Sound Installation, Ligeti in Context: The Witch’s Kitchen at the WDR Electronic Studio
March 5–8, Logan Stairwell

Die Hexenküche (The Witch’s Kitchen) was the colloquial nickname for the electronic music studio at the WDR radio station in Cologne, called as such by conservative critics and skeptical audiences who questioned its aesthetic relevance. For composers such as Ligeti, however, the WDR studio was a utopia for creating truly avant-garde music. This installation reimagines the compelling and strange electronic sounds of the studio. Come immerse yourself in the soundscape of mid-century modernism.

Seminar and Concert
Monday, March 5, 4:30 – 6pm, Logan Penthouse
Tuesday, March 6, 7:30 pm, Logan Performance Hall

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, the leading interpreter of Ligeti’s piano music, discusses the composer in a lecture-demonstration as part of the University of Chicago Composition Seminar. The following evening, he presents a recital of the Etudes and Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata.

Conference (Day One), Wednesday, March 7

Morning Panel: “Technocratic Modernism and the Aesthetics of Failure”
9:30am – 12:00pm, Fulton Hall at Goodspeed Hall (1010 E. 59th St., 4th floor)
  • 9:30 – 10:00am, Jennifer Iverson (University of Chicago) and Samuel Pluta (University of Chicago)
    “Electro-acoustic Translations and the Aesthetics of Failure”
  • 10:00 – 10:30am, Naomi Woo (University of Cambridge)
    “The Practice of Failure in Ligeti’s Touches Bloquées

Short break

  • 10:45 – 11:15am, Joseph Cadagin (Stanford University)
    “Piecing Together Ligeti’s Unfinished Alice in Wonderland
  • 11:15 – 11:45am, Joshua Banks Mailman (Columbia University)
    “The Legacy of Ligeti’s Unsung Innovation: Textural Incline of Pitch (TIP)”

12:00 – 1:30pm, Lunch in Fulton lobby

Demo Lectures: “Theorizing Playing, Self and Other”
1:30 – 3:00pm, Fulton Hall
  • 1:30 – 3:00pm, Seth Brodsky (University of Chicago) with Doyle Armbrust (Spektral Quartet)
    “On the Viola Sonata (1991-94)”

 3:00p – 3:30pm, Afternoon coffee break in Fulton lobby

Afternoon Keynote
3:30 – 5:00pm, Fulton Hall

Amy Bauer (UC Irvine)
Read my Désordre! Ligeti Against the Historicists

Evening Performance
8:00 – 10:00pm, Logan Penthouse 901

New Budapest Orpheum Society Ensemble
Transylvania Transit – A Musical Journey through Modernism’s Mirror

Artistic Director, Philip V. Bohlman (University of Chicago)

The New Budapest Orpheum Society, the Jewish cabaret and ensemble-in-residence for the Humanities Division, journeys to the Transylvanian world in which György Ligeti grew up and which he explored in his early career as a Romanian ethnomusicologist of Hungarian-Jewish heritage. In the course of the evening the ensemble will travel through the shtetls to the urban ghettos of the Carpathians, searching out the confluence of post-Shoah Polish cabaret with Hebrew songs in the new settlements of modern Israel. Passing through modernism’s mirror, as did Ligeti in his early years, listeners will experience twentieth-century music in new and unexpected ways.

Conference (Day Two), Thursday, March 8

Morning Panel: “Composing Multiplicity: Cycles, Distortion, and Dissonance in the Late Piano Works”
9:30am – 12:00pm, Fulton Hall
  • 9:30 – 10:00am, Clifton Callender (Florida State Uuniversity)
    “Between the Hands: Interharmony and Combinatorial Tonality in the Études and Beyond”
  • 10:00 – 10:30am, Maxwell Silva (University of Chicago)
    “Uncanny Disintegration, Playful Flux: Hearing Attenuated Tonality in Ligeti’s Fanfares

Short break

  • 10:45 – 11:15am, Sara Bakker (Utah State University)
    “What Makes a Study? Perspectives from Ligeti and Nancarrow”
  • 11:15 – 11:45am, Imri Talgam (The Graduate Center at CUNY)
    “A Perception-Based Strategy for the Performance of Rhythmic Dissonance in Ligeti’s Polymetric Études”

12:00 – 1:30pm, Lunch in Fulton lobby

Afternoon Panel: “From Transylvania to the Global Stage: Research, Teaching, and Tempering”
2:00 – 4:30pm, Classics 110
  • 2:00 – 2:30pm, Bianca Țiplea Temeș (Gh. Dima Music Academy Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
    “Haunting Soundscapes of Transylvania: Ligeti’s Research Stay at the Folklore Institute in Bucharest”
  • 2:30 – 3:00pm, Anthony Cheung (University of Chicago)
    “Undercurrents and Overtones: Strangeness, Denaturing, and the Microtonal Conspiracies of Ligeti and His Students”

Coffee break

  • 3:30 – 4:00pm, Noah Kahrs (Eastman School of Music)
    “Imperfect Representations of Non-Tempered Intonation in Ligeti’s Late Piano Writing”
  • 4:00 – 4:30pm, Benjamin Levy (University of California Santa Barbara)
    “Sound Worlds Colliding: Microtone and Macropolitics in the Music of Ligeti and Vivier”
Evening Film Screening
7:30 – 10:30pm, Logan Screening Room 201

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, dir. Stanley Kubrick, 2 h 29 min)
Introduction: Berthold Hoeckner (University of Chicago)

The Dislocations symposium is generously supported by the Franke Institute for the Humanities, the University of Chicago Arts Council, the Logan Center, the Division of the Humanities, the Joyce Z. and Jacob Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies, and the Department of Music.

Conference Locations

Fulton Recital Hall

4th floor of Goodspeed Hall (Department of Music)
1010 E 59th St. 60637 = corner of 59th and Ellis, enter inside the Quad

Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts

Incl. Performance Hall on 1st floor, Screening Room 201, and Penthouse 901
915 E 60th St. 60637


Adjacent to Goodspeed Hall—you don’t even have to walk outside
1010 E 59th St. 60637

Hyatt Place – Chicago South

5225 S. Harper Ave 60615 (shuttle to/from University is provided, ask at the front desk)