Machine-Reading and Crowdsourcing Medieval Music Manuscripts Conference at Eastman School of Music on October 26

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Machine-Reading and Crowdsourcing Medieval Music Manuscripts Conference at Eastman School of Music on October 26

An upcoming conference will open a window into the state of research in medieval manuscript studies in the digital age. Machine-Reading and Crowdsourcing Medieval Music Manuscripts will bring together scholars for a half-day symposium that in part focuses on a thirteenth-century manuscript, currently on exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. This symposium will take place on Thursday, October 26, 2017, at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music and will also be live streamed for the international scholarly community.

The symposium will provide updates from researchers in machine-reading technology with early music notation and will present initiatives for employing collaborative techniques to catalog manuscripts. Presentations on issues in machine-reading and crowdsourcing of medieval music manuscripts by researchers involved with the international database of Latin plainchant known as Cantus. Special guest speakers Debra Lacoste (University of Waterloo) and Jennifer Bain (Dalhousie University) will lead the half-day sessions, along with a handful of other prominent scholars who combine the digital humanities in their studies of medieval musicology.


The conference is organized by Eastman School of Music Associate Professor of Musicology Michael Anderson. “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. 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, which helps fund public events in humanistic disciplines that raise the profile of the humanities at the University.  A fund recently opened to individual applicants from the school of music, Anderson is the first Eastman faculty member to receive an individual University of Rochester Humanities Project grant.


This project has attracted a long list of co-sponsors. At the Eastman School of Music, these include the departments of Musicology, Humanities, Organ, Sacred Music & Historical Keyboards, and Voice and Opera.  Co-sponsors at the University of Rochester at large include the Goergen Institute for Data Science, the Rossell Hope Robbins Library, the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Religion and Classics, the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, and the College Music Department.


An evening performance at the University’s Memorial Art Gallery will round out the day. The women of Chicago-based early music ensemble Schola Antiqua 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. The concert also includes keyboard pieces and some of the earliest-known choral music associated with nuns. Michael Anderson says: “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.”



Half- Day Symposium

Thursday, October 26, 2017

9:00 AM – 12:30pm

Hatch Recital Hall, Eastman East Wing

Eastman School of Music

433 East Main Street

Rochester, NY 14604


The half-day symposium is FREE and open to the public.  Registration for this event is recommended.


Concert: “Music in Secret: Early Italian Convent Music”

7:30 PM

Fountain Court, Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester

500 University Avenue

Rochester NY 14607


Admission is FREE with gallery entrance. Half-price on Thursday evenings, and free to UR faculty, staff, and students with ID. Seating is unreserved and available on a first-come, first-served basis.


For more information on the day’s events, visit 


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