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Steven Huebner

Professor Steven Huebner

Schulich School of Music (Research)

Culture, Ideology and the Roots of Musical Neoclassicism


My project centers on historicism in nineteenth-century French music as exemplified by the compositional use of pre-Beethovenian models and as articulated within changing ideological frameworks and aesthetic currents from 1830 to 1914. Another way of describing it is as an investigation of (neo)classicism in a romantic and post-romantic age. My study embraces both opera and instrumental music, which, though distinct with regard to the problematic of this project, also share critical issues. In addition to identifying the musical parameters of historicizing compositional practice, I will take stock of how the use of historical models mapped on to such varied factors as pedagogical philosophy, entrenchment of a performing canon, attention to local color in the theatre, Cousin's eclecticism, Wagnerian influence, nationalism, and Baudelaire's artifice. The project will also consider the cultural work performed by various uses of the word 'classical' in this period as well as the concepts of pastiche, parody, and irony (and their wider ideological implications) as appropriate to this repertory. Work within this two year IPLAI cycle also invites reflection on the meanings of 'memory' itself as it pertains to classical aesthetic orientations during (what has often been called) the century of Clio.


Professor Huebner's Faculty Page
steven [dot] huebner [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Contact Professor Huebner)

PLAI courses taught by Professor Huebner