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Philosophy of Improvisation: The Aesthetics of Imperfection

5th-6th October 2019, Newcastle

The most recent in the Aesthetics of Imperfection workshop series featured a stellar lineup of guest presenters: improvising musicians, interpreters and researchers from jazz and beyond.

Talks and demonstrations explored contrasts between process and product, the unfinished and finished work, spontaneity and structure.


Alexander Hawkins. Photo: Francesca Patella.

Part of the Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music - full festival programme here.

​With thanks to support from Durham University and British Society of Aesthetics.

Contact Samuel Horlor at for more information.

Tony Buck for Flyer.jpg

Tony Buck. Photo: Holimage.


Saturday 5th October: Literary and Philosophical Society, Newcastle, NE1 1SE


09.45-10.00:    Introduction by Andy Hamilton (Philosophy Dept, Durham University)

10.00-10.30:    Lara Pearson (music researcher)

                        'The Aesthetics of the Musical Challenge: Games and Play in Karnatak Music'

10.30-11.00:    Shelly Knotts (data musician and researcher)

                        'Live Coding and Failure'


11.00-11.15:    Break


11.15-12.00:    Brodie West & Evan Cartwright (saxophone and drums improv duo)

                        'How to Play out of Tune'

12.00-12.30:    Guy Dammann (music journalist and researcher)

                        'Imperfection and the Sense of Necessity'


12.30-13.30:    Lunch


13.30-14.30:    Achim Kaufmann (improvising pianist)

                        Performance and Q&A

14.30-15.00:    Liila Taruffi (music psychology and aesthetics researcher)

                        'The Benefits of Spontaneous Thought for the Creative Brain'

Sunday 6th October: Literary and Philosophical Society, Newcastle, NE1 1SE


10.00-10.30:    Nina Kümin (music researcher)

                        'Reintroducing the Improvised Cadenza: A Case Study in Vivaldi's Violin Concertos'

10.30-11.00:    Pablo Seoane (aesthetics researcher)

                        'Naturalness and Artifice: Notes on Authorship and Musical Improvisation'

11.00-11.30:    Márcio Steuernagel (music researcher)

                        'Imperfect Becomings: The Praxis of Musical Imperfection in Notated Composition'


11.30-11.45:    Break


11.45-12.15:    Evan Parker (improvising saxophonist)

                        'Solo Improvisation – A Special Case?'

12.15-12.45:    Raymond MacDonald (music psychology and improvisation researcher)

                        'This Is Not Improvised But That Is: False Dichotomies and Imperfection'

12.45-13.15:    Alexander Hawkins (improvising pianist)



13.15-14.15:    Lunch


14.15-14.45:    Katherine Hambridge (music researcher)

                        'Fixity and Imperfection in 19th-century (Music) Theatre'

14.45-15.15:    Tony Buck (improvising percussionist)

                        Interview with Andy Hamilton

15.15-15.45:    Laura Leante (music researcher)

                        'Aesthetics of Imperfection: Responses'

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