Luther composer Brooke Joyce to speak on music and sexuality Sept. 8

September 1, 2009

Brooke Joyce, Luther College assistant professor of music, will speak Tuesday, Sept. 8, 7 p.m. in the Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall on the Luther campus.

Joyce’s lecture, “Music and Sexuality: Was Schubert Gay, and Does that Matter?” is part of the 2009-10 Luther Paideia Text and Issues Lecture Series and is open to the public with no charge for admission.

A reception will be held in the Center for Faith and Life Qualley Lounge following the lecture.

Traditionally, the field of music analysis tends to focus on purely musical data such as pitch, harmony, rhythm and form. When musicologists recently began considering composers’ musical language in the light of their personal lives, in particular their gender and sexuality, traditional elements of musical analysis began to take on new meaning.

Could it be that knowledge of a composers’ personal life dramatically alters the way we experience the musical data we previously understood to be pure and unencumbered by the extra musical meaning?

In his presentation, Joyce will explore the music of several iconic composers including Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert and Benjamin Britten, whose music is often cited for its supposed masculine or feminine attributes. Drawing on the writings of several prominent feminist musicologists, he will consider whether or not knowledge of their sexuality influences the experience of their music.

Musical excerpts, performed by a small ensemble of Luther faculty and students, will bring the music to life.

Joyce joined the Luther faculty in 2005, and teaches composition, theory, contemporary music history and electronic music. He currently serves as composer-in-residence for the Water City Chamber Orchestra and Lutheran Summer Music.