SINTA Studies in the Arts

Lecture and Workshops

Creative Classical Performance

Dienstag, 04.10.2022 - Donnerstag, 06.10.2022

Veranstaltende: Studies in the Arts (SINTA) | Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities
Redner, Rednerin: Prof.em. Dan Leech-Wilkinson
Datum: 04.10.2022 - 06.10.2022
Uhrzeit: 18:15 Uhr
Ort: A022, A015 (UniS) und Kammermusiksaal (HKB)
UniS and HKB
Schanzeneckstrasse 1 und Papiermühlestrasse 13a
Merkmale: Öffentlich


Title Place
Public lecture: How Perfomance Persuades
UniS, room A022, Schanzeneckstrasse 1, 3012 Bern
Workshop 1: Performance Norms and How to Escape Them UniS, room A015, Schanzeneckstrasse 1, 3012 Bern
Workshop 2: Making Radical Performances
Kammermusiksaal, Hochschule der Künste HKB, Papiermühlestrasse 13a, 3014 Bern

Public Lecture: How Performance Persuades

What makes a musical performance persuasive? What happens to us when we are fully engaged with a performance, so that nothing matters more to us than finding out what happens next? I shall propose that persuasive performances of classical scores succeed not by being faithful to traditions, forms, or imagined figures from the past, but rather through the way in which performances use the dynamics of sound to shape and change feeling-states from moment to moment. I shall look at the role of sensations and images in helping us imagine, make and respond to musical sound. And I’ll discuss the implications for the way we think about ‘proper’ performance, how performance is policed, performer health, and the options for performer creativity in the future.

Workshop I: Performance Norms and How to Escape Them

Why is classical music culture so unforgiving of difference? What must a performance of a classical score achieve? How does a performance make art? How much music is already in a score? What can we learn from early recordings? Why is there so much physical and psychological illness among classical musicians? How might classical performances be more varied? How would more creative performance change music, musicians and the business?

Workshop II: Making Radical Performances

Examples and discussion of radically non-normative performances, including performances brought by students. The benefits of rule-breaking. How to do it. We shall treat this session as a ‘safe space’ in which experimentation is encouraged but need not always succeed!

Mandatory readings

Readings for the Workshop 1

To prepare for the workshops please read (and listen to):
Choose two additional chapters from

Readings for the Workshop 2 Chapters 18, 18.2, 20.1-2, anything from 23 or 24. None of these is long, but if you take it in that order you can stop when you've run out of time.

Prof.em. Daniel Leech-Wilkinson

Emeritus Professor of Music, King’s College London

Daniel Leech-Wilkinson is Emeritus Professor of Music at King’s College London. He was a student at the Royal College of Music and King’s College, and then at Cambridge University. His research has focused on the implications of early recordings for musical ethics, performance and communication, leading to new and reforming ideas about how classical performance works, is taught, evaluated and policed by the music profession. Studies include The Changing Sound of Music (2009), Music and Shape (2018), and Challenging Performance (2020).


Registration is only required for the two workshops

  • Students of the University of Bern: via KSL
  • External and HKB students and interested persons: please send an e-mail to