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Musicology Colloquium: Andrew Hicks, “Listening Otherwise in the Medieval Persian Tradition: From the Global to the Otherworldly”

Thursday, October 28, 2021 at 4:30pm

Lincoln Hall, 124
Dept of Music, 101 Lincoln Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-4101, USA

“Listening Otherwise in the Medieval Persian Tradition: From the Global to the Otherworldly”

Abstract: “Do you break our harp, exalted one? Thousands of other harps are here.” This evocative line of verse, by the thirteenth-century Sufi poet Jalal al-Din Rumi, epitomizes an Arabo-Persian modality of listening known as samā‘—a term that encompasses both the act of hearing and the things heard, material and immaterial. This lecture excavates a richly textured media-archaeology of the soundscapes of medieval Persian poetry, and its activation across global and cosmic networks, to reveal the role of listening within the Persian poetic imagination. In so doing, it exposes problems of continuity, rupture, and the cultural imaginary in Persian poetic praxis.

Andrew Hicks’ research focuses on the intellectual history of early musical thought from a cross-disciplinary perspective that embraces philosophical, cosmological, scientific and grammatical discourse in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and spans the linguistic and cultural spheres of Latin, Greek, Persian, and Arabic. His first book, Composing the World: Harmony in the Medieval Platonic Cosmos (Oxford University Press, 2017), won the ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson book award (2018) and the Society for Music Theory's Emerging Scholar book award (2018). He collaborated with Fr. Édouard Jeauneau on  John Scottus Eriugena’s Commentary and Homily on the Gospel of John (CCCM 166, Brepols 2008), and he is currently preparing the first edition of William of Conches’ Glosulae super Priscianum (Brepols). His published essays range across the history of music theory, late ancient and medieval Pythagoreanism, the reception of Martianus Capella, textual criticism, and musical metaphors and modalities in Classical Persian literatures. He won the 2018 Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin for research on his next book titled The Broken Harp: Listening Otherwise in Classical Persian Literature

Hicks is the Director of the Program in Medieval Studies, a member of the Graduate Fields of Classics, Near Eastern Studies, the Religious Studies Program, affiliated with the Carl Sagan Institute, and the House Professor-Dean of Hans Bethe House on Cornell's West Campus. He regularly leads graduate seminars in the history of music theory, medieval Latin literature, Latin paleography and codicology, medieval cosmology, philosophical commentaries, and musical thought in medieval Arabo-Persian cultures, and he teaches undergraduate courses in music history and theory. He is co-editor of the Journal of Musicology, associate editor of the Journal of Medieval Latin, and is on the editorial board of TEAMS and the board of directors of the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies. He is the co-founder of the History of Music Theory Study Group of the AMS, is on the board of the Music and Philosophy Study Group of the AMS, and serves on the advisory board for Music and Late Medieval European Court Cultures (an ERC funded project at the University of Oxford). 





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