Minimalism Unbounded! The Fifth International Conference on Minimalist Music. September 24-27, 2015

Organised by the University of Turku and the Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts, Helsinki

In this conference we will encourage new debates about the sounds and cultural meanings of minimalist music.

Usually associated with the North American style propagated since the 1960s by composers like Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Terry Riley and La Monte Young, the influence of minimalism on musical life and cross-arts practices extends beyond these now canonical figures and arguably also predates them. This conference will continue to direct focused attention towards the core repertory, but will also encourage work which challenges our assumptions about the boundaries of the style and its significance.

Minimalism Unbounded! will focus above all on the relevance of the minimalist style in the 21st century. The influence of minimalism is especially evident in music performed in multimodal and cross-artistic settings, including film, musical theatre, sound, installation and performance art. It has disseminated and transformed beyond its reductive origins in the musical avant-garde and is today heard in diverse settings, some of them recognisably postminimalist, informed by environmental concerns, inspired by spiritual or mystical ideas, and permeating popular styles and forms including film scores, ambient and drone music, glitch and IDM.

We cordially invite submissions on a broad range of topics representing different disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. We welcome musicologists and composers, cultural theorists and philosophers, inter-arts researchers and music theorists with a view to stimulating lively debate about the past and current state of the art in minimalist music and cognate artistic practices.

We especially welcome work which

  • extends our understanding of minimalism as a sonic, social and cultural practice in the 21st century
  • offers new perspectives on the core minimalist repertory
  • opens new pathways to understanding minimalism as a musical and cross-arts phenomenon, especially how the style has migrated between genres, media and forms
  • offers new perspectives on the different traditions and influences on the style, including precursors of minimalism
  • sheds new light on minimalism in the Nordic region
  • discusses examples of postminimalism which have taken the style in new directions, including drone music and music that draws on alternative tuning systems
  • addresses the rich terrain of intersections of minimalism with popular music and culture, ranging from pop art to IDM.

Keynote speakers (details to be posted later)
Robert Fink
Jelena Novak

Guest composer (details to be posted later)
Kyle Gann

Programme committee
John Richardson (Chair)
Susanna Välimäki (Vice-Chair, University of Turku)
Juhani Nuorvala (Vice-Chair, Sibelius Academy)
Petri Kuljuntausta
John Pymm
Pwyll ap Sion

The conference fee includes participation in the conference, lunch and other refreshments, the conference programme, a book of abstracts and other relevant material, transportation between Turku and Helsinki, and admission to concerts.

Conference participation fee:
members of the Society for Minimalist Music: 120€
delegates who are not members of the Society for Minimalist Music: 150€
University of Turku and Sibelius Academy students (not including food and refreshments): 20€
conference dinner (not included in the registration fee): 40€

Proposals for individual papers, sessions and workshops should be submitted using the online forms at these links: 


Panel presentations



All proposed papers, panels and workshops will be subject to peer review. Proposals for individual presentations should not exceed 20 minutes in length with an additional 10 minutes allocated for questions and discussion. Panel proposals should be for a maximum of 90 minutes, workshops a maximum of 120 minutes. Proposals will be accepted only via the online portal.

Deadline for proposals: March 30th 2015 (call opens on January 20th , 2015).

Applicants will be notified of the programme committee’s final decisions by May 15th, 2015

Minimalism Unbounded! will be a dynamic academic and cultural event staged in two cities, Turku and Helsinki. It will include performances of recent and older music, workshops for composers, public talks and debates, and high-level academic presentations and discussions.

The first two days of the conference will take place at the University of Turku, situated in the beautiful city of Turku on the country’s south west coast, a major cultural centre and the former capital of Finland; the final two days will take place at the Sibelius Academy, in Helsinki’s state of the art Music Centre. Travel between the two locations is included in the conference fee (the journey takes approx. 2 hrs). The organisers will post information about travel and accommodation in good time prior to notifications of accepted papers and sessions.

The conference is organised jointly by the Department of Musicology at the University of Turku and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. It is supported by the Society for Minimalist Music ( ) and the International Institute for Popular Culture at the University of Turku (

Contact email: minimalism(at)​​​​​​​

A Study Day on the music of Steve Reich

A Study Day on the music of Steve Reich
Kings Place, London – 14 February 2015
Tickets vis the Kings Place Website

9.30 Registration

10.00 Introduction to the study day – John Pymm, Chair of the Society for Minimalist Music.

10.05 Opening Keynote – An Introduction to Steve Reich’s Compositional Development

Through the Lens of its Reception; Keith Potter (Goldsmiths, University of London)

10.40 Break

11.00 Analytical Perspectives on Steve Reich’s Music

  • Paul Cassidy (Goldsmiths, University of London): On the Anomalousness of Steve Reich’s Four Organs
  • Twila Bakker (Bangor University): New York Counterpoint: Getting to the Core of Reich’s ‘Big Apple’ Piece
  • Jason Jedlicka (Indiana University): Exploring Augmentation in Steve Reich’s Double Sextet

12.30 Lunch

1.15 Political and Aesthetic Perspectives

  • Sumanth Gopinath (University of Minnesota): ‘Short Chord Gets Long Via Augmentation’: Psychedelic Science Fiction, Erotic Sublimation, and the Hermeneutics of Steve Reich’s Four Organs
  • Michael Palmese (Louisiana State University): Disunity and the Act of Memorialization in Steve Reich’s WTC 9/11
  • Victoria Aschheim (Princeton University): History as an Image; Different Trains and Its Sketches Through a Benjaminian Lens

2.45 Break

3.00 Narrativity and the Voice

  • Jelena Novak ( New University of Lisbon): Documentary Singing: Performing the Voice in Music by Steve Reich
  • John Pymm (University of Wolverhampton): ‘On the Right Track?’ Identifying the Various Stories in Different Trains

4.00 Study day ends

5th International Conference

For those interested in the 5th International Conference, to be held in Turku and Helsinki, Finland, the dates will be 24th-26th September 2015. We will post more information as we have it.

London Conference

You are kindly invited to submit proposals for a one-day Conference on the music of Steve Reich, to be held at King’s Place, London, on Saturday 14 February, 2015 as part of a weekend of performances of music by Steve Reich, some of which will have the composer in attendance.

All scholars interested in Reich’s music are invited to submit paper proposals for the Conference, with particular emphasis on the repertoire being performed during the weekend: Four Organs (1970); Clapping Music (1972); Sextet (1984); New York Counterpoint (1985); Different Trains (1988); Double Sextet (2007); Mallet Quartet (2009), and WTC 9/11 (2010).

The conference aims to make accessible to concert-going audiences some of the latest research on Reich’s music, and contributions are welcomed in the form of individual papers (20 minutes) and themed sessions of 3-4 papers, as well as non-traditional sessions or events, such as poster sessions. For individual papers, abstracts containing a maximum of 400 words should be sent as email attachments, by 1 September, 2014, to the Secretary of the Society –

For themed sessions, please collate abstracts for the constituent papers and a short abstract of the session theme into a single document and submit as above. The conference committee is also happy to consider presenting lecture-recitals.

Further details of the event are available at the King’s Place website.

Music and/as Process

Registration for the Music and/as Process Conference (UK) is still available. Note that a concurrent conference will take place as part of the nief-norf Research Summit at Furman University in South Carolina. Registration for the UK Conference includes lunch, refreshments and concert tickets and is possible via the conference website.

The conference takes place on 31st May and 1st June at Canterbury Christ Church University. This year’s conference has special areas of focus on progressive music analysis of 20th century music, catalogue music, graphic notation and devising, with keynote addresses given by: Dr Nicholas McKay (Canterbury Christ Church University) Tom Johnson (Independent Composer) and Dr Jane Alden (Wesleyan University) as well as keynote performances given by: Michael Bonaventure and Steve Gisby, including the world premiere of Tom Johnson’s Intervals Vocal Constructivists, dir. By Jane Alden For those unable to attend the conference but who would like to attend the keynote concerts, separate tickets can be purchased at the CCCU online store. More details about the conference, the Music and/as Process Study Group, and Canterbury can be found at our website.