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Thomas Delpeut MA

PhD candidate


Area(s) of interest: Dutch History, Music & Theatre History

Cohort/Start PhD: 2016-2017

Learning to listen. The transformation of concert culture in Dutch musical capitals in the nineteenth century

Radboud University Nijmegen
Promotor(es): Prof. dr. Jan Hein Furnée, Prof. dr. Sophie Levie, Dr Rutger Helmers
Aanstelling: vanaf september 2016

Why did people start listening to concert music in a fundamentally different way in the nineteenth century? In this century, European concert life transformed dramatically. As concert halls grew in number and size, concert programmes changed completely in structure and adapted new genres and styles. Increasingly, performances became executed by Professional orchestras, critically reviewed by music journalists, and attended by socially diversifying audiences. Many concert visitors began listening in silence, focussing on performing quality and compositional meaning, while developing their musical taste.
This PhD-project analyses the changing listening practices in the context of developing concert cultures in the four most important Dutch musical centres – Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Rotterdam. The substantial variety of programming structures, performance practices and audience experiences in these cities was the result of local interactions between concert organisers, performers, critics and audiences, combined with an intense national and international exchange of music, musicians, audiences and cultural norms. Using qualitative and quantitative research methods, including digital tools, and a wide range of primary sources, the comparative study of these cities attempts to explain why and how the listening culture changed into its current form and, ultimately, what music means to a changing society.