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Eastman School of Music to Host ‘Machine-Reading and Crowdsourcing Medieval Music Manuscripts’ Symposium

Mike Lawson • News • October 11, 2017

The Eastman School of Music will be hosting “Machine-Reading and Crowdsourcing Medieval Music Manuscripts,” a half-day symposium that focuses on a thirteenth-century manuscript currently on exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, on Thursday, October 26.

The event will be held at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, but the event will also be livestreamed for the international scholarly community.

The symposium will provide updates from researchers in machine-reading technology with early music notation, as well as present initiatives for employing collaborative techniques to catalog manuscripts. Special guest speakers Debra Lacoste (University of Waterloo) and Jennifer Bain (Dalhousie University) will lead the half-day sessions.

Michael Anderson, Eastman School of Music Associate Professor of Musicology, organized the conference.

“I look forward to welcoming an enviable slate of speakers from Canada and the United States for a stimulating discussion of their research on medieval manuscripts of music,” he said. “Major strides in digital photography and technological strides in online data management have changed how we approach and understand these important artifacts of medieval life. We’re delighted to have digital access to a thirteenth-century Italian liturgical source from the Art Institute of Chicago to drive some of our proceedings.”

“Machine-Reading and Crowdsourcing Medieval Music Manuscripts” is funded by a grant from the University of Rochester Humanities Project.

At the end of the day, women of Chicago-based early music ensemble Schola Antiqua will perform at the University’s Memorial Art Gallery. The concert will offer a program of pre-modern convent program, including music associated with the 13th-century manuscript discussed in the morning sessions.

The group welcomes guest director and organist Naomi Gregory, who completed her D.M.A. in the Department of Organ, Sacred Music & Historical Keyboards at Eastman, and is currently completing her PhD in Eastman’s Musicology Department.

“As part of the performance, the women will read music from the thirteenth-century source we will be studying, bringing the sounds of this particular book to an audible reality,” Anderson added.

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