International scientific symposium ‘Music and Dance on East-West Axis: Correlations and Mobilities’

The international scientific symposium titled ‘Music and Dance on East–West Axis: Correlations and Mobilities’ co-organized by the Institute of Musicology SASA, SASA Department of Arts and Istanbul University State Conservatory, was held in the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, from 4-6 September.

The scientific symposium, which was conducted in English, was the opportunity for the participation (in person and online) of ethnomusicologists, ethnochoreologists, musicologists, historians and anthropologists from Serbia, Turkey (particularly within the bilateral scientific cooperation on the TRackeRS project), Austria, Germany, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, the United States of America, Australia, France and the United Kingdom.

Adding on to the previous Balkan music and dance research (especially the one inspired by the work of Edward Said and Marija Todorova), this event provided an opportunity to rethink the East, particularly with a focus on determining common heritage, practices and inclinations in music and dance – beginning with new applications and interpretations of the concepts of Orientalism and post-colonialism, to structural analysis results presentations of supposed eastern influences in a broader sense.

Jim Samson, a leading authority in global musicology who dedicated capital works to musical practices in the Balkans and Black Sea countries, gave a keynote lecture. On this occasion, he discussed the symbolic geography of the East and the West starting from a musical and critical theory point of view. Some light was shed from various perspectives on the following: Vranje folk music, performances of the Roma in Serbia, manners of representation of ‘Turkishness’ in the music of southern Slavs, swinging between the East and the West in Serbian art and popular music examples, Ottoman heritage matter problematization, music and dance in Western diaspora.

During the symposium, recent editions of the Institute of Musicology SASA were presented, and all participants had an opportunity to have a working visit to the national ensemble ‘Kolo’. As part of the accompanying programme of the symposium, the concert titled ‘Soundscapes of the Serbian Cultural Space’ was held at the Ethnographic Museum on Monday, 4 September 2023, which was organized in cooperation with the Department of Ethnomusicology of the Faculty of Musical Arts of the University of Arts in Belgrade and ‘Tradicija Viva’ ensemble will perform.