Dublin 2016

Doctors in Performance

The second festival conference of music performance and artistic research

8–9 September 2016 

Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin

Download the Conference Booklet

Download the Conference Schedule

Welcome to Doctors in Performance — the second festival conference of music performance and artistic research. The conference will take place from 8-9 September 2016 and you will find here the latest conference information, links to help you plan your attendance and details of the programme of events.

The first Doctors in Performance festival conference of music performance and artistic research was held at the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki from 4-5 September 2014. The second Doctors in Performance conference will be held at the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM), Dublin, in 2016. For over 165 years, RIAM has had an association with excellence in performance and appreciation in all musical disciplines. Doctoral candidates and post-doctoral researchers working in the fields of musical performance and practice-based or artistic research in music are invited to participate in this festival conference. We look forward to welcoming you to Dublin!

Call for papers

The Royal Irish Academy of Music invites artistic research performers at doctoral and post-doctoral levels to take part in the second festival conference of music performance and artistic research.


Keynote performers

Professor John Butt OBE (Gardiner Professor of Music, University of Glasgow)
Dr John O’Conor (Chair of the Piano Division at Shenandoah University, Virginia, USA)

The purpose of the conference is to bring together doctoral candidates and post-doctoral researchers working in the fields of musical performance and practice-based or artistic research in music. ‘Doctors in Performance’ places the emphasis on the music itself with the majority of presentations consisting principally of a musical performance in the form of a recital or a lecture recital related to the research. Shorter paper presentations on artistic research are also included.


Presentation proposals

Each of the presentations will consist of a musical performance (solo or chamber music) of 40 minutes maximum. The performance can take the form of a recital or a lecture recital. The music performed is expected to include or relate closely to the contents of the doctoral degree or research the participant is pursuing. Paper presentations on artistic research (20 minutes maximum) are also possible.


Forms for presentations

  • Recital 40 minutes (+ 10 minutes discussion)
  • Lecture recital 40 minutes (+ 10 minutes discussion)
  • Paper presentation 20 minutes (+ 5 minutes discussion)

The conference language is English and all presentations should be in English.
In order to submit a proposal, please visit the online submission form via the buttons at the top and bottom of this page and follow the instructions there.


Proposals must be accompanied by the following

  • a detailed programme of the recital: composers, work titles, composition years, opus numbers
  • a written summary of the candidate’s research topic (500 words maximum)
  • curriculum vitae (150 words maximum) and contact information
  • institutional affiliation
  • equipment needed for performances and presentations (instruments, data projectors, etc.)

The proposals will be peer-reviewed anonymously.



Conference proceedings for Doctors in Performance 2016 will be published in advance on the conference website and in print. This will serve as a concert programme as well as provide background information about the participants and their research topics. The applicants are therefore encouraged to include written comments discussing how their artistic and other research work support each other and towards which common goal they are directed.

Keynote performers

Prof John Butt (University of Glasgow)

John Butt is Gardiner Professor of Music at the University of Glasgow and musical director of Edinburgh’s Dunedin Consort. As an undergraduate at Cambridge University, he held the office of organ scholar at King’s College. Continuing as a graduate student working on the music of Bach he received his PhD in 1987. He was subsequently a lecturer at the University of Aberdeen and a Fellow of Magdalene College Cambridge, joining the faculty at UC Berkeley in 1989 as University Organist and Professor of Music. In autumn 1997 he returned to Cambridge as a University Lecturer and Fellow of King’s College, and in October 2001 he took up his current post at Glasgow. His books have been published by Cambridge University Press: these include Bach Interpretation (1990), A handbook on Bach’s Mass in B Minor (1991), Music Education and the Art of Performance in the German Baroque (1994). Playing with History (2002) marked a new tack, examining the broad culture of historically informed performance and attempting to explain and justify it as a contemporary phenomenon. He is also editor or joint editor of both the Cambridge and Oxford Companions to Bach and of the Cambridge History of Seventeenth‐Century Music (2005). His book on Bach’s Passions, Bach’s Dialogue with Modernity, was published in 2010, and explores the ways in which Bach’s Passion settings relate to some of the broader concepts of modernity, such as subjectivity and time consciousness. John Butt’s conducting engagements with the Dunedin Consort (2003 –) have included major Baroque repertory and several new commissions. He has been guest conductor with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The English Concert, The Irish Baroque Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, The Royal Academy of Music Bach Cantata series, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Portland Baroque Orchestra and the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra. John Butt also continues to be active as a solo organist and harpsichordist. Eleven recordings on organ, harpsichord and clavichord have been released by Harmonia Mundi. As conductor or organist he has performed throughout the world, including recent trips to Germany, France, Poland, Israel, Korea, Canada, Belgium, Holland and Irish Republic. 10 In 2003 John Butt was elected to Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and received the Dent Medal of the Royal Musical Association. That year his book, Playing with History, was shortlisted for the British Academy’s annual Book Prize. In 2006 he was elected Fellow of the British Academy and began a two‐year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for his research on Bach’s Passions. He has recently served on the Council of the Arts and Humanities Research Council. In January 2011 he became the fifth recipient of the Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation’s Bach Prize, for his work in the performance and scholarship of Bach. In 2013 John Butt was awarded the medal of the Royal College of Organists and the OBE for his services to music in Scotland.

Bach’s Well‐Tempered Clavier ‐ Adding the Temperament of Time


Much has been written on Bach’s Well‐Tempered Clavier and issues to do with its performance. Most of these have centred on its range of contrapuntal and stylistic techniques, together with the implications of the newly‐evolving tonal system and the various colours facilitated through the tuning systems. Less has been said or discussed about its time signatures, which themselves greatly add to the encyclopaedic breadth of the collection. While it is often assumed that time signatures merely indicate a mechanical flow and division of background beats, prior to any interpretative input, this presentation looks atsome of the historical implications of time signaturesin terms of the styles, moods and tempi that they might suggest. The various systems at hand also facilitate some considerations of tempo relationships, when several of the pieces are played in succession. Although playing the collection as a whole is only one of many historical and modern performance possibilities, the time signatures can certainly help in finding ways to give certain sequences cohesion. The presentation will culminate in the performance of a selection of consecutive Preludes and Fugues drawn from the collection.


Dr John O’Conor 

"A pianist of unbounding sensitivity" (Gramophone); "He represents a vanishing tradition that favours inner expression and atmosphere over showmanship and bravura" (Chicago Tribune); "Impeccable technique and musicality … it would be hard to imagine better performances" (Sunday Times – London); "This artist has the kind of flawless touch that makes an audience gasp" (Washington Post); "Exquisite playing" (New York Times). The Irish pianist, John O’Conor, has been gathering wonderful reviewsfor his masterly playing for over forty years. Having studied in his native Dublin, in Vienna with Dieter Weber and been tutored by the legendary Wilhelm Kempff, his unanimous 1st Prize at the International Beethoven Piano Competition in Vienna in 1973 opened the door to a career that has brought him all around the world. He has performed with many of the world's leading orchestras including the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, l'Orchestre National de France, the NHK Orchestra in Japan and the Atlanta, Cleveland, San Francisco, Dallas, Montreal and Detroit Symphoniesin North America. He has given concertsin many of the world's most famous halls including Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, the Wigmore Hall and South Bank Centre in London, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Dvorak Hall in Prague and the Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo. He enjoys collaborating in Lieder recitals and performing chamber music with many instrumentalists and ensembles such as the Cleveland, Tokyo, Vanbrugh, Vermeer, Takacs, Vogler and Ying Quartets. John O'Conor first gained widespread attention in the USA in 1986 with the release of his first volume of Beethoven Sonatas on the Telarc label. He went on to record the complete Sonatas and these were issued as a box set in 1994. CD Review described Mr. O'Conor's performances as "recordings of the highest calibre and Beethoven playing at its best". Mr O'Conor has made more than 20 recordings for Telarc, including the complete Beethoven Bagatelles(cited by the New York Times asthe best recordings of these works) and Mozart Concertos with Sir Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He has also recorded the complete Nocturnes, Sonatas and Concertos of the Irish composer John Field. In 2007 and 2008 he recorded the complete Piano Concertos of Beethoven with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andreas Delfs, and these have been greeted with great acclaim. Prof. O'Conor is regarded as one of the most important piano teachers in the world today. He is Distinguished Artist in Residence, Professor of Music and Chair of the Piano Division 12 at Shenandoah Conservatory in Virginia, a faculty member at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, International Visiting Artist at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and Visiting Professor at Showa University in Japan. His students have won many international prizes (most recently First Prizes at the Maria Canals Competition in Barcelona in 2012 and the Beethoven Competition in Bonn in 2013) and he is in great demand for masterclasses and as a juror at the most prestigious international piano competitions worldwide. For his services to music he has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by the National University of Ireland, by Trinity College Dublin, by the Dublin Institute of Technology and by Shenandoah University, the title Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government, the Ehrenkreuzfür Wissenschaft und Kunst by the Austrian Government, the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese Government and hasreceived many other awards. John O’Conor is a Steinway Artist. www.johnoconor.com  

Humour and Tragedy in the Beethoven Piano Sonatas

ABSTRACT Beethoven is known for the strength of personality in all his works. His tough childhood, the struggle to survive financially and the battles with deafness and his nephew have all been documented extensively. But I feel that his sense of humour has been underestimated in our approach to his personality.  In this talk I will of course point out some of the tragic moments in his Sonatas (it is impossible to ignore them) but also some moments of great humour which are sometimes overlooked.

Organizing committee


Denise Neary, Royal Irish Academy of Music
Orla McDonagh, DIT Conservatory of Music & Drama
Anu Vehviläinen, Sibelius Academy
Markus Kuikka, Sibelius Academy
Lina Navickaitė­Martinelli, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre