MGMC is a joint venture organized by graduate students from the University of Chicago, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Northwestern University, and the University of Iowa that promotes the presentation of original research and the composition of new music by graduate and advanced undergraduate students. The Midwest Graduate Music Consortium invites paper and performance submissions for its upcoming conference. We welcome proposals pertaining broadly to topics falling under the disciplinary classifications of music studies (ethno/musicology, music theory, performance, and pedagogy) and sound studies, as well as topics on the transdisciplinary frontier between music and its conceivably numerous neighbors.

While a variety of scores and paper topics are encouraged, we especially welcome submissions addressing the ways in which prevailing musical, cultural, methodological, and disciplinary tendencies engage with (or produce) margins in the study of music and musical experience. We seek to examine the practical and theoretical notions of music studies that are marginalized by the practices and expectations of the Western academy—from underrepresented musics, musicians, and audiences to nontraditional compositional methods, performance practices, and modes of scholarly inquiry. At the center of this conference is the notion that even the very forms, procedures, and stylistic biases of current musical understanding may, in fact, limit its parameters. Furthermore, we wish to highlight the ways in which academia’s disciplinary boundaries and institutional norms frequently affect musical discourse. The resulting program will reach toward those commonly excluded by both canon and curriculum in order to take stock of the ways in which graduate students interact with the musics at the margins of the academy’s purview and ultimately assess methods for the continued expansion of musical inquiry.

Possible paper topics may include but are certainly not limited to:

  • Music and Otherness; Music and (post-)coloniality
  • Music and race/ethnicity
  • Musical participation and embodiment
  • Gender & Queer studies in music
  • Reparative/reconstructive readings
  • Music and class
  • Perceptions of (neo/post/a)tonality
  • Disability studies in music
  • Musical binarisms (e.g. “art” vs. “popular”; “Western” vs. “world”; “amateur” vs. “professional; “audience” vs. “performer”; “ac” vs. “alt-ac”)
  • Nontraditional/interdisciplinary genres, forms, mediums, methods, or settings


Submissions should not exceed 300 words and must be received by January 13 at 11:59pm. The submission should include the title of the presentation but exclude the applicant’s name or any other identifying features. If necessary, a single supplemental page of musical examples, figures, tables, etc., may be included, but these should not appreciably add to the word count or content of the proposal. Selected presentations will be no longer that twenty minutes, with ten additional minutes for audience questions and comments. To help promote interdisciplinarity, we also invite alternative formats to paper presentations, such as workshops, panels, or performances. If your presentation is in a format other than a paper presentation, please clearly indicate in the email what format you consider to be most useful for your project.


Composers and performers are also invited to submit recently composed and/or created pieces by January 13 at 11:59pm. Submissions may include, but are not limited to, musical scores, sound art, performance art, video, dance, and plastic arts, but must in some way be related to music and should be submitted without the composer’s name. Instrumentation must not exceed that of the resident Center for New Music Ensemble (1 flute, 1 oboe, 1 clarinet, 1 bassoon, 1 horn, 1 trumpet, 1 trombone, 1 tuba, 2 percussion, piano, 2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello, and 1 double bass) but may include any combination thereof. Applicants must indicate at the time of submission any needed resources or performers for their piece. Electronic equipment may be furnished upon request but is not guaranteed. Applicants submitting pieces with nonstandard electronics should note their requirements but should be prepared to provide the needed equipment themselves (for example, pieces in simple stereo are easily accommodated whereas those rendered in 4, 6, or 8 tracks will need advance notice and preparation). In addition to the resident musicians, composers may also provide their own performers. If willing to provide their own performers, applicants must indicate this at the time of submission. The length of any piece should not exceed 8–10 minutes. We encourage the submission of an accompanying audio or video recording, although this is not required.

Submission Procedure

Please send submissions electronically, in PDF, Word, or mp3 formats, to the program committee at ​​. In the cover email, please include your name, affiliation, email address, proposed presentation format, any A/V equipment needed for the proposed presentation, and accompanying program notes to be published in conference proceedings. Proposals will be evaluated anonymously, and we anticipate notifying successful applicants by February 6. For additional questions concerning submissions, email Arthur Scoleri (arthur-scoleri [at]