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Authorship and 'Authenticity'

Claire Holden and Robin StowellCardiff experts in the field of historically-informed performance will be taking part in an international conference this week on Authorship and ‘Authenticity’ in Composition, Editing and Performance.

Professor Robin Stowell, Director of the Centre for Research into Historically-Informed Performance, and Research Fellow Claire Holden will both be presenting papers at the University of Leeds.

The conference is part of the CHASE (Collection of Historical Annotated String Editions) project, an AHRC research project  aiming to collect, digitise, and contextualize the scattered corpus of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century editions of string music, annotated by performers of the period with bowings, fingerings, expression markings, or explanatory comments.

Robin Stowell will be presenting a case study focusing on the first movement of Viotti’s Violin Concerto no. 19 in G minor. He said: “The case study is based on handwritten annotations in a copy of Viotti’s Violin Concerto no.19, owned by a famous 20th-century composer-violinist. They raise interesting questions about not only its owner’s formative instruction and interpretative ideals but also those of his mentor.”

Claire Holden, a violinist in the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment is an AHRC Fellow spending five years at the School of Music researching early nineteenth century violin techniques. She will be delivering a paper on ‘Beethoven’s violin works: texts and interpretations.’ She said: “Many ‘period’ performers currently presume that simply playing on a period instrument from an Urtext source is enough, with the consequence that many period performances are either historically uninformed or historically misinformed. Performers should be assuming more responsibility for interpretation and ultimately assuming ‘authorship’ of the end product.

“From the performers’ perspective I will be examining the range of resources available to period performers nowadays and exploring the skills and decision making processes required to create with fidelity an interpretation which meets the self professed aims of Historically Informed Performance.”

The CHASE 2012 conference takes place at the University of Leeds on 4 & 5 April 2012. More information on the conference and the CHASE project is available at