VU 3 : JULY 10-12, 2019!

The third Vu Symposium on experimental, electronic, and improvised music, will be held in Park City, Utah on July 10-12, 2019.

As always, the theme of the Vu Symposium is broad and inclusive.

This year’s theme is “pushing the envelope.”

We invite scholars, performers, ensembles, composers, critics, and anyone and everyone interested in experimental, improvised, and/or electronic music to present papers, pieces, curated concerts, ideas, half-ideas, lectures, performance pieces, improvisations, or installations that ask, answer, or critique our theme.

Our goal is to provide a forum in which any thinker and/or practitioner who is writing about, performing, presenting, or otherwise championing experimental, improvised and electronic music can freely engage in discourse.  The format of the symposium will vary each year based on the nature and the number of submissions but will include: concerts, roundtables, paper presentations, and longer lectures.

This symposium does not focus on keynotes, featured ensembles, or featured composers, it is focused on the free exchange of ideas of its participants.  Because of this, our symposium is free of charge.  Participants are highly encouraged to attend all three days of the symposium.  Participants are also discouraged to schedule other performances during the symposium.

The Vu Symposium is sponsored by Listen/Space, a 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization.  Print and electronic conference proceedings are published by the University of Utah Marriott Library, so any participant that would like to publish their paper, presentation, or performance may do so.  Link to past proceedings:

Park City, Utah is a small mountain town that also happens to host many conferences and festivals, including the Sundance Film Festival.  Free public transportation, convenient accommodations, outdoor activities, and great restaurants are literally steps away from our symposium’s home base at the Park City Library.

Each day of the Vu Symposium will feature performances and presentations.  There may also be an opportunity for presenting sound installations or using Park City itself as a venue for a music-based public work.  Propose something!

Unlike other conferences and symposia, we will organize the format of our symposium based on the uniqueness of the submissions.

So, surprise us. 

If you would like to present a 5-minute thought or assertion, or an hour-long lecture, submit it.

We also encourage submission in both categories: music and papers/presentations.  Tell us about your creative work, then present it.  Tell us about how you approached performing a work, then play it.

We are particularly interested in student work, half-ideas, works-in-progress, and other incomplete works.  Remember, it is your choice if you would like to include your work in our conference proceedings, so take risks and bring ideas that would benefit from discourse challengeable ideas.

This symposium is about solidifying, critiquing, and reinforcing ideas as a collective group of like-minded researchers as much as it is a venue to present polished, finished works.

Please review our two calls and submit as many ideas as you would like to both.

Email any questions about submissions to:


Each day of the Vu Symposium will feature concerts and performances in the Jim Santy Auditorium.  Ensembles, performers, improvisers, and composers may submit works that fit in the following categories:

  • Ensemble performances with or without fixed-media or live 2-channel electronics
  • Solo performances with or without fixed-media or live 2-channel electronics
  • Fixed-media 2-channel electronic works
  • Improvised solo or ensemble performances with or without fixed-media or live 2-channel electronics

We do not currently have any performers available, so composers are encouraged to submit fixed-media electronic works or to arrange for performers to attend the symposium.

Composer/performer joint submissions are encouraged.  Rehearsal time is possible and concerts will be organized after all submissions have been reviewed.  Since our symposium blends the role of composers and performers, performers are asked to be an equal and active participant in the paper presentations and lectures and presenters are asked to attend concerts and performances.

Composers, ensembles, or performers may propose concerts or works of any length.  If you are an ensemble and would be interested in performing works by composer participants in addition to your proposed concert, please indicate that in your submission.

Please send a description of your work proposed, a work sample, and a short bio by April 15, 2019 to: (Subject: MUSIC)


Pushing the Envelope

…in Experimental, Electronic, and Improvised Music

Please submit a bio, abstract, idea, and/or complete paper by April 15, 2019 to: (Subject: PAPER)

Length is up to you.  What do you have to say?  How long will it take you?  The format of our symposium is extremely flexible.  Take advantage of our flexibility to express ideas, concepts, or assertions in unconventional ways, if appropriate.

Students are encouraged to apply as well as professionals working on careers outside of academia.

Here are some potential paper/lecture topics, but feel free to propose your own:

  • Performance Practice
  • Compositional Process
  • Interpretation
  • Pedagogy – Teaching EEI music itself, or using EEI music as a teaching tool.  Does it work?  Does it not work?  How do younger students react to experimental music?
  • Graphic Notation
  • Improvisation and Game Theory
  • Alternate Intonation Systems
  • Entrepreneurship – music in general, popular and concert, is being painted into a corner, how can music at the fringes exist?
  • Musical Analysis – new tools are needed to examine music of Christian Wolff, for instance
  • Music Theory – What is next?  Who will write meta-meta-meta-hodos?  Can it be written, or has there been too much of a sea change in EEI music?  What theory is helpful with improvised music?
  • Aesthetics – Recently, a composer came through Utah and proclaimed “The only invalid reason to compose a piece is to try and create something new.”  What is a valid reason to compose?  What is an invalid one?  Is validity valid?
  • Ethics
  • Technique – How do you rehearse improvisation?  Should you?  How do you rehearse Earle Brown?  Should you?
  • History
  • Social or Political Context
  • Open-ended Compositions – Launchpad for improvisation, or gateway into composition?
  • Performer/Composer – does this work?  Does this mean you perform exclusively your own music?  Can your music outlive you?  Does this matter any more?