Conference: Keyboard Culture in 18th-Century Berlin and the German Sense of History

The March 10-13 celebration of Cornell’s new baroque pipe organ includes an academic conference, entitled “Keyboard Culture in 18th-Century Berlin and the German Sense of History.” The conference will explore music and culture in 18th-century Berlin, as well as the background and history associated with the Arp Schnitger organ on which Cornell’s new instrument is modeled.

organ keyboardThe conference features talks by distinguished musicologists, including keynote-speaker Laurenz Litteken (Professor of Music, University of Zurich), Vanessa Agnew (Associate Professor of German Studies, University of Michigan), and Richard Kramer (Distinguished Professor of Music, CUNY Graduate Center), as well as performances of 17th- and 18th-century music (see Events for the concert schedule).

Presentations over the three days of the conference will look broadly at keyboard music of all sorts and in various contexts. While the focus is on the organ, participants will also hear, and hear about, music for fortepiano, harpsichord and clavichord.

Registration for the conference is being handled by the Westfield Center. The registration form and more conference details can be found at

Scheduled talks include:

Laurenz Litteken, Keynote (University of Zurich): “Variety, Synthesis and Supremacy: Aspects of a Musical Topography in the Berlin of Frederick II”

Darrell Berg (Washington University, St. Louis): “‘Rules to their Most Innocent Pleasures’: The State of Music in Mid 18th-Century Berlin”

Matthew Head (King’s College, London): “Mozart’s Gothic: Aesthetic Terror and Historical Consciousness in the Einzelwerke for Solo Keyboard”

Ulrich Leisinger (Mozarteum, Salzburg): “Mozart meets Bach. A Viennese in Berlin in 1789”

Martin Kuster (Cornell University): “‘Ideal’ Organ Accompaniment and Mid-Century Berlin Aesthetics”

Mathieu Langlois (Cornell University): “Character Pieces, French Keyboard Music and the Berlin Court”

David Schulenberg (Wagner College, New York): “An Enigmatic Legacy: Organ Music and the Berlin Bach Traditions”

Kerala Snyder (Eastman School of Music, Rochester): “Seventeenth-Century Organ Music in Eighteenth-Century Berlin: Early Music in the Time of Frederick the Great”

Annette Richards (Cornell University): “Charlottenburg Schnitger 1706-1930-2011”