DPhil student Judith Valerie Engel visits India to give a series of Lecture Recitals

jvengel portrait

Over the Easter break, DPhil student Judith Valerie Engel was invited to give a series of lecture recitals and a guest lecture in the cities of Mumbai and Pune, in India.

Judith Valerie is writing her doctoral thesis in Historical Musicology on 18th century Viennese composer Marianna Martines, under the supervision of Dr. Christian Leitmeir. She is also an active concert pianist and seeks to bridge the gap between academia and performance. Her India tour was an incredible opportunity for her to engage with a wider public audience and communicate her research in conjunction with live performances of the music she spoke about.

Judith Valerie gave lecture recitals in the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Mumbai and at the Poona Music Society. Both are among the most prominent cultural institutions in India and contribute significantly to the country’s artistic landscape. The NCPA hosts performances of all kinds, ranging from classical Indian music, to Western classical music, dance and experimental theatre. The Poona Music Society has been promoting Western classical music in India over 60 years and continues to bring some of the world’s most celebrated ‘classical’ musicians to the city of Pune to give concerts, as well as engage in musical education efforts for both children and adults.

Judith Valerie’s lecture recitals were titled ‘Welcome to the Salon’ and focussed on women’s agency in the salons of 18th and 19th century Europe, particularly focussing on Marianna Martines, Josepha von Auernhammer, and Clara Schumann in their double role as composer-performers. At the same time, the lecture recitals aimed to recreate a salon-like atmosphere that encouraged conversations around the music, lifting the boundary between audience and performer.

The final date of the tour was a guest lecture at The Loft Forum in Pune – a modern space that provides a platform for thinkers and artists to engage in conversation with a diverse audience. The Loft Forum is known for its focus on avant-garde research and performances that invite cutting-edge cultural thought and cross-disciplinary dialogue. Judith Valerie spoke about her research on Marianna Martines, particularly focussing on questions of identity politics, systemic issues of class and gender in an 18th century European context, as well as the historiography of women composers in general and the dominance of master narratives that often (mis-)shape the reception history of these historic individuals.

Photo by Jehangir Batiwala; dress by Linda Mafuba, MYDEI.