Learning Freedom: New Music and Transition to Democracy in Post-Francoist Spain – Igor Contreras Zubillaga

Dr Igor Contreras Zubillaga joins the University of Huddersfield as British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow (2018-21).

His research project will analyse the relationships between music and democracy in post-Francoist Spain (1975-1986). The Spanish dictator Francisco Franco died on 20 November 1975, after nearly 40 years in power. There followed a process aimed towards the creation of a democratic state, an episode which historians have interpreted as a complex and collective learning of freedom that, in a few years, was to change the country thoroughly. Igor’s project seeks to provide a ground-breaking study of this period as it played out in the domain of new music – i.e. contemporary classical music. Igor will examine how musical practices and institutions formed ways of imagining democracy, and how they participated in the wider social struggle to define freedom and equality for the post-Francoist era. He takes as his focus a set of specific musical works and four key institutions reflecting different aspects of musical life – two musical collectives and two state-sponsored organisations – each of which bears in different ways on my key research questions: How can musical practice articulate competing narratives of memory? How can music and memory help to deal with past trauma? How can different musical practices instantiate ideas of democracy? How should democratic values inform musical practice? How can artists negotiate between creative autonomy and social responsibility? And more broadly, what is the role of culture in a democracy?

Linked to the project are three study days on different aspects of music and democracy.

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