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CFP: Berklee College of Music Symposium: Bossmen: Muddy Waters and Bill Monroe

Friday, September 6, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lorraine Cashman
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The American Roots Music program at Berklee College of Music is proud to announce its second symposium, Bossmen: Muddy Waters and Bill Monroe. Infused with the innovation and creativity that is focal to Berklee’s identity, this intimate event will celebrate the lives and music of two iconic musicians through scholarly presentations, lively panel discussions, experimental format sessions, and world-class performances.

The juxtaposition of American music titans Muddy Waters and Bill Monroe is worth examining for both their striking similarities and their differences. For example, although they didn’t share a common geographic region or genre, both men grew up in rural areas and took their music to the big cities. Of course, ultimately, their most important similarity is that both men helped create and define particular idioms of American music: bluegrass, in the case of Bill Monroe, and Chicago blues, in the case of Muddy Waters.

In an effort to explore the comparison of these two individuals from multiple angles, this symposium will broach a variety of topics including the musical worlds of bluegrass and Chicago blues; the intersection of black and white music in America; the power of individual personality in shaping musical style; the effect of technology on the creation and dissemination of American music; the effect of migration to big cities on rural musicians; and others relating to relevant social, cultural, historical, and musical issues.

We welcome submissions from scholars and performers in fields that relate to the musical, cultural, historical, and social aspects of Chicago blues and bluegrass. In an effort to expand the conventional format of presentations, performances, musical works, and other creative contributions are also encouraged.

This symposium will feature 15 to 20 sessions over the course of two days. Sessions will be one to two hours long including Q&A.

Proposals are invited for three different types of sessions:

  1. Panel discussions: presenters share ideas on a common theme or area of focus.
  2. Individual presentations or performances.
  3. Experimental format sessions: Participants may choose a more experimental form of presentation such as a demonstration of techniques, a screening and discussion of a film, or any other unconventional or creative format.

Proposals should be submitted electronically through the Proposal Submission Form no later than December 6, 2013.

Proposals containing supporting audio-visual materials that are too large to send by email may be uploaded via Dropbox to

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