”

2:00 pm EST Roundtable Discussion
Benjamin Hebbert, Darcy Kuronen, Volker Nahrmann


Shawn Alger
There is Music in it: The “Gallup” Bass Viol by J.B. Allen
The “Gallup” Bass Viol, was once hailed as the largest double bass in the world. At nearly eight feet tall, this instrument raises numerous questions about its playability and function in the musical world. This presentation examines the provenance of the double bass, how and where it was played, as well as biographical details about its original owner, Palmer Gallup, and its maker Josiah Bennet Allen. This unique instrument was more than an oddity, but actually made tangible contributions to music making in the mid-nineteenth century.

Dr. Shawn Alger enjoys a variety of roles in Washington DC’s musical community. He is the instructor of Double Bass at Washington Adventist University, as well as a freelance bassist and researcher whose work unites performance with academia. Dr. Alger has performed with ensembles such as the National Symphony Orchestra, the American Bach Soloists, the Washington Bach Consort, and the National Philharmonic, and given presentations at universities and conventions throughout the country.

Craig Cowing
Tracking down the origin of an old musical instrument can be a challenge. It is often possible to gauge where it came from and approximately when it was made, but learning the history of a specific instrument with limited provenance can become a detective story. In this presentation I will describe in detail an early 19th century plain cello that has possible ties to the Moravian community in eastern Pennsylvania. It was likely imported from Austria in the 1820’s by the Klemm Music Store in Philadelphia. I have compared it to other Moravian instruments to find some elements of commonality. A variety of repair labels offer clues to various owners as well.

Craig Cowing"I was born and grew up in Meriden, Connecticut. My parents were interested in music so we often had music playing on the stereo or radio. I learned to play the cello at the age of 10 and the string bass at 15. I graduated from Lycoming College (B.A. History/Religion)and Andover Newton Theological School (M.Div. and S.T.M. Church History) I currently play the cello and assorted other instruments that I have made or otherwise acquired and repaired. I enjoy woodworking, genealogy, and reading in my spare time. I am an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and currently serve as a hospice chaplain. I sit in the back row in the cello section of the Cheshire (CT) Symphony Orchestra where I play one of several cellos that I own. I am married and have three adult children from my first marriage."

Kiersten Fage
Moments of Pleasure or Violent Entanglements? Understanding the Role of the Cello in Early African American Music Christian Mayr’s 1838 painting “Kitchen Ball at White Sulphur Springs,” presents one of two Antebellum period portrayals of formal African American dances. The image shows a post-wedding dance in a plantation kitchen, elaborately dressed slaves dancing to the music of a dance band of violin, flute and, perhaps most unusual, a cello. The cello appears in five further artworks and as many photographs of African American ensembles before 1900. These images raise several questions about the role of the cello in early African American music: What was the role of cello in an African American ensemble? Was the cello a status instrument used on special occasions, or was it simply used as an overgrown fiddle? What type of music were they playing upon the instrument?; and, in the case of Christian Mayr’s painting, did the instrument belong to the plantation community, rather than an individual or, like banjos and fiddles, was it loaned by wealthy white slave owners for a display of pleasure, masking the terror and violence of slavery?
The cello has been depicted historically as a symbol of European culture in the Americas with literature on cello playing in North America failing to consider the early contribution of African American musicians. Furthermore, the use of European musical instruments to facilitate violence and control within the institution of North Atlantic slavery is yet to be considered. This paper presents a survey of the early evidence of African American cello playing in North America. It presents available historical evidence, asking what this might reveal about the entanglement of musical instruments in both violence and resistance.

Kiersten Fage is PhD Candidate in Ethnomusicology at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She holds a Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Western Australia and a Master of Early Music from McGill University. A Baroque and folk cellist, Kiersten’s research interest centers on historical and present-day use of the cello and other bass instruments in folk and traditional musics. Her masters research presented performances of 18th and 19th century Scottish Dance music on period instruments, seeking to understand the techniques and style used during the period. Kiersten’s current research examines the use of the cello in pre- and post-Civil war African American string bands, exploring the entanglement of musical instruments in both violence and resistance.

“Musick's Recreation:” At-Home Viol Playing in the 17th Century Massachusetts Since the onset of the pandemic, the home has become the center of musical activity for professional and amateur musicians alike. Our performance/lecture will explore at-home music making in 17th century Massachusetts through a historical lens. We will introduce several individuals known to have owned viols, connecting what we can infer about their varied musical experiences to repertoire for solo viol and for voice with bass viol accompaniment. We will make a case for the likely presence of publications by John Playford in 17th century MA and draw our selections from music he published.

New to the Boston area, Lyracle is an ensemble dedicated to repertoire featuring voice and viol-family instruments. Since founding Lyracle in 2018, we’ve focused exclusively on exploring the lesser-known practice of accompanying the solo voice with a single viol. We aim to bring more attention to this practice through research and performance. In 2020, Lyracle was one of four ensembles selected to participate in the Early Music America Emerging Artist Showcase and performed at the 58th Conclave of the Viola da Gamba Society of America. Lyracle has been invited to perform on concert series including Pegasus Rising, GEMS Midtown Concerts, the Long Island Early Music Festival, Early Music Missouri, the Society for Historically Informed Performance, and the VdGSA’s Gamba Gamut at the BEMF Fringe Festival.

Mezzo-soprano Ashley Mulcahy is a recent graduate of the Voxtet Program (MM ‘19) at the Yale School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music. At Yale, Ashley had the opportunity to work with many internationally renowned conductors, including Nicholas McGegan, Masaaki Suzuki, David Hill, and Simon Carrington. Ashley has performed with numerous ensembles including Bach Collegium Japan, Theatre of Voices, New York State Baroque, Pegasus Early Music, The Newberry Consort, and Music of the Baroque. She recently relocated to the Boston area, where she is a regular soloist at Marsh Chapel, under the direction of Scott Allen Jarrett. Ashley was a Young Artist at the 2017 Boston Early Music Festival and earned a BA in Italian and a BM in vocal performance from The University of Michigan.

James Perretta enjoys pursuing a variety of musical and academic endeavors. James graduated from the University of Michigan in 2019, where he studied viola da gamba and baroque cello with Enid Sutherland, completed a BM in modern cello with Richard Aaron, and earned a MS in Computer Science and Engineering. From 2017-2019, James founded and directed a student viol consort in Ann Arbor, introducing consort playing to students unfamiliar with the instrument. In addition to music for voice and viol, James is passionate about exploring 16th and 17th century styles of improvisation. James currently resides in Boston where he teaches viola da gamba at the Powers Music School and has performed with viol consort Long and Away.

Loren Ludwig
A New England Viol Consort?: Yankee "Alto" and "Tenor" Viols In Historical and Musical Context
A persistent and influential myth has held that New England Protestants vehemently resisted the use of musical instruments in church and singing school at least until the early decades of the nineteenth century. Yet a close look at surviving sources, such as those undertaken by Dorothy Johnson and Barbara Lambert, reveal a near ubiquity of musical instruments in nearly every aspect of public and private sacred music making during the eighteenth- and early nineteenth centuries. Further supporting this idea are Frederick Selch's, Darcy Kuronen's, and others' decades of research on surviving stringed instruments from New England from the decades surrounding the turn of the nineteenth century. My project takes this research into the realm of practical music making to explore how ensembles of New England (or "Yankee") viols were used to perform and accompany polyphonic hymnody. I have located and restored a "consort" of bass, tenor, and alto viols, to which is added a violin by the same maker--Myron Kidder of Northampton, MA--who made the tenor and alto instruments in my collection. Though archival sources reveal many appearances of such instruments in the decades after the American revolution, and Selch has cataloged the survival of over forty tenor and alto viols, little is yet known about how a Yankee consort might have functioned with the musical ecology New England Protestant sacred music making. My presentation will explore some possible uses of a small ensemble of New England stringed instruments to perform Yankee hymnody as well as discuss some related musical contexts in which these curious instruments may have been played.

Loren Ludwig is a scholar/performer based in Baltimore, MD. He researches what he describes as "polyphonic intimacy," the idea that music in the Western tradition is constructed to foster social relationships among its performers and listeners. Current research/performance projects include the use of the viola da gamba in eighteenth-century British colonial America and the reconstruction of a lost tradition of Early Republic New England string ensemble playing. Loren's research on (and interactive recordings of) the alchemical fugues from Michael Maier's alchemical emblem book Atalanta Fugiens (1618) can be found at www.furnaceandfugue.org. Loren is a co-founder of LeStrange Viols and Science Ficta and performs with ACRONYM, Ruckus and numerous ensembles in the US and abroad. He also serves as program coordinator for the program in the Arts, Humanities, & Health at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

James Middleton

Volker Nahrmann

Darcy Kuronen worked from 1986 until 2020 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where, as curator of musical instruments, he oversaw one of the country’s oldest and most important collections of instruments, with over 1200 examples from all time periods and regions of the world. In 2000 he organized the critically acclaimed exhibition, Dangerous Curves: Art of the Guitar, celebrating the diversity of guitar design over the past four centuries with 130 rare instruments from private and public collections. He is also author of the exhibition’s award-winning catalog of the same name. Kuronen continues to serve as volunteer curator for the collection of historic instruments owned by Boston Symphony Orchestra. He attended the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he received his undergraduate degree in harpsichord performance and a Master of Music with a concentration in the history of musical instruments. Membership in professional organizations includes the American Musical Instrument Society and the Comité International des Musées et Collections d'Instruments de Musique. A specialist in early American instruments, he has written several articles and lectured widely on this subject. His article, "The Musical Instruments of Benjamin Crehore," published in The Journal of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, was awarded the 1991-92 AMIS Frances Densmore Prize as the most significant article-length publication in English on the subject of musical instruments.

Barry Pearce
Introduction to the BSIP Iconography Database
In this short presentation I will explain the drivers & philosophy behind the database, along with a short tour of the BSIP Iconography database launched on 1st January. This will be followed by a Q&A.

Barry Pearce is an independent researcher from Gloucestershire in the UK, with a background in software engineering and flight instruction/examining. I am founder and developer of the Bowed Strings Iconography Project. My research interests include the macro history and development of bowed string instruments, and currently focus on medieval and renaissance bowed strings. I am keen to improve musicology research methodology, especially regarding the performance and presentation of data analysis of iconographic material. I have presented on medieval bowed instruments at Medieval Music in the Dales for 3 years and I play both modern and period instruments (medieval fiddle, rebec and renaissance violin). I play violin in amateur orchestras.


Registration link for auditors Espagñol
Low Strings in the Americas in the 16th-19th Centuries
2-day Online Symposium
Online, January 9 & 10, 12-3pm EST
CFP deadline: November 1, 2020

European stringed instruments are reported to have been played in the Americas within decades of the first arrivals by Spanish colonists. By the seventeenth century, various of the bass members of European-style stringed instruments were in use across the Americas, having been imported from Europe or made locally by colonial and Indigenous craftsmen. "Low Strings in the Americas in the 16th-19th Centuries” is an online symposium that will showcase recent research on the presence and/or use of low stringed instruments during the first four centuries of European occupation of the Americas. By "low strings" we refer to instruments that sound primarily in the "8-ft" and "16-ft" range, including (but not limited to!) cellos, viols, violas da gamba, basses, violones, bajos, violóns, etc. Proposals can address the presence and/or use of such instruments in any musical or cultural contexts with connections to the geographic and historical boundaries suggested by our title.

Low Strings in the Americas will take place over two days and will comprise paper presentations and performance/lectures. Paper presentations will be 20 minutes long followed by 10 minutes for attendee questions, and performance/lectures will be 30 minutes with 15 minutes for attendee questions. Submissions should take the form of a 300-word abstract with title, specifying whether the presentation is intended to be a paper (c.2500 words) or performance/lecture. While the organizers of "Low Strings in the Americas" are music performers/researchers, we invite proposals from any disciplinary background or institutional (or not!) affiliation. While we expect that most presenters will choose to present in English, we will consider submissions in French, Spanish, and Portuguese. Once selected, presenters can submit pre-recorded presentations, but each presenter will be expected to be available for live Q&A following their scheduled presentation.

Titles and abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent as a PDF, Word Doc, or Google Doc to lowstringsamericas@gmail.com by November 1, 2020. Include your name and institutional affiliation, if applicable. Please specify in the proposal if you have technical requirements beyond audio-visual playback. Submissions will be anonymized when reviewed. Accepted participants will be notified by November 15, 2020.
Loren Ludwig, Independent Scholar/Performer based in Baltimore, MD, USA
Elinor Frey, Independent Scholar/Performer based in Montréal, QC, Canada, Instructor, Université de Montréal, McGill University.


Instrumentos de cuerda bajos en América entre los siglos XVI y XIX

Simposio en línea con duración de 2 días,

9 y 10 de enero de 2021. Horario: 12-3pm hora del Este (E.U.A.)

Fecha límite para entrega de contribuciones: 1º de noviembre de 2020

Los instrumentos musicales de cuerda de origen europeo fueron tocados en América apenas pocas décadas después de la llegada de los primeros colonizadores españoles. Para el siglo XVII, varios ejemplares de instrumentos de cuerda bajos de estilo europeo ya eran usados en todo el continente americano; ya sea que hayan sido importados o fabricados por artesanos indígenas locales.
“Instrumentos de cuerda bajos en América entre los siglos XVI y XIX” es un simposio en línea que dará a conocer investigaciones recientes acerca de la prescencia y el uso de instrumentos de cuerda bajos durante los primeros cuatro siglos de ocupación europea en América. Por “bajos” nos referimos a los instrumentos con un sonido que se encuentra primordialmente en el registro de 8 y 16 pies, incluyendo (pero sin limitarlo) cellos, violas, violas da gamba, contrabajos, violones, entre otros. Las propuestas pueden referirse a la existencia o al uso de estos instrumentos en cualquier contexto musical o cultural, bajo las conexiones geográficas e históricas que el título del simposio sugiere.

El simposio tendrá lugar durante dos días y comprenderá la presentación de investigaciones en dos modalidades: ponencia o interpretación-ponencia. Las ponencias deberán ser de 20 minutos, con 10 minutos para preguntas y comentarios; las interpretaciones-ponencia serán de 30 minutos con 15 minutos para preguntas y comentarios. Los interesados tendrán que enviar un resumen de 300 palabras con título, especificando la modalidad (para ponencia, el límite máximo es de 2500 palabras).

Aunque los organizadores de “Instrumentos de cuerda bajos […]” son intérpretes e investigadores, las constribuciones pueden ser de cualquier marco disciplinar o afiliación institucional (o no). Asimismo, aunque es deseable que las presentaciones sean en Inglés, también se considera que se expongan en Francés, Español y Portugués. Una vez que las porpuestas se hayan seleccionado, los presentadores podrán enviarlas en formato pre-grabado, pero cada presentador deberá estar disponible en vivo para la sesión de preguntas y respuestas.

Los titulos y resúmenes (cuyo límite máximo es de 300 palabras) pueden ser presentados en formato PDF, Documento de Word, o Documento de Google al correo electrónico: lowstringsamericas@gmail.com, a más tardar el primero de noviembre de 2020. Favor de incluir su nombre y afiliación institucional, si es el caso. Así también, se deberá especificar si la ponencia requiere apoyo técnico más allá del audio-visual. Las contribuciones serán anónimas durante la evaluación. Los participantes aceptados serán notificados el 15 de noviembre de 2020.

Loren Ludwig, Académico e intérprete independiente. Baltimore, MD. E.U.A.
Elinor Frey, Académica e intérprete independiente. QC,Canada / Instructora, Université de Montréal, McGill University.


Instrumentos de Cordas Graves nas Américas dos Séculos XVI-XIX
2 dias de Simpósio Online; dias 9 e 10 de Janeiro, das 12:00-15:00 horas EST (Eastern Standart Time)*
*favor checar o Fuso Horário no Horário de Brasília.

Há registros de que instrumentos de cordas Europeus foram utilizados nas Américas já nas primeiras décadas após a chegada de colonizadores Espanhóis. No seculo XVII, vários dos instrumentos graves da família das cordas com características Europeias estavam sendo utilizados nas Americas, tendo sido importados da Europa ou fabricados localmente por artesãos das colônias e pessoas indígenas.
“Instrumentos de Cordas Graves nas Américas nos Séculos XVI-XIX” é um simpósio online que vai promover pesquisas recentes na presença e uso de instrumentos graves de cordas durante os primeiros quatro séculos da ocupação Européia das Américas. Por “cordas graves” estamos nos referindo a instrumentos que soam primariamente no registro dos cellos, violas, violas da gamba, contrabaixos, violones, etc. Propostas de apresentação neste simpósio podem endereçar a presença e uso de tais instrumentos em qualquer contexto musical e cultural, em conexão com a geografia e história dos períodos e locais já mencionados.
O Simpósio terá o período de dois dias, e contará com a apresentação de artigos ou palestra- performance. Apresentação de artigos terão duração de 20 minutos, seguidos de 10 minutos de perguntas do público. As propostas submetidas devem possuir um resumo de no máximo 300 palavras, especificando se a apresentação será em formato de artigo (2500 palavras) ou de palestra-performance.
Os organizadores do evento são músicos-pesquisadores, porém estão convidados a se inscrever e enviar propostas pesquisadores de quaisquer outras disciplinas e afiliações (acadêmicas ou não). Nós esperamos que a maioria das apresentações sejam em Inglês, porém também consideraremos apresentações em Francês, Espanhol e Português. Quando selecionados, os palestrantes podem submeter gravações de suas apresentações, e estes também devem estar presentes para a sessão de perguntas e respostas com o público, logo após a apresentação de seus projetos.
Título e resumo não devem exceder 300 palavras, e devem ser enviados em PDF, Word Doc, ou Google Doc, ao e-mail lowstringsamericas@gmail.com até a data limite 1º de Novembro de 2020. Inclua seu nome completo e instituição de afiliação (se houver). Por favor especifique na sua proposta caso você possua necessidades técnicas que vão além do audiovisual regular de uma apresentação online. As submissões serão anônimas quanto à sua revisão e aceitação no Simpósio. Os participantes escolhidos serão notificados no dia 15 de Novembro de 2020.


Loren Ludwig, Pesquisador/Performer independente que reside em Baltimore, MD, USA 

Elinor Frey, Pesquisador/Performer independente que reside em Montréal, QC, Canada; Instructora na Université de Montréal, McGill University.


Les instruments à cordes européens auraient été joués en Amérique dans les décennies qui ont suivi l'arrivée des premiers colons espagnols. Au XVIIe siècle, plusieurs membres de la basse des instruments à cordes de style européen étaient en usage dans les Amériques, ayant été importés d'Europe ou fabriqués localement par des artisans coloniaux et indigènes. "Les cordes basses dans les Amériques aux XVIe et XIXe siècles" est un symposium en ligne qui présentera les recherches récentes sur la présence et/ou l'utilisation des instruments à cordes basses pendant les quatre premiers siècles de l'occupation européenne des Amériques. Par "cordes basses", nous entendons les instruments qui sonnent principalement dans la gamme des "8-ft" et "16-ft", y compris (mais sans s'y limiter !) les violoncelles, les violes de gambe, les basses, les violons, les bajos, les violons, etc. Les propositions peuvent porter sur la présence et/ou l'utilisation de ces instruments dans tout contexte musical ou culturel ayant un lien avec les frontières géographiques et historiques suggérées par notre titre.
L'événement "Les cordes graves aux Amériques" se déroulera sur deux jours et comprendra des présentations d'articles et des performances/conférences. Les présentations sur papier dureront 20 minutes, suivies de 10 minutes pour les questions des participants, et les performances/lectures dureront 30 minutes, avec 15 minutes pour les questions des participants. Les soumissions doivent prendre la forme d'un résumé de 300 mots avec titre, en précisant si la présentation est destinée à être un article (environ 2500 mots) ou une performance/lecture. Bien que les organisateurs de "Low Strings in the Americas" soient des interprètes/chercheurs en musique, nous invitons les propositions de toute discipline ou affiliation institutionnelle (ou non !). Bien que nous nous attendions à ce que la plupart des présentateurs choisissent de présenter en anglais, nous examinerons les propositions en français, en espagnol et en portugais. Une fois sélectionnés, les présentateurs peuvent soumettre des présentations préenregistrées, mais chaque présentateur devra être disponible pour des questions-réponses en direct après sa présentation prévue.
Les titres et les résumés ne dépassant pas 300 mots doivent être envoyés au format PDF, Word Doc ou Google Doc à lowstringsamericas@gmail.com avant le 1er novembre 2020. Indiquez votre nom et votre affiliation institutionnelle, le cas échéant. Veuillez préciser dans la proposition si vous avez des exigences techniques autres que la lecture audiovisuelle. Les soumissions seront rendues anonymes lors de leur examen. Les participants acceptés seront informés d'ici le 15 novembre 2020.
Organisateurs :
Loren Ludwig, chercheur/interprète indépendant basé à Baltimore, MD, USA
Elinor Frey, chercheuse/interprète indépendante basée à Montréal, QC, Canada, instructrice à l'Université de Montréal, Université McGill.