Belfer at 50 Logo

Schedule of Events

Thursday, October 31

3:15 p.m.
K. Matthew Dames (Interim Dean of Libraries) and Jenny Doctor (Director of the Belfer Audio Archive)
Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium, Newhouse III

3:30 p.m.
Opening Lecture: Sound, Memory, and the Psychoanalytic Century
Paul Théberge (Carleton University).
Chair: Stephen Meyer (Syracuse University)
Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium, Newhouse III

It may only be coincidence that Freud's theories of the unconscious were popularized at the beginning of the 20th century, around the same time that the technologies of sound / image reproduction and telephone and radio communications were also popularized. This coincidence, however, was not without its import and the intersection between psychoanalysis and media has been an important thread in cultural theory throughout the past century: indeed, that R. Murray Schafer should choose the expression, "schizophonia," to describe his anxiety over the ability of the phonograph to separate sound from the maker of sound was certainly no accident.

In this opening address, I want to consider some of the contradictory ways in which we have come to understand the relationship between sound technologies, memory and psychology. Firstly, sound recording, by virtue of its ability to capture and store sounds, music and, above all, the human voice, became the vehicle for a diverse range of public, cultural and individual memories. The library, the archive and the record collection are, in different ways, the repositories of such memories. Curiously, sound cinema reinforced the relationship between sound technology and memory - especially in genres such as melodrama and film noir - but it also took up the opposite side of the mnemonic coin: for decades, amnesia and other forms of psychological dislocation have been a popular theme in cinema, and sound technologies have played an important role in representing the experience of aberrant psychological states of mind.

At the beginning of the 21st century, our relationship to sound technologies, and to media in general, is undergoing a deep transformation - a transformation in which more appears to be at stake than the simple production and transmission of sounds and images for the purposes of communication or entertainment. As in the past, we sense a shift in our relationship to memory, place and identity; to connections, separation and the social; to the finite and to mortality; to what, in short, it means to be human. The question that all this opens is whether our old metaphors are still adequate to understanding the challenges presented by this transformation.

6:30 p.m.
Film Screenings: Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound and Rebecca
Introduced by Nathan Platte (University of Iowa)
Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium, Newhouse III

Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945)
Starring Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck, and with a musical score by Miklós Rósza.
Synopsis from iMDb

Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940)
Starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, and with a musical score by Franz Waxman
Synopsis from iMDb

Friday, November 1

10:00 a.m.

Seminar: The Cultural Implications of Audio Archiving
John Harvith (University of Pittsburgh), Susan Edwards Harvith (OASIS, Syracuse), and William Brooks (University of York). Chair: Jenny Doctor (Syracuse University)
Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, Bird Library

For the Record: A Joint Exploration of the Arts and Technology
John Harvith and Susan Edwards Harvith
University of Pittsburgh and OASIS, Syracuse

Backed by master's thesis travel funding, museum practice graduate student Susan Edwards took along fellow University of Michigan graduate student and music critic John Harvith for a summer 1971 research trek exploring the relationship between the arts and technology that began at Syracuse University's Belfer Audio Archive; they have been at it ever since. Belfer founder Walter Welch gave generously of his time during that trip, showing the Harviths (they married the following year) the contents of and work being done at Belfer (then only eight years old and relegated to the basement of the Continental Can Company) and explaining his views on Edison and recording. From there, the Harviths did intensive research at the Edison National Historic Site and undertook an extensive series of interviews with recording figures, from Edison's son, Theodore, and favorite recording artist, Anna Case, to musicians and producers in the digital age, resulting in the first oral history of the phonograph, Edison, Musicians, and the Phonograph. In this presentation, the Harviths will speak about what they learned from Welch, from their research on Edison, from their interactions with recording, film, and television figures, and from their close relationship with Belfer, which has continued to this day.

Crossing the Boundary Line: Music and the Nation in 1915
William Brooks
University of York

In 1915, America straddled the threshold between two worlds. In the world that had been, there was peace, progressivism, and the comforting agrarian traditions of the long nineteenth century. In the world to come, there would be conflict, radicalism, and the tensions of an emerging industrial, urban society. The most immediate, looming question was the Great War: how would the nation respond? The music industry, too, straddled a threshold. Sheet music and touring performances had been the basis for its economy; in the world to come these would be replaced by recordings and broadcasts. The next few years would be a confused transition: the last flowering of regional publishing, the end of parlor music, the rise of jazz, the death of the player piano. But the immediate question concerned recordings: were they to be mere simulacra, auditory replacements for sheet music or live performance? Or did they represent a truly new medium that offered an opportunity to reconceive musical commerce? This paper explores these and related questions by scrutinizing the history of a single song: "America, I Love You," by Archie Gottler and Edgar Leslie. The cultural place of this now-forgotten work tells us much about America's political situation; and its evolution through successive publications, performances, and recordings illustrates the changing strategies of the music industry. The paper will be illustrated in part with recordings held at the Belfer Audio Archive.

2:00 p.m.
Syracuse Symposium 2013: Exploring Psychological Film Music through Spellbound and Rebecca
Nathan Platte (University of Iowa), Stephen Meyer (Syracuse University), Marcia J. Citron (Rice University), and Louis Niebur (University of Nevada, Reno). Chair:Paul Théberge (Carleton University)
Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, Bird Library

Reception to follow
6th floor of Bird Library

8:00 p.m.
Concert: the Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra
Performing: Waxman’s Rebecca Suite, Andrew Waggoner’s Goodnight Moon, and Rósza's Spellbound Concerto
Conducted by James R. Tapia, with Janet Brown (soprano) and Steven Heyman (piano)
Setnor Auditorium, Crouse College
Tickets available for FREE at the Schine Box Office

Saturday, November 2

10:00 a.m.

Tour of the Belfer Audio Archive

Patrick Midtlyng (Belfer Sound Archivist), Robert Hodge (Belfer Audio Engineer), James O'Connor (Producer, Sound Beat) and Gerald Fabris (Museum Curator, Edison National Historical Park)

1:30 p.m.

In conversation

David Harrington (Founder and Artistic Director, Kronos Quartet) and Alex Ross (The New Yorker) Syracuse Stage

8:00 p.m.

Concert: the Kronos Quartet

Setnor Auditorium, Crouse College