Apr 12 2023


5:00 pm - 6:30 pm


Department of Music

Department of Music

Research Colloquia Spring 2023
Chinese Reception, Adorno’s Utopianism, and Postcolonial Retranslation of Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde

Speaker: Dr. Edwin Li (Assistant Professor of Musicology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Date and Time: Wednesday, 12 April 2023, 5PM
Venue: Seminar Room (11.01, 11/F Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU)

The reception of Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde in mainland China is largely unknown in Anglophone musicology. Interweaving untapped Chinese scholarly literature, music analyses, interviews, and insights from postcolonial studies, I discuss the major debates about and re-translations of Das Lied in mainland China, with a short detour to Theodor W. Adorno’s critical intervention on the cultural valence and colonial overtones of Das Lied. I suggest that in examining the practice of translation as musicologists, we should be mindful of the enchantment of translation as a theoretical apparatus of transnational music-historical flows, and pay heed to the performative sovereignty and cultural border that translation can enact in music.

Edwin Li is Assistant Professor of Musicology at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. His scholarly work focuses on intercultural philosophies of music, semiotics, aesthetics, affect, Cantonese popular music, and Gustav Mahler. In 2021, he received the Adam Krims Award from the Society for Music Theory’s Popular Music Interest Group for his article, “Cantopop and Speech-Melody Complex,” published in Music Theory Online in the same year. His other peer-reviewed writings can be found in Ecomusicology Review and in an edited volume published by the Semiotic Society of America. He was a Jockey Club Scholar at The University of Hong Kong, where he obtained his B.A. in Music with First Class Honors, and a Pembroke-King’s Scholar at the University of Cambridge. He earned his Ph.D. in Music Theory from Harvard University.

All welcome. No registration required.
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