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Press release

  • 10 April 2006

Music lecture and recital strike a topical note

Who needs classical music? That's the question posed in the first in a series of special public lectures at the University of Sussex on Thursday, 27 April.

The inaugural Tony Dummett Memorial Lecture, Who Needs Classical Music?, will be given by Oxford University music lecturer Dr Julian Johnson at 5pm in The Meeting House at the University's campus.

The subject is a timely one, as this year's BBC Reith Lectures by acclaimed classical pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim reflect on the interplay between music and society - and condemn the influence of "muzak".

The one-hour lecture will be followed by refreshments and a piano recital given by Julian Broughton, starting at 6.45pm. The recital will include music by Haydn, Janacek and Broughton.

The Tony Dummett Memorial Lecture will be an annual event. This has been made possible thanks to a bequest made by Tony Dummett to the Lewes Music Circle. Tony Dummett was for many years Chairman of the Music Circle, and hoped to enable it to continue to offer its regular series of music lectures. Although the Circle was unable to carry on after 2004, its members kindly donated the bequest to the Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Sussex, so that lectures could be provided in a new setting.

The plan is that each lecture will be delivered by a distinguished musician whose topic will attract wide interest but will also reflect the importance of music as an object of serious study.

In accordance with the spirit of Tony Dummett's original bequest, admission to the lecture is open to the public and free of charge. Admission for refreshments-and-recital is £6 (£4 concessions): tickets are on the door only. Any profit will go into the lecture fund to enable the series to continue on a yearly basis.

Julian Johnson is a composer with research interests in many aspects of 19th and 20th-century music and musical thought. He lectured at Sussex from 1992-2001. A regular speaker at international academic conferences, his publications include Webern and the Transformation of Nature, and Who Needs Classical Music? (2002), a witty and stimulating book which reflects on the different functions of different kinds of music, and explores the idea that music can be understood as a form of thought.

Julian Broughton is convenor of music at the Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Sussex, and is well-known in the region as a composer and pianist. His recital will include the premiere of his recent composition for piano, Sonata Across Four Elements, as well as Haydn's F Minor Variations and Janacek's On An Overgrown Path.

Notes for editors

For further details please contact the University of Sussex Press office and ask for Jacqui Bealing or Maggie Clune. Tel: 01273 678 888 or email

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