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The Galpin Society

The American Musical Instrument Society




1-4 JUNE 2017


The joint conference of the Galpin Society and the American Musical Instrument Society will be held in Edinburgh, 1st - 4th June 2017.

The meeting will be hosted by the University of Edinburgh and will be centred on the newly refurbished St Cecilia's Hall, location of Musical Instrument Museums Edinburgh.


Throughout, Mon-Wed 9:00-19:00 and Thu-Fri 9:00-17:00
Reading Music: Special Exhibition of Organological Rare Books and Manuscripts
Centre for Research Collections, 6th Floor, University Library, George Square
The music collections at the University of Edinburgh reach back into the 16th century. They were established and developed to support music teaching at the University and owe their richness and diversity to many individuals. Our undergraduate programme, begun in the mid-19th century, was the first of its kind in the UK and was the model for music departments at other Universities. These collections enable us to study how music was thought about, played and taught in the past from many different points of view. This exhibition highlights three areas of interest in the book, archive and manuscript collections. Firstly, there are examples of early modern texts used to help understand music and musical instruments from the 16th and 17th centuries; secondly we have texts relating to 19th-century Edinburgh, a vibrant and exciting place to be; and thirdly you can see examples of company ledgers which help us to understand how musical businesses operated.

Wednesday May 31st
Accommodation at Pollock Halls available
18:00 - 20:00 Welcome reception with music, St Cecilia's Hall
Dinner on your own

Thursday June 1st
Papers sessions, St Cecilia's Hall
Break for lunch (AMIS Board of Governors meeting)
Visit to special exhibition of organological rare books and manuscripts (first alternative time)
Papers sessions, Reid Concert Hall
Evening: Excelsior Ballroom concert and dance (The Washboard Jazz-O-Maniacs, 1920s Jazz Band with period instruments)
Named after two bands active in the 1920s and early 1930s - The Washboard Rhythm Kings and Charles Creath's Jazz-O-Maniacs - this group puts together early jazz musicians from across the UK, delivering a pre-swing repertoire that would be familiar to both bands during the height of their careers. The line-up is vocals, vocals/guitar/banjo, string bass, drums/washboard, trombone, clarinet/saxophones, trumpet.

Friday June 2nd
Papers sessions, St Cecilia's Hall
Break for lunch (Working Group on Collection Management for Universities, Colleges and Conservatories)
Visit to special exhibition of organological rare books and manuscripts (second alternative time)
Papers session
Organ recital (John Kitchen plays the 1977-78 Jürgen Ahrend 21-stop, 2-manual German organ in the Reid Concert Hall)
A recital of 17th- and 18th- century German organ music, played on the celebrated 1978 Ahrend organ in the Reid Concert Hall. Music to include works by J.S. Bach (organ chorales, 'Fiddle' Fugue in D minor), chorale variations by Michael Praetorius and Johann Pachelbel, and a concerto-arrangement by Bach's cousin J.G. Walther.
Papers session, Reid Concert Hall
Evening: Ceilidh

Saturday June 3rd
Papers session and Panel session, St Cecilia's Hall
AMIS Business Meeting, St Cecilia's Hall
13:00 Break for lunch (GS Committee meeting)
Concert: 'Les Cuivres Diaboliques' (The Wallace Collection, brass ensemble with period instruments)
The technological advances of the early nineteenth century, which gave rise to an increased chromatic capacity in brass instruments, coincided with the Romantic period in music. Music for the stage, where composers needed to scene-paint, using orchestral colours idiomatically, provided an early context for innovative writing for the new lip-excited instruments with keys and valves. The imaginary worlds of the supernatural were an ideal playground for composers and the new chromatic instruments of the Romantic period.
One of the first composers to realise the latent possibilities of the the new brass instruments was Meyerbeer and his 'Robert le diable', premiered in Paris in 1831, was widely influential. The Distin Family Quintet adopted a selection from Robert le diable almost as their signature tune, with it featuring on many handbills of their performances in an illustrious career stretching from the 1830s through to the 1850s. Hence the fanciful title of this afternoon's recital: 'Les cuivres diaboliques'. Putting ourselves back into the context of the first half of the nineteenth century, to many listeners these strange new chromatic sounds emanating from brass instruments must have sounded as if they came from another world, and the capacity for brass to express the tragic and blacker side of nature, must have seemed to some to have been dark and satanic, like the mills of the period.
The transcription of Robert le diable played by the Distin family quintet has been lost. Today, with students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland studying the historic brass module, The Wallace Collection is to play the version by James Smythe conducted by Enderby Jackson at the 1862 brass band contest at Crystal Palace.

15:00 Galpin Society Annual General Meeting, St Cecilia's Hall
Papers session, St Cecilia's Hall
Evening: Aperitifs, sponsored by Jean-Michel Renard

Sunday June 4th
Papers sessions, Reid Concert Hall
Break for lunch (AMIS Editorial Board)
Demonstrations of museum instruments (three rotating sessions), St Cecilia's Hall
Papers session, St Cecilia's Hall
Evening: Concert at St Cecilia's Hall (Il Rossignolo, period woodwinds and harpsichord)
Internationally acclaimed as 'one of the finest young Italian groups of early music' for its interpretative verve which combines 'extraordinary and inspired vitality with philological authenticity', Il Rossignolo is an ensemble - whose component parts vary on the basis of repertoire - which specializes in the study and performance of early music played on historical instruments. The group was founded and is coordinated by flute players Marica Testi and Martino Noferi and harpsichordist Ottaviano Tenerani, who is also the conductor.

Monday June 5th
Visit to instrument collections in Glasgow
Kelvin Hall
Hunterian Museum
Piping Centre
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (exhibition and reserve)

Further information: e-mail:

This page updated: 17.5.17