Golden Silence: Surrealism at 100 and the Place of Music in Its History
Deadline for proposals: Monday 28 November 2016
26 April 2017
Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

This study day (a complementary event to the interdisciplinary conference, ‘Artistic Migration and Identity: Paris 1870-1940,’ 27-29 April 2017), marks the centenary of the première in 1917 of the ballet ‘Parade’, the programme notes for which, composed by the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, provide the first instance of the use of the word ‘sur-réalisme’.

While music was an important partner amongst other arts – choreography, set- and costume-design – that were seen as embodying surrealism at its birth, it rapidly migrated to the margins of the artistic movement (a ‘Silence d’or’, in André Breton’s words), where it has largely remained over the course of the past 100 years.  This is despite Apollinaire’s assertion that: ‘Choreography and music are surrealist arts, since the reality they express always transcends nature.’

The keynote speaker for the day will be Sebastien Arfouilloux, author of Que la nuit tombe sur l’orchestre: Surréalisme et musique (Fayard, 2009). Hosted by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in conjunction with a major exhibition: Chagall, Couleur et Musique, the study day will also feature performances of music associated with the spirit of surrealism.

We welcome proposals for presentations that investigate the interactions of music and surrealism throughout the last 100 years, including:

  • music’s role in the Surrealist movement, at its origins or as it has evolved
  • composers who have been linked with the term
  • the nature of multimedia collaboration in specific surrealist works
  • surrealist aesthetics across music and other media
  • interpretive approaches (e.g., psychoanalytical, cultural, gender-critical)
  • the popularization of surrealism in commercial forms (e.g., Hollywood cinema, music video)
  • the renewed relevance of surrealist thought for cultural expression today


Please send a 300-word summary of your proposed presentation to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
In your covering email, please give your full name and institutional affiliation (if applicable).

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