Michael Gallope: "Ornette Coleman's Utopian Intentionalities, c. 1966"
Free and open to the public.
Michael Gallope teaches Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on the ways music is linked to modern philosophical, spiritual, social, and economic practices. In his first two books, he investigates historical responses to the disorienting impact of musical sound, an impact that is perennially difficult to describe. In Western musical aesthetics, the ineffability of music was traditionally associated with autonomous, abstract, and non-semantic conceptions of music. Gallope's first book, "Deep Refrains: Music, Philosophy, and the Ineffable" (University of Chicago Press, 2017) challenges these conservative associations by showing how music's ineffability spurred an array of modern European philosophers (principally, Bloch, Adorno, Jankélévitch, and Deleuze) to address ethically engaged questions and problems that reside at the limits of conceptual reasoning.
Gallope's second book, "The Musician as Philosopher: New York's Vernacular Avant-Garde 1958-78" (University of Chicago Press, Forthcoming 2024), turns to the philosophical thinking of musicians themselves. Through the prism of five case histories drawn from the postwar avant-garde in New York-David Tudor, Ornette Coleman, the Velvet Underground, Alice Coltrane, a single chapter on Patti Smith and Richard Hell- the book explores the ways musicians exploited and amplified music's ineffable properties in light of various mystical and ecstatic metaphysical beliefs. In the process, "The Musician as Philosopher" contends that these musicians- all of whom are understudied, and none of whom are traditionally taken to be composers- not only challenged the rules by which music is written and practiced, but also confounded and reconfigured gendered and racialized expectations for what critics and audiences took to be legitimate forms of musical sound.