Report from the 20th Congress of the International Musicological Society (IMS), Tokyo, March 19-23, 2017
The 20th Congress of the IMS took place at the prestigious Tokyo University of the Arts in March 2017. The IMS was founded in 1927 in Basel, Switzerland, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of composer Ludwig van Beethoven’s passing, and this was the first of their quintennial congresses held in Asia. The theme of the Congress, “Musicology: Theory and Practice, East and West,” indicated the intention of the group to extend the focus of music scholarship in terms of both disciplinary and cultural focus. Among the many eminent scholars participating were Yoshihiko Tokumaru (Prof. Emeritus of Ochanomizu University), Daniel Chua (University of Hong Kong, and new president of the IMS), Bonnie C. Wade (University of California, Berkeley) and Kay Shelemar (Harvard University).
I presented a paper entitled “The Ecology of Musicking: Emergent Behavior and Connectivity.” Min-On representatives including President (now advisor) Hiroyasu Kobayashi and MOMRI Director Olivier Urbain also participated in the event.
My paper reflected the continuing development of my research on musicking as a universal human behavior, bringing together perspectives from ethnomusicology, ecology, neuroscience and paleoanthropology. My conclusion, “that musicking may be a vital practice for healing the rifts, social and ecological, that plague and threaten our world today, and that we as practitioners and scholars of music may have an increasingly important contribution to make to the future of our planet,” was greeted enthusiastically and led to ongoing discussions with colleagues throughout the conference and beyond.