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Music and Musicians: Morbidity and Mortality

Music and Musicians: Morbidity and Mortality

Prof. Gwyn Williams

Prof. Gwyn Williams
King's College, University of London

21st February 2018

Death and illness have been depicted or described in literature, painting, sculpture and music for centuries. The relationship in music is even more direct as there is a genre specifically devoted to death, the requiem mass.

This talk explores in two ways the aspects and influences of morbidity and mortality in the field of classical music. They often coexist in the same musician; first is the effect on the musician's practice or composition of an illness or knowledge of impending mortality, and second the cause of the musician's illness or disability. The latter arises from pure medical curiosity, and in some cases, controversy.

These topics will be explored by taking individual composers and discussing , in each case, the possible diagnosis of their illness, and how this illness, and in some cases their view of their own mortality, contributed to, or even enhanced, the gift to us of their music.

Programme Alteration


We regret to announce a further alteration to our programme. Prof. Bordas will no longer talk on "What Makes Data Science Different?" on the 7 March, instead Howard Nicholls will speak on "Encouraging Innovation: The Interface Between Academia and Industry".

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