Recent Paper Given in Bern

María Luisa Martínez, guest researcher at the Foundation for Iberian Music, recently gave a paper at a conference at the University of Bern. The conference, held September 7–9, 2017, was entitled Branding “Western Music” and explored “intersections between Western music and the institutionalised management of culture.”

Martínez’s paper was called, “Homogenizing Spanish Musical Practices at the Turn of the Century: The Participation of Spain in the International Exhibition of Music and Theater in Vienna 1892.”

Spain’s participation in the International Exhibition of Music and Theater in Vienna 1892 was, from an outside perspective, a milestone in the reception and spreading of Spanish music in Europe. Nationally, it represented –after the efforts of several generations of musicians– a highlight in the upliftment of the role played by Spain in the development of Western music through its history and in the achievement of a more sophisticated national musical language, similar to that developed in other European countries since early nineteenth century. This event mobilized musicians from all around Spain moved by the desire for progress of Spanish music. They collaborated in many ways in the organization of the Spanish Section under the leadership of Infanta Isabel de Borbón (1851-1931), a musical activist very well informed of synchronic European music experiences and the chairwoman of the committee responsible for preparing the Spanish participation in Vienna 1892. My research reveals historical aspects of this dynamic and collaborative multidirectional music network which transformed the Spanish musical practices, promoting the recovery of a large part of the Spanish musical heritage from the Middle Ages and onwards, the building of a corpus of Spanish drama music major works (zarzuela and opera) and the production of the first organological and ethnomusicological study in Spain that we currently know, Colección de instrumentos populares de España presentada por S.A.R. la infanta María Isabel Francisca. With this contribution I intend to expand the knowledge of the energetic, enriching and changeable music scene in Spain at the turn of the century and to claim the catalyst figure of Infanta Isabel in the development and shaping of musical disciplines in Spain.

María Luisa Martínez Martínez has an International Ph.D. on Musicology (Universidad de Jaén) and is currently a guest researcher and collaborator at The Foundation for Iberian Music, Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). Her research focuses on music in the Bourbon Spanish court during the latter nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and on the evolution of flamenco guitar playing. Since 2012, she works at United Nations International School (New York).