DIFFERENT EYES, EARS, AND BODIES: PIANIST NOBUYUKI TSUJII AND THE EDUCATION OF THE SENSORIUM THROUGH MUSICAL PERFORMANCE by Stefan Sunandan Honisch B.MUS., University of Victoria, 2004 M. MUS., The University of British Columbia, 2007 M. MUS., The University of British Columbia, 2008 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Cross-Faculty Inquiry in Education) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) February 2016 © Stefan Sunandan Honisch, 2016 ii Abstract My dissertation explores the educative possibilities and limits of musical performance as a medium through which musicians and audiences reimagine sensory, affective, bodily, and cognitive experiences of music. The dissertation's focal point is a 2013 recital at the University of British Columbia by pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii, as part of Beyond the Screen: disAbility and the Arts, a series that raised questions about the reception of musicians with disabilities, the inclusion of disabled bodies in music pedagogy, and the meritocratic ethos that underpins competitive practices in music, education, and society. The polemical reception of Tsujii's shared gold medal with Haochen Zhang at the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas serves as the larger context for the present study. Speculation as to the role that Tsujii's blindness played in his favorable evaluation by the competition jury (Ivry, 2009) was countered by denial of any such influence (Kaplinsky, quoted in Wise, 2009), throwing into sharp relief a profound discomfort among musicians, critics and the general public with the disabled body in music. Tsujii himself declared shortly after the competition that he would like to be received as "simply a pianist" (Oda, 2009, para. 6) and has continued to resist the category of "blind pianist" (Ikenberg, 2014b, para. 8). Interviews with Tsujii and a purposive sample of eleven individual audience members following his 2013 UBC recital, combined with textual analysis of newspapers, magazines, and films documenting the pianist's career since 2009 locate Tsujii's reception in an educative gap between performer and audience, akin to that between teacher and student, a philosophical stance which emphasizes education as an interaction between the one who teaches and the one who learns (Biesta, 2004, p. 13). Showing how different levels of familiarity with the conventions of iii musical performance lead performers, critics, and audiences to interact with Tsujii as pianist and blind pianist in multiple and sometimes contradictory ways, this dissertation contributes to scholarship on the aesthetic and pedagogical significance of "person-first" versus "disability-first" language, the educative capacities of musical performance, and on the place of disabled bodies in music pedagogy. iv Preface This dissertation is based on original, independent research carried out by the author Stefan Sunandan Honisch. The interviews discussed in Chapters 4 and 5 were covered by University of British Columbia Behavioural Research Ethics Board Certificate H13-01785. v Table of Contents Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... ii Preface............................................................................................................................................ iv Table of Contents ............................................................................................................................ v Acknowledgements ........................................................................................................................ ix Dedication ...................................................................................................................................... xi Chapter 1: Introduction ................................................................................................................... 1 1.1 Background to the Research Problem ........................................................................... 1 1.2 Setting the Stage: Nobuyuki Tsujii and Haochen Zhang’s Shared Gold Medal at the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition ................................................... 11 1.3 Beyond the Screen: dis/Ability and the Arts............................................................... 15 1.4 Overview of Methodological Design .......................................................................... 19 1.5 Blindness and the International Piano Competition: A Survey .................................. 25 1.6 Media Reception of the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition ............ 29 1.7 Scope of Dissertation: Restatement of Research Topic and Central Questions ......... 33 Chapter 2: Review of the Scholarly Literature ............................................................................. 39 2.1 Overview of Chapter ................................................................................................... 39 2.2 Pianism and Blindness: What Happens To Be in the Vexed Relationship Between Disability and Selfhood? ............................................................................................. 41 vi 2.3 Locating Musicians with Disabilities as Public Intellectuals in the Relational Gap Between Musical Performance and Reception ........................................................... 42 2.4 Person-First or Disability-First? Representational Schemes and the Education of the Sensorium ................................................................................................................... 62 Chapter 3: Theoretical Framework and Methodology .................................................................. 80 3.1 Overview of Chapter ................................................................................................... 80 3.2 Recapitulation of Central Questions ........................................................................... 82 3.3 Situating Nobuyuki Tsujii's Reception in the Semiotic Streams of Music, Disability, and Education.............................................................................................................. 92 3.4 Towards a Pragmatic Methodological Design: In-depth Interviews and Textual Analysis of Media Reception ...................................................................................... 99 3.5 Nobuyuki Tsujii as Blind Pianist, Pianist and Real Pianist ...................................... 108 3.6 Signs of the Pianistic Self in Performance ................................................................ 112 3.7 Signs of the Pianistic Self in Reception .................................................................... 113 3.8 Signs of Firstness: Rhemes ....................................................................................... 118 3.9 Signs of Secondness: Dicents ................................................................................... 118 3.10 Signs of Thirdness: Arguments ................................................................................. 119 3.11 Semiotic Codes: The Rules and Conventions of Western Art Music Performance and Reception .................................................................................................................. 121 3.12 Preview of Chapters 4 and 5 ..................................................................................... 124 vii Chapter 4: Blindness and Pianism (Not) Seen and (Not) Heard ................................................. 127 4.1 Overview of Chapter ................................................................................................. 127 4.2 Explanation of the Key Semiotic Terms: Rhemes, Dicents, and Arguments ........... 134 4.3 Sounds as Rhemes, Dicents, and Arguments: (In)Audible Interpretants Interpreted 138 4.4 Images as Rhemes, Dicents, and Arguments: (In)Visible Interpretants Interpreted . 159 4.5 Ideas as Rhemes, Dicents, and Arguments: (Un) Conventional Interpretants Interpreted ................................................................................................................. 167 4.6 Emotions as Rhemes, Dicents, and Arguments: (Un)Affecting Interpretants Interpreted ................................................................................................................. 179 4.7 Vague Feelings as Rhemes, Dicents, and Arguments: (Un)Certain Interpretants Interpreted ................................................................................................................. 180 4.8 And So Forth: (Im)Possible Interpretants and the Fictive Simplicity of Being a Pianist................................................................................................................................... 183 Chapter 5: Towards a Musical Education of the Sensorium....................................................... 190 5.1 Overview of Chapter ................................................................................................. 190 5.2 Sign-Interpretant Relationships and Meaning Revisted ........................................... 192 5.3 Sounds as Rhemes, Dicents, and Arguments: (In)Audible Interpretants Interpreted 196 5.4 Images as Rhemes, Dicents, and Arguments: (In)Visible Interpretants Interpreted . 221 5.5 Ideas as Rhemes, Dicents, Arguments: (Un)conventional Interpretants Interpreted . 230 viii 5.6 Emotions as Rhemes, Dicents, and Arguments: (Un)Affecting Interpretants Interpreted ................................................................................................................. 245 5.7 Vague Feelings as Rhemes, Dicents, and Arguments: (Un)Certain Interpretants Interpreted ................................................................................................................. 257 5.8 And So Forth: (Im)Possible Interpretants and the Musical Education of the Sensorium................................................................................................................................... 259 Chapter 6: Infinite Semiosis and the Education of the Sensorium ............................................. 270 6.1 Piano Competitions and Universities: From Disavowal to the Reavowal of Disability?................................................................................................................................... 270 6.2 Contributions of Dissertation to Education and Disability Studies .......................... 278 6.3 Pianists, Real Pianists, and Blind Pianists: The Possibilities and Limits of Educating the Sensorium............................................................................................................ 306 6.4 Neither Simply a Pianist Nor Simply a Blind Pianist: Infinite Musical Semiosis in the Gaps Between Marked and Unmarked Interpretants ................................................ 317 References ................................................................................................................................... 327 Appendix: Schedule of Interviews .............................................................................................. 370 ix Acknowledgements I would like to thank my supervisor, Dr. Leslie G. Roman (Educational Studies) and the members of my supervisory committee, Dr. Claudia Ruitenberg (Educational Studies) and Dr. Mark Anderson (School of Music) for guiding me through my doctoral studies, and for their painstaking critiques of each chapter in this dissertation. I am grateful to Dr. Andre Elias Mazawi (Educational Studies) and Dr. Robert Pritchard (School of Music) for reading through early drafts of a previous iteration of my research. Dr. Bruce Quaglia gave me the opportunity to discuss my doctoral research as part of a residency at the University of Utah in 2011. The resulting conversations have been crucial to the evolution of this dissertation. An invitation by Dr. Blake Howe to speak with students in a Music and Disability Studies course at Louisiana State University in 2013 provided further scope for thinking about the implications of my research for music pedagogy. The Society for Music Theory Interest Group on Music and Disability provides a lively forum for conversations about the intertwining of disability and music in the classroom and concert hall. I am grateful to Nobuyuki Tsujii for generously sharing his time with me in the midst of busy touring schedules. I thank Sachiko Koyama for helping with translation for my first interview with Tsujii, and am grateful to Nick Asano for acting as translator for the second interview. Dr. Gustav Alink of the Alink-Argerich Foundation provided helpful responses to my queries about disability in international piano competitions. Constance Batore worked with me as my library assistant from 2013 to 2015. Andrea Haber at the Library Research Commons (UBC) helped me to format the dissertation and solved a number of perplexing issues with spacing. x Blake Allen, Herb Brauer, and Ai Mizuta were generous with their time and knowledge in translating secondary sources in Japanese. My doctoral research has been partially supported over the years by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Four Year Doctoral Fellowship program at UBC, the Rick Hansen Fellowship, the Cordula and Gunther Paetzold Fellowship, and by a St. John's College Affiliated Award. For their encouragement and practical wisdom along the way, I thank Marion Archibald, Stacy Barber, Ajay Bhardwaj, Jon Breen, Elena Breidenstein, Marcia Carazzai, Adeline Caute, Zheng Da, Andrew Dell'Antonio, James Gauthier, Amer Ghavanini, Drea Glen, Elaine Goh, Olivia Gomez, Gustaaf and Dominique Houtman, Isabel Izquierdo, Bei Jiang, Tian Jie, Songjoo Kim, Alice Lam, Hedy Law, Yuhong Luo, Giovanni Michetti, Vanora Millar, Peter and Michie Oblas, Ian Okabe, Joel Perry, Abhijit Pandhari, Arun Ramamurthy, Prajna Rao, Becky Reed, Becky Rogers, João Fábio Sanches, Sandra Shepard, Pearl Siganporia, Craig Smith, Rami Tabri, Nassim Tabri, Clarence Tay, Lycia Troutman, Alejandro A. Téllez Vargas, Denise Wong, and Susana Zoghbi. Laura Lee, our frequent conversations about philosophical and musical topics have inspired me, and have taught me a great deal. Thank you. xi Dedication This dissertation is dedicated to my parents Martin and Usha,—my greatest teachers—without whose boundless support, encouragement, and love, and bountiful supplies of food and drink, none of the pages that follow would have materialized. My father read through multiple drafts, and with unerring instinct and unflagging patience showed me which punctuation marks could stay and which could go. With characteristic astuteness, my mother alerted me to news coverage of disability topics, helping me to make connect my research interests to larger sociocultural and educational concerns in ways that would not have otherwise occurred to me. And to my sister Erika, and to my brother-in-law, August, and to Coconut the family canine who signifies Peirce's being positively such as it is regardless of aught else with a clarity that transcends verbal description. If these pages have any value, it is because of many conversations with each of you, and many wordless communions with Coconut, interlocutors at once supportive, critically engaged, and (in Coconut's case), perpetually perplexed. And to Elizabete, from whom I learned to take Walter Franco's song to heart: tudo e uma questão de manter a mente quieta, a espinha ereta e o coracão tranquilo. I offer this dissertation in loving memory of Kathy Mynkantas, whose knowledge of great books, films and music remains a steady source of inspiration. And in loving memory of Helmut and Otti Brauer for many fond memories of afternoons playing chess and duets for violin and piano. I thank Jonas Mynkantas for sharing so many books and articles about music and musicians with me. And Margrit Brauer for spirited and sustaining discussions of music, politics, and education.1 Chapter 1: Introduction People nowadays think that scientists exist to instruct them, poets, musicians, etc., to give them pleasure. That the latter have something to teach them; that never occurs to them. —Wittgenstein, Culture and Value1 The best music, the best writing, music or writing that endures over time, alters its tempo to re-engage the eyes and ears. It occasionally says 'Stop. Pay attention. Stop and listen. Stop and see. Stop and think. Stop and hear. Stop and feel.' —Stein, The public intellectual and the democratic conversation There is always more. There is always possibility. And this is where the space opens for the pursuit of freedom. Much the same can be said about experiences with art objects—not only literary texts, but music, painting, dance. They have the capacity, when authentically attended to, to enable the person to hear and to see what they would not ordinarily hear and see, to offer visions of consonance and dissonance that are unfamiliar and indeed abnormal, to disclose the incomplete profiles of the world. As importantly, in this context, they have the capacity to defamiliarize experience: to begin with the overly familiar and transfigure it into something different enough to make those who are awakened hear and see. —Greene, The dialectic of freedom 1.1 Background to the Research Problem Over the course of my undergraduate and Master’s studies in Piano Performance and Composition, I came to the realization that if Western art music pedagogy is to span the whole gamut of human experience, including the experience of disability, then the teaching and learning of music needs to involve more than the transmission and absorption of discipline-specific knowledge and competencies. In particular, Western art music has often emphasized the sights and sounds of music, a function of both the privileged status of visually representing musical sound by means of a complex system of notation (composition) and aurally bringing this 1 Emphasis in original. 2 notation to life for audiences (through musical performance). Bodies with different ways of perceiving the world and experiencing music have been obliged either to fall in line with the normalized sensorial and bodily hierarchy of Western art music as far as possible, or to accept that this musical tradition is not for them (Lubet, 2004 & 2010; Straus, 2011). And yet, I wondered: is there not a gap, a space of resistance from which an alternative conception of Western art music and of its pedagogy might emerge? What role might performers with disabilities play in such an intervention? Education, as I subsequently came to learn, is "a dimension of culture that maintains dominant practices while also offering spaces for their critique and reimagination" (Sandlin, 2010, p. 1). While I enjoyed the creative opportunities that my studies in music afforded, I found myself––a musician with congenital physical disabilities––questioning basic assumptions about the normative body, guided by seeing eyes, hearing ears, and propelled by able limbs, which lie at the core of university music pedagogy (Straus, 2011, pp. 150–151). Having absorbed some of the "dominant practices" of the pedagogy of Western art music performance, I wanted to inhabit the spaces that this pedagogy might offer for reimaging what it has meant, and what it might mean to make music, and—digging deeper still—what it means to experience music through the senses and through the body. This desire to understand music as an embodied encounter between self and other led me to pursue doctoral studies focusing on the interlocking questions of how musicians with disabilities present themselves, and how they are received by audiences in the mainstream cultural tradition of Western art music. Approaching these questions from scholarly perspectives developed in Education, Music, and Disability Studies, my research winds along a continuum of educational practices, from the teaching studio to the concert hall, and myriad spaces along the way. 3 Students in the principal sub-fields of music studies, namely composition, performance, music theory, musicology, and ethnomusicology, learn how to look at musical notation, hear musical sound, move to music and be moved by music according to a set of discipline-specific norms. Sensory and bodily hierarchies thus define the "dominant practices" of Western art music, and position this musical tradition within complex relationships of autonomy and worldliness, relationships themselves beholden to the sights, sounds, and movements of history, society, and culture (Blacking, 1998; Nettl, 2005; Said, 1991; Small, 1998). However, an emerging subfield within music scholarship, namely Disability Studies in Music, has both extended older critiques of these normalizing pedagogical systems, as well as opened up new spaces for critical intervention (Howe, 2010; Lerner & Straus, 2006; Lubet, 2004 & 2010; Straus, 2011). As a consequence, it has become possible to re-imagine musical experience, and to rethink the teaching and learning of music so that the differences that different eyes, ears, and bodies make2 can be understood as sites of "pedagogic possibility," offering richly ambiguous continuities and discontinuities between "disability and person, human and body" (Titchkosky, 2012, p. 84). Expanding the range of musical experiences available for consideration in the classroom, teaching studio, and concert hall—the larger aim of this dissertation—admittedly is no simple task. The place to begin, as I shall explain more fully in Chapter 3, is by securing a place for musicians with disabilities in contemporary education scholarship. This preparatory work, in turn, necessitates asking how performances by musicians with disabilities might foster un- 2 This passage alludes to Rod Michalko's (2002) book The Difference That Disability Makes and, in particular, to the following passage: "Blindness, deafness, and paraplegia are still unfortunate conditions that some of us have to suffer and are not (yet?) worthwhile and legitimate alternatives. They are not alternative ways of sensing the world and moving through it. Thus, disability becomes a difference that should be prevented, not 'lived-in" (p. 103; emphasis added). 4 teaching and un-learning (Gosden, 2001) so that musical performance can be studied not merely as a socio-cultural and aesthetic practice of educative possibilities (Gershon, 2010), but also of limits, depending in either case on the multiple contexts in which music is made and received. The complexity of the work that lies ahead requires that we step back momentarily from our immediate concerns in order to understand how Western art music pedagogy fits within formal education more generally. Teaching and learning are not to be understood as distinct, separable activities, but rather as practices that occur in a "gap" between the one who educates and the other who learns. The gap between teacher and student consists not of an empty space, but rather of a convergence point or emerging relationship: "In order to understand the precise nature of the educational relationship, we should take the idea that education consists of the interaction between the teacher and the learner...in its most literal sense" (Biesta, 2004, p. 12). Extending this insight to our present topic, namely the educative dimensions of musical performance, we start from the premise that there is, likewise, a "gap" separating performer and audience, a gap which is productive rather than constrictive. It is because of this gap, rather than in spite of it, that musical performance has the potential to become an educative practice. This consideration is given short shrift in recent discussions of music and public intellectualism, broadly defined, which lean heavily on the idea that musicians somehow teach audiences through music, while neglecting the relational dimension of the musical encounter itself; in other words, without attending to the interaction of performer and audience (Gershon, 2010). If musical performance is to compel greater attention among teachers, students, performers and audiences, as a form of public intellectualism (Gershon, 2010), then it is imperative first to acknowledge the presence of this relational gap, and to explore how the non-verbal communicative medium of 5 musical performance can foster an education through the relationship between what musicians do, and what audiences do. My dissertation explores the educative possibilities and limits of musical performance as a medium through which to reimagine sensory, affective, bodily, and cognitive experiences of music. The dissertation's focal point is pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii's 2013 recital at the University of British Columbia as part of Beyond the Screen: disAbility and the Arts, a series of events which raised questions about the reception of musicians with disabilities, and about the inclusion of disabled bodies in music pedagogy more broadly. Chapter 2 reviews the extant scholarship on how the educative capacities of music have been understood by philosophers, educators, and musicians, and discusses both the contested role of musicians as public intellectuals, and the broader relationships between music and public intellectualism articulated by musicians and scholars in public statements (Barenboim & Said, 2002; Fulcher, 1999 & 2005; Gershon, 2010). The literature review foregrounds a question that unites these diverse perspectives, and that has given rise to much disagreement: what does it take for a given musical experience to achieve a transformation in understanding on the part of both musicians and audiences? I will pinpoint tensions among the various theoretical and methodological commitments reflected in the literature that grapples with this question. Focusing especially on the theoretical work on musicians as public intellectuals in recent education scholarship, I explain the conceptual and methodological problems that arise because various forms of musical activity (composition, performance, reception, journalistic criticism, and scholarly analysis), are not clearly distinguished from each other (Gershon, 2010; Sandlin, Burdick, & Schulz, 2011). As a consequence, rather than offering clear analysis of how these different forms of participating in, and experiencing music (whether as composer, performer, 6 audience member, critic or scholar) can be educative, and delineating what sorts of transformation in understanding might be possible in each of these different spheres of musical activity, scholarship on musicians as public intellectuals reifies "music," creating the misleading impression that music as objectified sound has educative possibilities independent of the multiple practices through which music acquires meaning when filtered through human experience (Gershon, 2010 & 2011). Closely related is the tendency to conflate an experience of music unmediated by linguistic description, explanation, or analysis, for example, the activities of performing or listening to music, with the educative role of commentary about music. As later chapters will show, the pragmatist philosophy of Charles Sanders Peirce enables the present study to tease apart how different relationships between language and music have widely varying consequences for understanding the musically educative, on the one hand, and the linguistically educative concerning music on the other hand. In the final chapter, I will argue that future education scholarship on the role of musicians as public intellectuals can benefit from taking note of Peirce’sconceptual separation of different parts of experience along a continuum ranging from unmediated qualities of feeling (Firstness), to physical, bodily responses (Secondness), and to cognitive, linguistically based analysis (Thirdness), and by incorporating this framework into their analyses of what music, as a communicative medium, can and cannot teach, and what musicians, who communicate through both music and language, can and cannot teach . For Peirce, the “unity among our sensations” produced by a musical experience in which a performer or listener does not subject that experience to linguistic analysis is not to be confused with an experience that acquires its meaning through analysis mediated by language, and that gains in precision more through conscious thought than through affective and bodily responses (Peirce, 1991, p. 168). Later chapters return to this distinction in order to show how the educative 7 possibilities and limits of musical performance must be understood in relation to the varying role that language plays in the interpretive work of performers and musicians. At the same time, however, Peirce’s approach gives Cartesian dualism a wide berth, avoiding an untenable separation of sensory, affective, bodily responses to, and cognitive reflection about a given musical experience (Cumming, 2000; Goble, 2010). This feature of Peirce’s pragmatism has enabled me both to delve into the complexities of the core questions of the present study, as well as to discuss, in the final chapter, the work that remains for future exploration of the resonant spaces in between education, disability and music as sites of practice, and contested arenas of scholarship. William Pinar (2010), for example, supports the idea that "almost any form of music can teach," offering as an example commentary about music for a radio broadcast, in which music figures as a diversion from other (stressful) activity. Aside from the conflation of the educative function of music and the educative role of commentary on music, Pinar's example is hard to characterize as illustrative of teaching and learning because there is no analysis of the circumstances in which such an interaction occurs. To continue with Pinar’s (2010) example, how can a driver focused on navigating traffic gain anything other than momentary diversion from hearing a radio announcer relating information about a particular composer, piece of music, or style (p. xvii)? This is not to deny that a form of learning might occur in this case, but rather to insist on contextual factors being taken into account in defining how a distracted driver can learn from what the broadcaster teaches. Another more difficult question arises, namely, how this sort of interaction can create a space for both sustaining and rethinking the unexamined assumptions and dominant values that shape a given interaction, and in this case, an interaction which is significantly mediated by the technological apparatus of radio broadcasting. 8 Furthermore, there is a failure in recent education scholarship to differentiate between musical traditions, and among musicians whose musical practices, and modes of writing and talking about music reflect the core assumptions of sometimes incompatible traditions, manifest among other ways, in the difference between locating music within rituals and ceremonies, as opposed to separating the distanced contemplation of music as an aesthetic end in itself from quotidian concerns (Dahlhaus, 1989; Small, 1998). The generous-sounding, but untenable embrace of "all music" and "all musicians" (Gershon, 2010, p. 628) under the ensign of public intellectualism papers over difficult questions about the educative limitations of public intellectualism through music, and about the educative role of musicians (Gershon, 2010; see also, Burdick, Sandlin, & O'Malley, 2013; Sandlin, Burdick, & Schulz, 2011; Anderson, 2006; Guillory 2005). On the other hand, discussions of the role of musicians as public intellectuals in the domain of music studies (primarily musicology and ethnomusicology), are insufficiently attentive to the sorts of education theoretical issues that feature prominently in work on the role of musicians as public intellectuals in education scholarship (Fulcher, 1999; Nettl, 2005). Foremost among the latter, and of particular relevance to the present study, is the conceptual distinction between performing music in public (i.e., for an audience), and actually constituting a public through musical performance (Feinberg, 1993/1998; Love, 2004). This distinction will be pursued in Chapter 3, in developing the philosophical framework for the present study. An initial sense of how performance in public does not necessarily constitute a public can be gained by considering Walter Feinberg's (1993/1998) analysis of the two processes. In his remonstrance against cultural conservatism. Feinberg explains that to constitute a public is to raise fundamental questions about the very definition of what a public is, to ask who is included, who is excluded, and why. These questions inaugurate a "struggle to give meaning to past and present events, and 9 in the self-conscious and mutual awareness that a common self-definition is at stake" (p. 164; emphasis added). As subsequent chapters will show, this distinction between merely happening-in-public and actively-constituting-a-public by raising questions about the relationship between the able-bodied self and the disabled other creates a range of theoretical and methodological challenges to the present study. Chapter 3 accounts for the methodology I developed, explaining how the dissertation’s overall research design and methods of analysis were developed with the aim of making room for possible ambiguities and tensions between the performer's role, and that of the audience. In trying to locate musical performance and reception on the topography of music qua public intellectualism, it is ultimately necessary to ask whether a given musical performance is merely a public event, or whether it actively constitutes a public, not only during the actual performance, but also in subsequent reflection on the experience of that performance. For the moment, however, we must return to more immediate concerns, namely defining the scope of the research problem and setting forth the principal questions that guide inquiry. At the center of the perspective adopted in this dissertation, then, is the belief that musical performance qua public intellectualism does not come into being as a result of the performer simply making music and the audience receiving this music in a manner dictated by the performer's stated wishes. Nor can musical performance be understood as a site of public intellectualism merely by picking out the historical, social, cultural, and behavioral rules and conventions governing performance and reception (Cumming, 2000). Instead, we must search for educative possibilities and limits in the relational "gap" between performance and reception, and in between the meanings that are more or less codified, more or less individual, more or less shared among musicians, their audiences, and individual audience members. In order to develop a viable account of how and what musical 10 performance teaches, the question of what it means to experience music both for performer and audience must be understood as perpetually in movement, as a world of meaning created in the non-verbal communicative interaction between performer and audience. To be sure, the work of a musician does not always take place in public. In the solitude of the practice room, in preparation for public performance, musicians turn inward, yet these moments of deep introspection are necessarily accompanied by a turning outwards; thinking of, being inspired by, and contemplating the many worlds outside the self. However, here again, as Naomi Cumming (2000) has shown, in her elaboration of a musical semiotics inspired by the pragmatist philosophy of Charles Sanders Peirce (on which more in subsequent chapters), there is no precise demarcation between the performing self and the receiving other, between introspective thought and the public communication of thought. Walter Gershon's (2010) representation of musicians as "public intellectuals" who teach their audiences how to make sense of the relationship between self and world through music, goes rather too far in this direction, claiming that making music is always a "public act," (p. 628), always for an audience, a claim which I question in subsequent chapters. Having discussed the repertoire of lived experience that brought me to my dissertation topic, and having connected these moments of introspection, at least provisionally, to the relevant scholarship in Education, Disability Studies in Education, and Disability Studies in Music, I turn to the delineation of the topic itself. The next two sections of the present chapter explain the origin of the present research, delimit the scope of the dissertation and set forth the principal questions I ask in relation to the study's larger context. 11 1.2 Setting the Stage: Nobuyuki Tsujii and Haochen Zhang’s Shared Gold Medal at the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition In the summer of 2009, the Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii and the sighted Chinese pianist Haochen Zhang—the emphasis on sightedness in my phraseology is crucial to the framing of the study—tied for gold medal at the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas. The polemical reception of the competition results that year took as its main point of reference the fact that Tsujii is blind (Cantrell, 2009; Ivry, 2009; Oda, 2009; Spigelman, 2009: [Itsuko] Tsujii, 2009; Yoshihara, 2009). Tsujii's two-paragraph biographical summary in the competition program book begins with the qualifying phrase "Blind since birth..."(p. 108; emphasis added). Biographical summaries for Tsujii's concerts in the months and years following the 2009 competition seized upon the triumphalist possibilities of this passage, suggesting that Tsujii's success in music competitions since childhood serves as validation of his stated belief in the transcendence of music. This way of representing Tsujii's career conceals the assumptions and contradictions through which Tsujii is marked as a blind pianist rather than as "simply a pianist" (Oda, 2009), while validating a belief held not only by Tsujii himself, but also by his fellow musicians, and audiences, in music's power to transcend prejudice and to silence discrimination. The plausibility of this discourse is accomplished through a sleight of prose which implies a straightforward relationship of cause and effect: "Blind since birth, Nobu [his preferred nickname] believes that there are no barriers in the field of music. His philosophy was first affirmed at the age of 7 when he was named first-prize winner at the All-Japan Blind Students Music Competition" (IMG Artists, 2012, para. 6; emphasis added). Audiences encountering Tsujii for the first time, and having read this statement and variations thereof in program notes, press releases, and media texts, are presented with a 12 representation of what it means to be a blind pianist, the historical and cultural contingency of which are obscured. In drawing a straightforward line from Tsujii's stated belief in the transcendence and universality of music to the validation of this belief upon his childhood success in the competitive arena —his philosophy was first affirmed—acknowledgement of the rules and conventions which legitimize representations of Tsujii as a pianist who succeeds despite his blindness has been replaced by the language of common sense. If a pianist with a disability believes that music presents no obstacles, and successfully competes against both disabled and non-disabled musicians, then surely (so the logic runs), that belief withstands severe test, and need not be subjected to further scrutiny. As Alex Lubet (2004) explains, with particular reference to the world of Western art music, Complex politics permit, even encourage, soloists and conductors with disabilities while rank-and-file musicians with disabilities remain so rare. It has long been possible for members of marginalized classes to reach the top of competitive fields...while oppressed people of more typical abilities struggle for equality of employment and other basic rights. Fields requiring exceptional talent are less–or differently–discriminatory, at least partly because successful members of these groups serve established interests by appearing to provide evidence that hard work, ability, individual incentive and perseverance, rather than institutional reform, are all that are required to succeed. (Supercrips: Do exceptions prove the rule? para. 2) Tsujii's public declaration, in a Time Magazine article from shortly after the Cliburn competition, that he wishes to be thought of as “simply a pianist” rather than as a blind pianist (as cited in Oda, 2009, para. 6) points to a recurring feature in the reception of performers with 13 disabilities: a sharp dichotomy between "invisibility" on the one hand, and "hyper-visibility and instant categorization" on the other, which invariably attends their public performances (Kuppers, 2001, p. 26). One might, therefore, initially read Tsujii's statement as a protest against his "invisibility" as a pianist amongst his sighted colleagues, and as an outright rejection of his "hyper-visibility and instant categorization" as a blind pianist. I revisit this interpretation in Chapters 5 and 6, presenting a sustained discussion of how Tsujii's disapproval of the label blind pianist has been taken up and resisted by audience members in their reception of his performances. One might very well claim that it is difficult, if not impossible, for any performer to be received as "simply" a performer, as a virtual musical being, a "sonic self" floating free of the materiality of the off-stage body, and impervious to the social and cultural interpretations which both enable and constrain the body in performance (Cumming, 2000, p. 23). It follows from this claim that musicians with disabilities are unexceptional relative to their non-disabled colleagues in asking their audiences to differentiate between their onstage personas and off-stage selves, and to focus on their music-making (Glennie, n.d. [a] & [b]; Quasthoff, 2008). Within Western art music, in particular, and in society more generally, bodies with disabilities are given a host of meanings along a continuum from the imaginary to the real through a social repertoire that complicates distinctions between invisible and visible disability (Roman, 2009a & b), and "audible" and "inaudible" disability (Howe, forth-coming; Lubet, 2010; Straus, 2011). As an analytical category, however, disability is a relative newcomer to scholarly discourse on the body, and so our contemplation of what it might mean to be simply a pianist and what it means to navigate the category of blind pianist must unfold within an expanding, yet uncertain space, mindful all the while of the relative unfamiliarity of the disabled 14 body in performance (Sandahl & Auslander, 2005). In other words, discussions of the body in performance necessarily grapple with tensions between the self that the performer desires to project, and the performer's personal and bodily attributes perceived by audiences, and folded into their reception of a given performance (Cumming, 2000; Howe, 2010; Kuppers, 2001 & 2013; Sandahl & Auslander, 2005; Straus, 2011). Furthermore, performers with disabilities often have to contend with audiences’ expectation that the performance is about more than an aesthetic experience. In the case of musical performance, specifically, musicians performing with "visible disabilities" frequently encounter audiences who "come not only to hear the music but also to stare at the disabled body" (Straus, 2011, p. 126). To the traditional privilege accorded to sight and sound, noted earlier in relation to the aesthetic and pedagogical practices of Western art music, is added an additional level of emphasis: seeing and hearing the body in performance, thereby assigning "the disabled performer a dual task: to perform music and to perform disability" (Straus, 2011, p. 126). Musicians with visible disabilities remain bound to the category of "people with disabilities," a category which renders their performances dependent on the qualifications that their bodily differences are assumed to impose. Understanding the interaction between performers with disabilities and their audiences, and coming to grips with the question of how the distinction between blind pianist and simply a pianist is actively taken up and resisted by both Tsujii and his audiences, differs in degree rather than in kind from the general theoretical and methodological concerns that attend the study of performance art by people with disabilities (Sandahl, 1999; Sandahl & Auslander, 2005; Kuppers, 2001 & 2013). However, because of the late entry of disability as bodily difference into the scholarly imagination, and because of the relative absence of dominant cultural traditions such as Western art music in recent scholarship on disability and performance, and in twentieth 15 century social, cultural, and educational theory more generally (Sandahl & Auslander, 2005; see also Gershon, 2010; Symes, 2006), the anchor points for this study are not readily discernible. 1.3 Beyond the Screen: dis/Ability and the Arts In March 2013, some four years after his Van Cliburn competition victory, and having meanwhile built a reputation as an emerging pianist on the international concert circuit, Tsujii visited the University of British Columbia (henceforth UBC). During his brief stay in Vancouver, Tsujii participated in a question-and-answer session, and presented a solo recital at the UBC School of Music. These two events featuring Tsujii were the focal point of a series entitled Beyond the Screen: disAbility and the Arts, (henceforth the Beyond the Screen series) which was put together and co-sponsored by St. John’s College, a graduate residential college at UBC, the UBC School of Music, and UBC Access and Diversity. The series was developed specifically in response to the critical and popular reception of Tsujii's gold medal at the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and the controversy I noted at the outset. Having read about Tsujii's success, and having been deeply moved by one performance of his, in particular, at the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition3, I approached several people at UBC with the idea of bringing Tsujii to the university for a recital. The Beyond the Screen series developed out of this initial germ through a series of formal meetings and informal conversations over several months thereafter. My claims as to the purpose of the series are based on my personal involvement in the planning of Tsujii’s visit, as well as my participation in various 3 Tsujii's final-round performance of Frederic Chopin's Piano Concerto in E minor, with James Conlon and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. This performance, in particular, became a focal point during several interviews, since two participants expressed admiration for Tsujii's sensitive interpretation of this music. The performance in its entirety is available on YouTube. 16 committees and my attendance at all of the events in the series, including Tsujii's recital. I was also the moderator for the question and answer session with Tsujii on March 8. The larger aim of the Beyond the Screen series was to push those present, including professors, graduate students, as well as a wider public beyond UBC, to engage in a cross-disciplinary conversation about the stereotypes and prejudices with which disabled people have to contend when they are received in mainstream educational, cultural and artistic contexts (St. John's College, 2013). Furthermore, this series opened up a space in which students and faculty could—but did not necessarily––reflect on the possibilities and limits of education, broadly construed to encompass both formal and non-formal teaching and learning, in confronting discrimination on the basis of disability. The Beyond the Screen series was more in the nature of informal education, there being no specified curriculum or criteria for participation, yet the public announcements of and accompanying materials for the series pointed self-reflexively at the university as a space in which the barriers between disciplines, lived experience, and culture can be dismantled in the pursuit of answers to difficult questions. The guiding questions inscribed on the poster for the series give some idea of its open-ended approach to thinking about ability, disability, culture and education: How do prejudices about disabled musicians affect their reception and chances for success? How can we re-imagine the teaching of music in ways that account for different approaches to learning and performance? What are the responsibilities of the university? (St. John's College, 2013)? These questions are prefaced by an explanation that orchestras and other ensembles typically conceal the auditioning musicians behind a screen from the judges in order to ensure 17 impartiality, in particular "to prevent discrimination on the basis of gender, race or disability" (St. John's College, 2013). In her 2011 book The Question of Access: Disability, Space, Meaning, Tanya Titchkosky reflects on the ambiguous position of disability in the academic imagination, explaining that the scholarly imagination renders bodily difference as neither fully present, nor, yet, entirely absent. The precarious movements of the disabled body within the academy have deep historical roots. The tension between disability's presence and absence is a consequence of what Titchkosky refers to as "the cultural education of the sensorium," the contingent ways in which both able-bodied and disabled people have been taught to think and not think about bodily difference, through, for example, insisting upon a separation between self and body (p. 82; see also Titchkosky, 2012). With the theoretical mooring of "the cultural education of the sensorium" as both its point of departure and return, this dissertation explores the idea that seemingly common-sense distinctions between blind pianist and pianist bear the imprint of a particular "cultural education of the sensorium" which defines blindness normatively and reductively as nothing more than the inability to see. As a result of this manifestation of a sensorial pedagogy, the possibility of blindness as a way to "perceive differently" (Titchkosky, 2012, p. 82) has been kept invisible, inaudible, and intangible (see also Garland-Thomson, 2005). Concomitantly, the fundamental question of what it means to experience music through the senses and through the body has becomes entangled in "the dense weave of historical experience that organizes perception and the relations among the senses" (Titchkosky, 2011, p. 82). Titchkosky's account of the "cultural education of the sensorium" as it pertains to disability frames the landscape of this dissertation, and, in particular, the four questions which inhabit the center of the study as a whole: 18 1. How are the educative possibilities and limitations of Nobuyuki Tsujii's recital at the University of British Columbia School of Music on March 10th, 2013, defined by Tsujii and by individual audience members? 2. How do these audience members receive Tsujii in relation to the categories of pianist and blind pianist? Conversely, how does the pianist respond to his UBC audience? 3. What are the historical, social, cultural, and behavioral conventions, tacit and otherwise, through which Tsujii's performances are received in contradictory ways as those of simply a pianist and of a blind pianist? In what ways did the reception of Tsujii’s 2013 UBC recital suggest a way out of this dichotomous framing? 4. And, returning to the first question, albeit from a more expansive position, how do the rules and conventions of music pedagogy shape the possibilities and limitations of an education of the sensorium constituted through performances by musicians with disabilities? Before proceeding further, it will be helpful to consider previous statements by other blind pianists who publicly disavow the descriptor blind and instead claim the status of pianist. Complicating this situation further, there are documented instances of journalists, music critics and musicians who also insist upon the separation of blindness and pianism (Morrison, 1987; Saccani, 2010). In other words, Tsujii's statements to the press, in which he attempts to disarticulate his blindness from his pianism, are part of a shared discourse, indirectly shared among blind pianists striving to be heard as musicians in a mainstream tradition, and in a communicative medium (musical performance) which has traditionally privileged the supremely able body, a body able to see, hear, and move in specific ways (Straus, 2011; see also Lubet, 2004; Howe, 2010). As we shall see, it is not only pianists who happen to be blind insisting on 19 the separation of blindness from pianism, but also sighted fellow musicians, music critics, and members of the general public. It is impossible to make any general claim based on such a small number of individual statements. When considered in relation to ongoing scholarly discussions about the pitfalls of "person first language" and the countervailing force exerted by "disability-first" language (Michalko, 2002; Titchkosky, 2011 & 2012), however, these statements suggest the need for a study which scrapes away the layers of common sense that normative and counter-normative approaches to disability and the self have accumulated. Such a study promises to help us understand how the seemingly contrary gestures of disavowing and claiming disability depend on the circumstances in which people with and without disabilities encounter and receive each other (Linton, 1998; Shakespeare, 1994). The conductor Rico Saccani (2010) recalls working with the Hungarian pianist Tamas Erdi and his desire "to teach him [Erdi] to think of himself as a pianist who happens to be blind rather than [as] a 'blind pianist.' There's a huge difference" (p. 337; emphasis added). Just what the "huge difference" is, however, remains unspecified, glossed over by an apparently shared understanding between musician (author) and public (reader). It is worth mentioning that Erdi also entered the 2009 Cliburn competition but did not make it to the final round (So, 2011, par. 2). While it remains for Chapter 4 to scrutinize such claims, it is worth mentioning this way of thinking here, as part of the pedagogical context to Tsujii's recital at UBC. 1.4 Overview of Methodological Design This dissertation takes the form of a reception study based on semiotic analysis of Tsujii's reception in the media since 2009—the backdrop for his visit to UBC—and of a series of 20 interviews with Tsujii and with a purposive sample of audience members who attended Tsujii's 2013 UBC recital. My analysis unravels the congruities and tensions between Tsujii's own repeated attempts to separate his blindness from his music-making, and how audiences respond to this dimension of his public performances. My conversations with Tsujii and eleven individual audience members reveal the capacity (possibilities and limits) of performances by musicians with disabilities to teach performer and audience not only to question dichotomous representations of disability and selfhood, but also, and more fundamentally, to question common-sense beliefs about the importance of sight and sound in musical experience. In the act of asking such questions, performer and audience come to understand not only themselves but also their relationship to each other in new ways. This reception study contributes to long-standing debates about disability and selfhood, and offers a challenge to recent scholarship on musical performance as a forum for public intellectualism, calling for greater acknowledgement of how different eyes, different ears and different bodies, and their interactions in the context of musical performance shape the possibilities and limitations of musical performance as an educative practice. If, following Ludwig Wittgenstein’s aphoristic complaint in Culture and Value, we embrace the possibility that musicians have "something to teach," then what might a pianist such as Tsujii teach his audiences through musical performance? To begin understanding the implications of this question for scholarship in Education, Disability Studies in Education, and Disability Studies in Music, explored at length in Chapter 6, it is necessary to identify how the educative role of musicians has been construed in other times, and other places. That musicians, in particular, have something to teach people, has, of course, occurred to a great many people, in a great many different social, cultural and historical contexts (DeNora, 2000; Eyerman & McCormick, 2006; Nettl, 2005). Gershon (2010), for example, calls for 21 contemporary educational research to take music and musicians seriously in analyzing the critical interventions of public intellectuals, instead of relegating music, in particular, and the arts, more generally, to the margins of serious intellectual inquiry (pp. 630–631). It is worth mentioning, in passing, that although Gershon does not situate his argument within the history of Western philosophy, his claim as summarized above bears strong resemblance to the passage from Wittgenstein which I have included as an epigraph to the present chapter. In response to Gershon's exhortation, as well as to the general idea that musicians can teach through music—an idea itself based on the assumption that music can be educative rather than merely entertaining—questions about what musicians with disabilities have to teach their audiences, and about how they might teach through the non-verbal medium of musical performance provide anchor points for this dissertation. Recent analyses of disability as a mode of bodily performance have shown that stage appearances by disabled artists, musicians, actors, and so forth, are typically relegated to the realm of the spectacular: dominant cultural meanings projected by spectators on to the disabled body of the performer, reflect a deep anxiety about disability in performance, and upstage whatever other meanings the performer wants to express or communicate (Sandahl & Auslander, 2005, p. 4; emphasis added; see also, Howe, 2010; Kuppers, 2001; Lerner, 2006; Straus, 2011). Responding to Wittgenstein’s cue while at the same time softening its tenor in order to avoid coarse generalization, one might therefore complain that musicians with disabilities are too often typecast in roles which diminish the potential significance of what they can teach us about the meaning of music as a sensory and embodied experience. For present purposes, I have narrowed these stereotypical roles to two: in the first role, musicians with disabilities function as repositories for pervasive social and cultural anxieties about the loss of corporeal integrity which 22 imagined, actual, or possible disability is commonly understood to represent (Howe, 2010; Kuppers, 2001; Lerner, 2006; Straus, 2011); in the second role, musicians with disabilities who perform in ways that are deemed meritorious by their non-disabled colleagues, give audiences the satisfaction of legitimizing narratives of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity, as in the IMG publicity statement for Nobuyuki Tsujii discussed earlier in this chapter (see also, Straus, 2011). That these musicians might have something else to teach; that possibility is only infrequently entertained. Musical performance, including both the making of music by the performer and its reception by an audience "involves the materiality, the culture, and the politics of the human body" (Leppert, 2004, p. 20). As a result, the way audience experience a given performance "is especially to be understood as the result of mediations between ear and eye functioning within a 'sonoric landscape' wherein music occurs as both a sound and a sight" (p. 20). Implicit in this theoretical account of musical experience is the idea that seeing with the eye and hearing with the ear both help to define what music is for its participants, and that these sensory activities require no further explanation; that visual and aural perception are intelligible to a large enough population that they can be abstracted from the actual lived experience of seeing with a particular eye and hearing with a particular ear. Leppert's definition of musical performance as an embodied practice therefore falls flat, when considered from the perspective of Disability Studies, in which the commonality of bodily experience is the subject of continual questioning (Michalko, 2002; Straus, 2011; Titchkosky, 2011 & 2012). Gershon's (2010) ambitious claims on the educational significance of music are likewise weakened by a failure to take into account how normative accounts of musical experience assume a corporeal lingua franca, by which I mean an undifferentiated bodily experience, and are therefore implicated in the "cultural 23 education of the sensorium" through which disability is rendered simultaneously absent from and present in the institutions of society, culture and education (Titchkosky, 2011). As a further consequence of this sensorial pedagogy, bodily differences are not thought of as ways to encounter the world differently, but rather as simply manifestations of the ability to experience the world more or less well, or hardly at all (Titchkosky, 2012). In searching for musical experiences that exceed the limits of the seeing eye and the hearing ear, in trying to inhabit a space outside ourselves, an exteriority which George Herbert Mead (1934) describes as "the attitude of the other” (p. 194), we—performers and audiences— come to understand ourselves, and our relationship to each other in ways that put pressure on accounts of selfhood based on normative distinctions between ability and disability. Such an exploration might initially seem better suited (because more directly relevant) to disciplines such as Music, or Music Education. The pages that follow, however, are guided by a core belief: namely, that confronting normative accounts of musical experience, and, more specifically, searching for the educative dimensions of musical performance, are tasks that align strongly with contemporary educational scholarship on the role that culture and the arts play in teaching and learning. As Angela McRobbie (1985/2006) explains, drawing on the work of Stuart Hall: “Culture is a broad site of learning, and perhaps we learn best and are more open to new ideas when the barriers between the discipline and the academy and the experiences of everyday life are broken down” (p. 525). Musical performance can be understood as part of this "broad site" of cultural learning, and Tsujii's UBC recital can therefore be located within such practices of cultural learning. The reception of his UBC recital constitutes the focal point for exploring what we who inhabit the university, and we who enter the concert hall, might learn in the space 24 between the "extreme occasion" (Said, 1991) of a musical performance, and the "experiences of everyday life" (McRobbie, 1985/2006, p. 525). It will be helpful at this juncture to situate Tsujii's shared gold medal at the 2009 Van Cliburn competition and his 2013 recital at UBC within the larger histories of blindness in international piano competitions, and within musical performance and reception more specifically. While sustained research into these histories must await the future, positioning Tsujii's Cliburn shared gold medal, and his subsequent emergence on the international concert circuit within this broader landscape allows us to begin understanding the larger issues at stake in his discomfiture with being identified as a blind pianist, and his desire to be regarded as simply a pianist. At the same time, paying attention to the larger historical landscapes will deepen the analysis of Chapters 4 and 5, which explicate Tsujii's reception not only within the circumscribed time and space of a solo recital, but also over the four year span between this recital (2013) and his Cliburn prize (2009). These chapters pull to the surface a system of rules, remembered and forgotten, tacit and overt, as a result of which the distinction between blind and sighted pianists seems, by turns, natural, necessary, puzzling, and trivial, to Tsujii, and to the eleven UBC audience members whom I interviewed. Mapping the study in this way throws into relief the unexplored intersections between Tsujii's efforts to negotiate "invisibility," "hyper-visibility," and "instant-categorization," the dimensions of cultural meaning that envelop the disabled body (Kuppers, 2001). Delineated thus, the study also intervenes in recurring debates about person-first language—I map Tsujii's distinction between blind pianist and pianist who happens to be blind onto the distinction contested within Disability Studies between disabled person and person with a disability—about the relationship between self and other, and the educative possibilities and limitations of music, broadly defined to encompass performance and reception 25 (Gershon, 2010). The next section adumbrates the history of disability (specifically blindness) in international piano competitions, and in musical performance more broadly, thereby emphasizing the complexities in understanding what it might mean, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, for Tsujii to resist being defined as a blind pianist. 1.5 Blindness and the International Piano Competition: A Survey Over the course of the twentieth century, participants in the developing arena of the public (and often highly publicized) international music competition included a number of disabled musicians, among them several blind pianists who achieved distinction nationally and internationally (Alink, 1990, p. 31; see also Prosnak, 1970). Although the scope of this dissertation does not allow for more than a brief acknowledgement of the history of disability in international music competitions—starting with Imre Ungár's 1932 second prize in the Frederic Chopin Competition, in Poland, continuing throughout the remainder of the twentieth century, and rising dramatically to the surface of the public consciousness in the opening moments of the twenty-first—it is nonetheless helpful to point backwards in time, thereby gaining a larger perspective on what is at stake in the present study. It is also worth mentioning that blind pianists have been a marked presence in Western art music performance since the eighteenth century, perhaps the most well-known example from that period being Maria Theresia Paradis (Pendle, 1987). In Chapter 3, I take up the concept of markedness, as a central concept in the semiotic tradition that informs my own analytical approach. Here I use the phrase "marked presence" in a broader sense, to denote a singular community of musicians within Western art music performance, whose presence has not often been acknowledged, and is therefore, as it were, remarkable. 26 The following notices which date from the late nineteenth century, illustrate the wide-ranging historical, cultural, and educational issues at stake in the seemingly straightforward distinction between pianists versus blind pianists. Both notices refer to the pianist, organist and composer Alfred Hollins, whose career spanned the last decades of the nineteenth, and the first decades of the twentieth century. The first excerpt is from a review of a concert featuring Hollins alongside two sighted musicians. The primacy of vision over hearing in the norms dictating on-stage comportment of musicians is here rendered with particular sharpness. The unidentified reviewer compares Hollins’ musicianship with that of his two sighted colleagues, writing that Hollins’ pianism was characterized “not only [by] a technical accuracy which would have deserved praise in a player possessed of sight [but also by] a breadth of style and an appreciation of the composer’s meaning which showed him to be not unworthy of his colleagues” (The Athenaeum, 1886, p. 529; emphasis added). The second excerpt, from several years later, likewise anonymous, devotes a single unceremonious sentence to Hollins, noting that the musician gave a "surprisingly accurate" performance of Beethoven's C minor concerto (1891, p. 709; emphasis added).4 What is at issue here is something more than damning with faint phrase (the grudging tone of “not unworthy,” and the condescension of "surprisingly accurate"). If what matters in musical performance is interpretive skill, then, assuming those qualities are demonstrated by a given pianist, why is comparison with a sighted musician necessary? As we shall find out in subsequent chapters, despite the very different social, cultural, and historical circumstances of 4 A review of the same concert in the July 1st issue of The Musical Times is more or less identical: "The executant was the blind pianist, Mr. Alfred Hollins, who gave what may fairly be described as a surprisingly accurate performance" (p. 412). 27 Nobuyuki Tsujii’s career, there are sometimes astonishing similarities between his reception and that of Hollins, demonstrating the enduring power of vision to define what it means to be a pianist. Although competitive music-making has existed in many forms throughout the history of Western art music (Alink, 1990; Ghadban, 2009; McCormick, 2008), and, indeed, has been part of other musical traditions throughout the world as far back as sixth century Greece (Latham and Spencer, n.d., para. 1) the origins of latter-day Western art music competitions are to be found in the nineteenth century (Eatock, 2006, p. 265). In the first decades of the twentieth century, international music competitions played an increasingly important part in launching the careers of young musicians, including instrumentalists, singers, conductors and composers. For a musician to win top prize at an international competition remains an important achievement, leading to various career-building opportunities, and sometimes––despite Taruskin’s (2009) gloomy assessment of the effect of competitions on the development of individuality—to artistic growth as well (pp. 6–7; see also Alink, 1990; Brooke, 2001; Cline, 1985; Eatock, 2006; McCormick, 2008; Rosen, 2002). It should be noted that Taruskin’s critique of music competitions reflects a commonly held sentiment among performers, scholars and music critics, and the parenthetical recommendations for further reading on this topic are by no means exhaustive of the commentary on this topic. The pianist and scholar Charles Rosen (2002), for example, voices a specific criticism of the educational practices favored by music schools as a result of the career-launching influence of international competitions, arguing that the ways in which they train young pianists to perform, stand in the way of a “direct and experimental approach” to learning the piano-repertoire (p. 94). For Rosen, this emphasis on direct experience of playing the piano is of primary educational importance, regardless of 28 whether or not a student ultimately pursues a career in music: “the more music one can actually recreate for oneself, even informally, the richer one’s experience of the art becomes” (p. 95). The ongoing controversy over how beneficial or detrimental competitions are in the training of pianists is beyond the scope of this dissertation (Cline, 1985; McCormick, 2008). However, it is important to take note of the skepticism that music competitions face in general, in order to understand that the controversy over Tsujii’s gold medal at the 2009 Van Cliburn competition involves more than polarized opinions about whether he deserved this mark of distinction and about whether or not the jury awarded Tsujii a gold medal as a “compassionate gesture” (Johnson, 2009, para. 5). Competition results, in particular the merits or failings of individual competitors, are invariably the subject of intense debate among musicians (including competitors and judges), critics, and the general public (Horowitz, 1990; Prosnak, 1970). At the 2009 Van Cliburn competition, the presence of disability in an arena which both assumes normative sensory perception and ability, and exalts virtuosic displays of sensory, physical, and mental ability certainly added unfamiliar dimensions to long-standing consternation about the educative, ethical and artistic dimensions of international piano competitions. However the bitter dispute over Tsujii's gold medal, at times devolving into ad hominem statements (as the next section of this chapter shows) must be understood in relation to the larger and more fundamental debate about the validity of competitive music making itself. Let us recall a central theoretical insight in recent scholarship on disability and performance, an insight which harmonizes with a recurring theme in the analysis presented in Chapters 4 and 5. By restricting bodily difference to positions of "invisibility," "hypervisibility," and "instant categorization," a given performance environment subordinates artistic expression, aesthetic contemplation, and, ultimately, the communicative interaction between performer and 29 audience to a dichotomy which confines disability either to the foreground or to the background of the performance encounter (Roman, 2009a & b; Kuppers, as cited in Sandahl & Auslander, 2005, p. 4). In exploring the reception of Tsujii's UBC recital, my larger purpose was to understand the extent to which his representation in the media as a blind pianist, and his repeated efforts to disarticulate his blindness from his pianism (Oda, 2009; [Itsuko] Tsujii, 2009) shifted focus away from what he wished to communicate as simply a pianist. Phrased differently, to what extent did the subset of his UBC audience I interviewed take for granted that the "disabled body is naturally about disability?" (Kuppers, 2001, p. 26; emphasis in original). 1.6 Media Reception of the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition “What was the jury thinking?” spluttered Benjamin Ivry (2009) all over the pages of The Wall Street Journal, arguing that both Nobuyuki Tsujii and Haochen Zhang were undeserving of their gold medals at the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition. Ivry was particularly incensed by Tsujii's performances at the competition, describing Tsujii as a “student-level Japanese performer plainly out of his depth in the most demanding repertoire” (para. 2). Going further, Ivry complained that many articles have focused on the fact that Tsujii was born blind and learns music by ear. But only results count, and his June 6 performance of Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto with the mediocre Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, led with steely resolve by James Conlon, was a disaster. Soloists who cannot see a conductor's cues should not be playing concertos in public, out of simple respect for the composers involved. (para. 3, emphasis added) 30 It is a matter of historical record that blind pianists have been performing in public with orchestras since at least the late 19th century, and have, in some cases, achieved widespread acclaim (Burcescu, 2008; Hollins, 1936; Prosnak, 1970). Consider, briefly, the following description by the Romanian conductor Sergiu Commissiona, of his experiences performing in public with the French pianist Bernard d'Ascoli: there was, for Commissiona, "a concentrated feeling of oneness of pianist, conductor and orchestra—an uncanny sensual relationship considering Bernard's blindness" (as cited in Burcescu, 2008, p. 238). Although the conductor asserts a common bond between himself, d'Ascoli, and the other musicians, the question of exactly why this sensation of deep unity between the musicians should be simultaneously uncanny, and why the pianist's blindness must be offered as a quick explanation, throws the contradictory positioning of blind pianists into sharp relief. Let us examine more carefully Ivry's assertion that blind pianists should not collaborate with orchestras out of "simple respect for the composer." A few moments of research produce the names not only of Imre Ungár, mentioned earlier as the first blind pianist to achieve major success at an international piano competition (Prosnak, 1970), and Bernard d'Ascoli, but also, reaching further back to the nineteenth century, the blind pianist, composer and organist Alfred Hollins, whose reception, as I also explained earlier in reference to two brief examples, offers a compelling example of the disabling attitudes that render blind musicians as subordinate and in need of validation from their sighted colleagues. Hollins’ own memoirs illustrate the extent to which he himself subscribed to these ways of thinking (Hollins, 1936). The point to emphasize here in examining the validity of Ivry's demand is that all of the musicians cited above, as well as a number of others appeared with orchestras playing concertos in public. 31 Moving onwards, let us leave aside the verifiable fact that the “disaster” which so offended Ivry consisted of less than a minute of slightly out-of-synch playing and that such “disasters” happen to sighted pianists, and cannot be attributed to disability in such a tidy fashion. Let us also disregard Ivry’s assumption that the mishap was Tsujii’s fault (the merit or lack thereof in this claim cannot be settled here). In short, let us, for the moment, ignore the myriad sources by means of which we might refute Ivry’s laundry list of Tsujii’s supposed failings as a musician. This particular example of critical reaction to public performances by disabled musicians illustrates a profound contradiction in the position that disability occupies in such a context, at once assumed to be central to critical response, while at the same time relegated to the status of being irrelevant, since, after all, only results count. It is instructive to note the reiteration of a similar trope in the following comments by Robert Battey in a 2010 blog posting for the Washington Post entitled “Blind Cliburn winner makes notable, much-hyped DC debut.” In order to facilitate comparison of the unexamined assumptions that derail the responses of both Ivry and Battey, I quote Battey at some length. After criticizing what he considers to be the lack of expressive depth in Tsujii's playing, Battey speculates that Sadly, most of this is probably tied to his disability. Tsujii learns music not through Braille (which is available), but by listening to custom-made recordings of the notes for each hand, played slowly, by his teacher. This means he does not absorb bar lines, time signatures, note values, complex phrasing indications and the variety of accents carefully set out by the composer. In order to judge distances around the keyboard, he has to keep his torso absolutely still, which prevents him from moving in any natural way, feeling the underlying pulse. Lastly, the most amazing feature of his technique is how he handles 32 large leaps. When there’s time, he takes an instant to check his position, which adds an extra manoeuvre to what should be a free, organic ballet of the hands. All of these issues add up to music-making that never sounds completely comfortable or sure of what it’s about. Still, he is a remarkable, inspiring person. (para. 5) Some media responses to Tsujii’s participation in and success at the 2009 Van Cliburn competition entirely renounced critical distance and thoughtful analysis (Ivry's article is but one example), instead falling back upon a rhetoric of dehumanization in which people with disabilities cannot communicate purposefully with the non-disabled, as equals, that is, as complete, fully present humans. Furthermore, these media accounts illustrate the degree to which assumptions about proper bodily comportment figure in sustaining the notion that certain ways of communicating are markers of incomplete or absent selfhood. Consider, for example, Michael Johnson’s (2009) observations in a vituperation entitled "Odd couple share Cliburn gold": From my Bordeaux study, I watched a webcast of one of his rehearsals for a Chopin Piano Concerto [the Chopin E minor concerto; the full length video is available on YouTube]. His keyboard touch was uncertain but the conductor seemed to be giving him the benefit of the doubt. As his translator relayed the conductor’s suggestions to him, his head rolled about on his shoulders and he said nothing. (Johnson, 2009, para. 10) Johnson takes it for granted that the movements of Tsujii’s head and his silence signify nothing more than a lack of social grace, and an inability to interact effectively (in other words, verbally) for the purposes of making music. Absent from Johnson’s description is the possibility that Tsujii was in fact listening attentively, and that he was responding to, and interacting with, in other words being attentive to the conductor (James Conlon) on his own terms. Tsujii might be 33 demonstrating a way of interacting with another person (Wendell, 1996) with which Johnson is simply not familiar. Instead of imagining that possibility, however, Johnson straight away rejects the legitimacy of Tsujii’s interaction with the conductor, assuming that the relative absence of speech (on the part of the pianist), signified a complete absence of thought. For Johnson, Tsujii is wholly other, the boundary between self and other is firmly demarcated by ability and disability. There is, consequently, no room for a sophisticated analysis in Johnson's account, of what a non-disabled person might learn from how Tsujii makes music, or about how he communicates. In sharp contrast, the conductor Ron Spigelman (2009) has suggested that the shared victory of Tsujii and Zhang at the 2009 edition of the Van Cliburn competition shattered two pervasive myths regarding disability and age respectively (at nineteen years old Zhang was the youngest competitor that year, and the youngest gold-medalist in the Cliburn competition’s history). For Spigelman, the notion that the life experiences of competitors are immaterial, that all that matters is the music itself is mistaken. Specifically in relation to Tsujii, Spigelman asks how one can simply treat his blindness as irrelevant. While it remains for this dissertation to critically engage Spigelman’s position in relation to the larger reception of the 2009 Cliburn competition results, and Tsujii's subsequent emerge on the international concert circuit, his insistence that music is ultimately about human experience in all its multiplicity, and not simply about the music itself, is nonetheless useful as a starting point (part 1, para. 1). 1.7 Scope of Dissertation: Restatement of Research Topic and Central Questions At this point, it will be helpful to identify the larger concerns which hover in the background of the specific questions of this dissertation, in order to define its scope with greater precision, and to locate the research topic within the principal currents of scholarship in 34 Education and Disability Studies, including the subfields of Disability Studies in Music, and Disability Studies in Education: How does musical performance mediate the distinction between being simply a musician and being a musician with a disability? How is this distinction negotiated through encounters between musicians with disabilities and their audiences in the context of an actual musical performance? How do other distinctions, especially that between the role of performer and audience and the distance between these roles established by the performer's virtuosity (Said, 1991) complicate the reception of musicians with disabilities? The potential to become locked on the horns of a binary between the sights and sounds of musical performance must be acknowledged (Tsay, 2013; see also, Leppert, 1991; Straus, 2011). In order to avoid this pitfall, it is important to remain open from the beginning to the possibility that performances by musicians with sensory disabilities go further than simply shifting emphasis from seeing to hearing. In other words, it is possible for their performances to do more than destabilize long-standing beliefs in the importance of “compensatory listening” as a strategy through which blind people "reinvent" a vision-dominated world which so often has accorded them marginal status (Kuusisto, 2006, p. xi, as cited in Straus, 2011, p. 170; see also Straus, 2011, pp. 170–174). What might happen, what "pedagogic possibilities" (Titchkosky, 2012, p. 82) might come into being if we think about musical performance in terms of its capacity to teach performer and audience to experience music outside the dichotomies that separate thinking 35 from feeling, seeing from hearing, ability from disability, and, in so doing, to embrace not just blindness, but disability, more generally, as a way to "perceive differently" (p. 82; see also, Gershon, 2010, p. 630)? As Chapter 2 explains, taking apart such divisions has been an important project within ethnomusicological and educational scholarship on the role of musical experience, including performance and reception (Gershon, 2010; Small, 1998). Discovering the educative possibilities of performances by musicians with disabilities requires an approach that starts from, and continually refers to the lived experiences of making and receiving music, and it is this principle that has guided my study of the reception of Tsujii's recital at UBC. Conversations with Tsujii and individual audience members focused on how they experienced this recital and how their prior understanding of disability was both sustained and challenged during the recital itself, and upon reflection in the months thereafter. As Chapter 3 discusses, media texts including newspaper and magazine articles, and audiovisual sources documenting Tsujii's reception since the 2009 Cliburn competition situate my interviews within the relevant sociocultural and historical contexts. This reception study offers unfamiliar answers to familiar questions about the educative function of music, broadly construed, in reconfiguring the relationship between self and other through participation in a non-verbal communicative medium. Performances by musicians with disabilities are widely assumed to be different from those of their able-bodied counterparts, an assumption that is a recurring feature in both media reception of, and the scholarly literature on disabled performers (Howe, 2010; Lerner, 2006; Lubet, 2010; Straus, 2011). By asking how the non-verbal medium of musical performance mediates, and potentially remakes the relationship between performer and audience, this dissertation calls into question the fundamental assumption that performances by disabled musicians are necessarily different because of the performer’s 36 disability, that the disabled body of the musician is naturally about disability. Fundamental to this way of framing the research problem is a belief that disability is not an individual problem, but rather a social process (Oliver, 1993; see also, Barnes & Oliver, 2012; Mitchell & Snyder, 2000; Straus, 2011). Musical performances, in general, and Tsujii's recital, in particular, are each "extreme" occasions (Said, 1991), at once distant from, even as they are unimaginable without, the powerful social, cultural, and political dynamics that shape how performers and audiences receive each other through music. As subsequent chapters demonstrate, the analysis of musical performance and reception offers significant difficulties and opportunities in scholarly research in general, and educational research in particular (in which latter context music has occupied a marginal status). Ethnomusicologist John Blacking (1995) describes one such difficulty that musical experience creates for scholarly research, by virtue of the elusiveness, and allusiveness of music's non-verbal, and non-conceptual meanings: “The meaning of musical signs is ambiguous; culture bound, rather than objectively self-evident: people are inclined to perceive and interpret them with reference to their experiences of different cultural systems, as well as according to variations in individual personality” (as cited in Lines, 2003, p. 3). If, as Michael Bonnett (2009) has argued, “the basic posture of education should be one of openness to different ways of being human” and if, therefore, education should be “experimental” and “experiential” (p. 362), then it follows that an analysis of the educative possibilities of performances by musicians with disabilities needs to situate these performances as sites of productive discomfort. The anxiety that is demonstrated in questions about how disabled musicians overcome the limitations that disability is often assumed to place upon the performing body Straus, 2011; see also Sandahl & Auslander, 2005) should, on this view, be the 37 starting point for ongoing reflection on what gives rise to such anxiety in the first place. The educative dimensions of musical performance should ideally guide both performer and audience beyond dichotomous ways of understanding human experience, encapsulated, for example, in the discourse of simply a pianist rather than a blind pianist, and towards the cultivation of “openness to different ways of being human" (Bonnett, 2009, p. 362) continually asking along the way: why it is that disability has so often been understood to signify the absence of complete selfhood, to represent a way of being-not-fully-human? When considered in abstract terms, it would seem that the end result of this struggle to unmake normative prescriptions for being human in the world, must necessarily involve rejecting conceptions of disability as a dismal collection of“ limits without possibility,” in which blindness is nothing other than the inability to see (Titchkosky, 2012, p. 82), thinking instead about different eyes, different ears and different bodies as spaces of "pedagogic possibility," the educative power of which inheres in ambiguity rather than certainty about what is self and what is other (p. 84). And yet, as we have noted at the beginning, there is always a gap: a difference between what the performer knows and wants to cultivate in the audience, and what the audience knows, wants to learn, and ends up learning (Biesta, 2004; Gershon, 2010). In trying to understand the educative possibilities and limitations of Tsujii's UBC recital as understood by individual members of his UBC audience, we must transpose the productive gap in which education "takes place" (Biesta, 2004, p. 13) from the classroom to the concert hall. Our concern will be with the difference between what the performer knows and experiences—in this case that he is a pianist who happens also to be blind, a sentiment which he hopes his audience will share—and what audiences actually know and experience—in this case that Tsujii is neither simply a pianist nor 38 simply a blind pianist. Rather than proceeding by means of the communicative model implicit in Gershon's (2010) account of musicians as public intellectuals, who present "ideas and ideals" through the non-verbal medium of music, which their audiences then "interpret" (Gershon does not specify how), we shall chart a more difficult course, asking what forms of education take place non-verbally, in the gap, the silences, the absences, in a word, the differences between Tsujii and his audience, and in the relationship between the activities of performing and listening. This is the task that lies ahead in subsequent chapters. In asking such questions, and breaking open the categories of the sighted self and the blind other, the study draws out the larger implications for educational scholarship on music as a forum for engaged public intellectualism. Foremost among the relevant considerations for educational research, I will argue, is whether or not musicians and audiences learn to question the normative codes of ability and disability, blindness and sightedness, and the conventions of sensory experience which structure musical performance and reception. Even in the absence of systematic description and analysis of musical experiences by performers and audiences, such experiences are nonetheless mediated by rules and conventions that shape, however unconsciously, how music is perceived through the senses, through the body, and through cognition (Straus, 2006 & 2011). Through such critical reflection on what it means to experience music through the senses and through the body (Gershon, 2010), musical performance and reception can claim a space within current and future debates about musicians as public intellectuals. 39 Chapter 2: Review of the Scholarly Literature Black and Third world people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity (Lorde, 1980/1997, p. 374). What is happening is that non-disabled people are getting rid of their fear about their mortality, their fear about the loss of labour power and other elements in narcissism...disabled people are the dustbin for that disavowal. (Hevey, 1991, p. 34) 2.1 Overview of Chapter This chapter discusses the scholarly literature that informs the dissertation as a whole, and is divided into three main parts. The first part reviews the research problem and guiding questions presented in Chapter 1. The second part discusses recent scholarship in Education which my study takes as its main frame of reference, focusing in particular on theoretical and philosophical literature on public intellectualism and relational pedagogy (Biesta, 2004; Bingham & Sidorkin, 2001; Bingham & Sidorkin, 2004; Burdick, Sandlin, & O'Malley, 2011; Sandlin, Schulz, & Burdick, 2010). I situate Nobuyuki Tsujii's UBC recital—an instance of musical performance and reception shaped by anxiety about disability in music—at the juncture of these two theoretical pathways in education scholarship. The third and final part of this chapter surveys the field of Disability Studies (Abberley, 1987; Finkelstein, 1980; Davis, 1997 & 2013; Michalko, 2002; Linton, 1998; Oliver, 1990; Roman, 2009a & b; Shakespeare, 1994; Titchkosky, 2008, 2011, & 2012). Debates among Disability Studies scholars about the signification of "person-first" versus "disability-first" language schemes, and about the representation of disability in mainstream and disability culture are the twin pillars of the present study. Humanistic and social-scientific traditions within Disability Studies structure the philosophical framework, methodological design, and methods of analysis set forth in Chapter 3. 40 I conclude this chapter by taking up relevant literature in three bourgeoning sub-fields: Disability Studies in Education (Baglieri, & Shapiro, A, 2012; Gabel, 2005; Gabel & Danforth, 2006), Disability Studies in Music (Lerner & Straus, 2006; Lubet, 2010; Straus, 2011), and Disability and Performance Studies (Henderson & Oistrander, 2012; Kuppers, 2001 & 2013; Sandahl & Auslander, 2005). Each of these sub-fields offers critiques of normative accounts of selfhood, theorizes the relationship between disability and selfhood, and grapples with the educative role of cultural practices, including music, in upholding and reimagining the place of disability within and in relation to the self. The dichotomy between pianist and blind pianist which exerts force upon Tsujii's public performances, and their reception by audiences around the world (Cantrell, 2009; Ivry, 2009; Oda, 2009; Schlachter, 2009; [Itsuko] Tsujii, 2009) points to the relevance for the present study of contested scholarly representations of disability and selfhood in each of these sub-fields. Despite a common ancestor, Disability Studies in Education, Disability Studies in Music, and Disability and Performance Studies have developed mostly in parallel rather than intersecting fashion when it comes to analyzing the relationship between culture, disability politics, and the reception of performers with disabilities. In concluding this chapter, I take note of the resulting points of congruity and of tension, and situate my dissertation's research questions as set forth in Chapter 1 within their cross-currents. The final part of this chapter also adumbrates the theoretical framework, methodological design and methods of analysis detailed in Chapter 3, explaining how these dimensions of my study forge connections between—even as they raise questions about—the scholarly traditions and debates reviewed in the present chapter. Before examining the relevant scholarly literature, however, it will be helpful to revisit the central research questions set forth in the first chapter. 41 2.2 Pianism and Blindness: What Happens To Be in the Vexed Relationship Between Disability and Selfhood? My dissertation explores the reception of performers with disabilities in Western art music, and inquires into the possibilities and limits of musical performance as an educative medium through which to reimagine sensory, affective, bodily, and cognitive experiences of music. The study takes as its focal point a recital by pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii at the School of Music, University of British Columbia and is based on semiotic analysis of interviews I conducted with the pianist and eleven individual audience members who attended his recital (henceforth UBC audience). I situate my analysis of these interviews within the broader landscape of Tsujii's reception in the media since his shared gold medal at the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The larger aim of my conversations with Tsujii and members of his UBC audience was to find answers to four main questions: first, how are the educative possibilities and limitations of this recital defined by Tsujii and by individual audience members? Second, how do these audience members receive Tsujii in relation to the categories of pianist and blind pianist? Conversely, how does the pianist respond to his UBC audience? Third, what are the historical, social, cultural, and behavioral conventions, tacit and otherwise, through which Tsujii's performances are received in contradictory ways as those of simply a pianist and of a blind pianist? In what ways did the reception of Tsujii’s 2013 UBC recital suggest a way out of this dichotomous framing? And finally, how do the rules and conventions of music pedagogy shape the possibilities and limitations of an education of the sensorium constituted through performances by musicians with disabilities? 42 2.3 Locating Musicians with Disabilities as Public Intellectuals in the Relational Gap Between Musical Performance and Reception The mainstream tradition of Western art music, of which Nobuyuki Tsujii is an exponent, is largely absent from contemporary social, cultural, and educational theory, and, by extension, from recent education scholarship, having been dismissed as Eurocentric, elitist, and ultimately irrelevant to the present-day educational concerns of teachers, and to the lived experience and interests of students (Abraham, 2007; Gershon, 2010; Symes, 2006). However, my goal for both the present chapter, and for the dissertation as a whole, is not to present an apologia for Western art music (Lubet, 2004 & 2010). Instead, I wish to draw attention to the absence of Western art music in contemporary educational research, and its social and cultural-theoretical tributaries as a circumstance which complicates the work of the present study. I noted at the outset that the place of music within public intellectualism, and more specifically, the role of musicians as public intellectuals, provide the principal anchor points for this dissertation (Gershon, 2010). In order to explore Tsujii's UBC recital as an instance of the musician as public intellectual, and to trace the emergence of this public intellectual role through the relational practices of musical performance and reception, it is necessary to account for Tsujii's own understanding of his educational role as a performer, a topic which I consider in greater detail in Chapter 4. To the extent that Tsujii defines his role as one of fostering an appreciation for Western art music in his audiences, analyzing the educative dimensions of his UBC recital from the disciplinary vantage point of a domain of scholarship (Education) whose relationship to this musical tradition is sometimes antagonistic (Abraham, 2007), presents a formidable set of theoretical and methodological challenges. 43 Despite the lack of firm disciplinary footing, this dissertation nevertheless joins recent educational conversations about the relationship between music and public intellectualism. Questions about what sorts of musicians count as public intellectuals provide a foundation for considering how Tsujii's statements about his disability, and his music-making, as well as his actual music making, carve out a complex, ambiguous role for Tsujii as a public intellectual (Anderson, 2006; Anijar, 2001; Fulcher, 1999 & 2005; Gershon, 2010; Guillory, 2005; Hill, 2009; Treager, 2007). The research questions set forth in Chapter 1 start from the premise that analysis of the educative possibilities and limitations of performances by musicians with disabilities needs to take both performer and audience into account, instead of focusing on either performance or reception. In this regard, my approach differs from those taken in many previous analyses of public intellectualism through music, approaches which give priority to audience reception. Of the studies referenced above, two, (the latter is a monograph based on the former), focus on musical composition, and on the role of composers as public intellectuals (Fulcher, 1999 & 2005). Thematic and methodological differences aside, however, the theoretical questions these scholars raise are germane to the present study. Principal among these matters are the pitfalls of a dichotomous approach. The dichotomies which disability produces, as I have noted in Chapter 1, sideline the dynamic, contingent qualities of relationships between musicians with disabilities (whether composers, performers, or scholars) and the audiences (whether fellow musicians, journalists, or the general public) whom their work addresses. Too narrow a focus on what happens either onstage or offstage in the representation of bodily difference would serve only to uphold these binaries. Recent philosophical inquiries into the meaning of relational pedagogy define education as an interaction between teacher and student rather than as a discrete set of activities falling on 44 either side of the distinction between teaching and learning (Biesta, 2004). This approach to classroom education helps us to understand how musical performance and reception, conceived as interaction, might be educative in the concert hall on my own interest in the relational textures of musical performance and reception. In reviewing the literature that has shaped my dissertation, it is therefore necessary to show how this area of educational research on pedagogy, together with theoretical discussions of musical forms of public intellectualism, have guided my thinking and subsequent analysis of the educative possibilities and limitations of Tsujii's UBC recital. As the pages of this dissertation unfold, I demonstrate that Tsujii's recital can be richly understood as an instance of public intellectualism through music, the limits and possibilities of which emerge in the situated and relational performance and reception practices of Tsujii and his UBC audience. Walter Gershon's (2010) assertions that all musicians are public intellectuals by virtue of their activities, and that all music has the capacity to educate regardless of the specific circumstances in which it is received, or of the musician's educative intentions (p. 628) are overstated. Gershon does not provide adequate support from the secondary sources to which he appeals in advancing these claims. His essay nevertheless opens up a productive space because of the question it raises—and fails to answer— about how a musician can teach audiences without linguistic communication (verbal instruction; p. 633), and I therefore give his essay a prominent position in the present chapter. It is that question which, perhaps more than any other, unifies the research problem set forth in Chapter 1. A discussion of the "educative possibilities" of musical performance by Charles Hersch (1998) focuses specifically on democratic education through musical performance, and, furthermore, on improvised idioms (free jazz) rather than on Western art music (p. 93). Despite this apparent thematic distance from my own concerns, however, the questions he asks about 45 musical performance align in several respects with my own, and his concern with music's place in civil rights struggles also signals a thematic relationship to the present study. For Hersch, musical performance provides a way into the "thoughts and feelings of political activists" in the nineteen sixties. Crucially, Hersch also asks what the limitations are for music "as a source of democratic political education" during the period of time he examines (p. 93). Building on Hersch's approach, while acknowledging its difference from my own purposes, I locate the educative in musical performance within the relational gap between musician (performer) and audience, a gesture which draws a parallel between performer-audience interactions in the concert hall, and teacher-student interactions in the classroom (Biesta, 2004). In Chapter 1, I noted that recent discussions of musicians as public intellectuals who teach audiences by means of a non-verbal, affective, and multi-sensory curriculum inscribed into musical sound (Gershon, 2010), have not adequately considered the presence of such a gap between musician and audience. As a result, theoretical accounts of music as a forum for public intellectualism place an emphasis on the educative possibilities of musical experiences without attending to the possible limits of a relational pedagogy between musician and audience. Simply put, while musical performance may teach, it can also fail to teach, and while musicians may perform a public intellectual role, they may also fail to do so. Going further, still, my dissertation incorporates questions asked by scholars outside the field of education, in order to expand the analytical scope for music within myriad spaces of public intellectualism. Foremost among these are the possible ways in which musicians with disabilities, in particular, might bring about "unlearning" (Gosden, 2001, p. 166). By "unlearning" I refer to the questioning of what too often is simply accepted at first sight, at first hearing, as the tangible evidence of a (non-disabled) 46 sensorium (Roman, 2009; see also, Titchkosky, 2011 & 2012). I return to this matter in the third chapter, in the context of establishing this dissertation's methodological framework. A passage from a 2014 doctoral dissertation by Rumi Tobinai provides a foothold from which to argue for the importance of context in linking performer-audience interactions to those between teacher and student, while acknowledging moments in which the analogy breaks down. I have selected this particular excerpt for inclusion here because it describes a classroom interaction in which Nobuyuki Tsujii's self-representation (summarized in the first section of this chapter) was discussed by a group of Japanese students (Tobinai, 2014), and because it lacks precisely the sort of contextual information for which the present study argues. Here is the relevant passage quoted at some length; the broader context for this excerpt is a series of lesson plans which involved students building vocabulary and sentence skills in both Japanese and English, and doing so while working collaboratively in teams: Students were given questions for discussion in each section, and they talked about them in pairs... In addition, in Japanese they discussed in groups why Nobuyuki Tsujii described himself as one [sic] pianist who happens to be blind. (Tobinai, 2014, p. 41; emphasis added). The absence in Tobinai's vignette of any subsequent analysis of what these students understood Tsujii's "pianist-first" usage to mean, forecloses the possibility of establishing any sure connections to the findings of the present study. Yet, at the same time, this analytical silence highlights the importance of taking multiple perspectives into account when considering what "person-first" and "disability-first" language mean for an actual musician (Tsujii) interacting with an actual audience in a concrete instance of performance and reception (Tsujii's UBC recital). A table on p. 23 summarizing the categories used for that lesson plan adds little in the 47 way of contextual information. The table itself has four categories: Content, Cognition, Communication, and Community. The first three categories are accompanied by a series of broad thematic codes purportedly relating to Tsujii's career, including talent, effort and life (p. 23). Tobinai (2014) does not explain why Tsujii figured in their class discussion other than in reference to the textbook used for the course.5 Reading through Tobinai’s brief references to Tsujii, the following questions come to mind, although, to be sure, they fall outside the stated purview of Tobinai's own research: Had the students attended a recital by Tsujii, or had they heard about his shared gold medal at the 2009 Cliburn competition, both of which are plausible circumstances given Tsujii's celebrity in Japan (Oda, 2009; Yoshihara, 2009)? Also, what, if any, conclusions did these particular students reach as to why Tsujii foregrounds his identity as a pianist, positioning his blindness as incidental or irrelevant to his music-making? Such issues of context are not mere details, but are, instead, vital parts of my own analysis, a methodological principle for which I shall argue in Chapter 3, and which I attempt to realize in the analyses presented in Chapters 4 and 5. The task in those chapters will be to pull away the curtain of obviousness, the shroud of common sense covering blindness, which hides the different meanings that Tsujii's performances as a pianist who happens to be blind, and the reception practices of his audiences in relation to the vocabulary of pianist and blind pianist acquire in different types of performance settings. The contexts which must be taken into account in this regard are those of the schools, universities, and concert halls in which Tsujii performs during a given concert season (a topic which I broached during my interviews with Tsujii). Tsujii's first 5 The textbook in question is published by Crown Sanseido (p.18). Sanseido Publishing Co. is “a large Japanese publisher that publishes the New Crown English Series textbooks” (Fouser, 2007, p. 199). 48 appearance alongside sighted pianists in the international competitive arena (the 2005 Frederic Chopin competition in Warsaw), presents us with still another interpretive context that shapes the reception of disability in musical performance, that of the international competitive arena. For reasons of scope, I cannot pursue this dimension at length, but some general observations about what analysis of this context entails will nevertheless be useful. The participation of blind pianists in international competitions since 1932 (a history which I sketched in Chapter 1) opens up new perspectives on questions about what it means to be a pianist, a blind pianist, and a pianist who happens also to be blind. Sustained exploration of these questions would need to grapple not only with the shifting meanings of blindness over time (history) and across space (geography), but also with how blind pianists navigate the institutional norms of the competitive arena, a very different environment from that of the concert circuit (Cline, 1985; Horowitz, 1990; McCormick, 2008; Schonberg, 1987; Taruskin, 2009). Such work awaits future studies. Meanwhile, much work awaits the present study. The Education scholarship which informs this dissertation can be sub-divided into two main areas. The first space is populated by theoretical work that considers pedagogy as a practice central not only to formal education in schools and universities, but also to a great many cultural, political, and social spaces in which knowledge is continually made and remade. Going further, this scholarship questions the very hierarchies which validate certain forms of knowledge to the exclusion of others (Luke, 1996; Sandlin, Schulz, & Burdick, 2010; Sandlin, O'Malley, & Burdick, 2011). I will focus on a problematic vagueness concerning music in this literature, as a result of which different forms of musical experience, composing, performing, listening, and analyzing are not clearly distinguished from each other. Rather than clear analysis of how these different forms of experiencing music (as composer, performer, audience member, and scholar) 49 can and cannot be educative, there are broad references to "music," as well as to an assemblage of different musical traditions and musicians, each with very different guiding assumptions, and histories (Abraham, 2007; Gershon, 2010). Without adequate attention to the diverse histories of these traditions and to their complex roles within and outside of formal educational practices, it is impossible to understand the interplay between history, culture, and sociality, as these pertain to musical experiences, and their educative possibilities and limits (Gershon, 2010; see also, Sandlin, Burdick, & Schulz, 2011; Anderson, 2006; Guillory 2005). Discussions of the role of musicians as public intellectuals in the domain of music studies, on the other hand, are less attentive to the education-theoretical issues of particular relevance to scholarship on public intellectualism in Education (Fulcher, 1999 & 2005). Foremost among the latter is the conceptual distinction between performing music in public (i.e., for an audience), and actually constituting a public through musical performance (a distinction which will be pursued in Chapter 3). Absent this differentiation, for example, Jane Fulcher (2005) treats education through music as synonymous with a "national public pedagogy" constituted through a mixture of musical performances and lectures (p. 95). Not only does this synonymy fail to take note of the different meanings attached to pedagogy and education within education scholarship, but also, like Gershon's (2010) essay, creates the impression that linguistic mediation of musical experience (as in lectures) and a more immediate musical experience (as in performances) do not raise fundamentally different and possibly contradictory questions about their educative dimensions. A shared problem in these diverse approaches to music and public intellectualism is the lack of acknowledgement that a 50 given musical experience, for example, a live performance, can in some cases leave its participants without any clear sense of personal or collective transformation (Goble, 2010).6 The second region, more strongly philosophical in its orientation, considers pedagogy as a dynamic and continuous relationship formed in the gap between teacher and student rather than as the end product of two discrete activities, namely teaching and learning. What is more, this pedagogical relationship is sustained by an ethic of reciprocity, rather than by the uni-directional transmission of knowledge from teacher to student (Biesta, 2004; Noddings, 2004). My dissertation's philosophical framework, set forth in Chapter 3, draws on both theories of public intellectualism in Education, and on philosophical accounts of relational pedagogy in order to explore the extent to which Tsujii's recital constituted a public, rather than merely took place in public (Feinberg, 1993/1998). Within the wider domain of Education scholarship, Ian Davies, (2002) discusses musical practices in sufficiently broad terms to allow the large claims that he makes on behalf of music to be taken up, and questioned. Davies (2002) makes a passing reference to the "educational function" of music" but the brevity of his invocation of music's "educational function" causes problems. His definition of the educational in music is rendered in such broad terms as to make it impossible to differentiate between a merely entertaining or pleasurable experience, and an experience in which some sort of teaching and learning, distinctly separate from mere emotional 6 J. Scott Goble’s (2010) book What’s so important about music education? draws on the classical pragmatism of Charles Saunders Peirce (on which more in Chapter 3) to develop a persuasive account of the meaning of particular forms of musical practice within circumscribed musical contexts, going beyond asserting that musical experience can be educative in some sense, that music can facilitate individual and collective transformation. Instead, Goble demonstrates the ways in which such transformation does happen, and the sorts of conditions in which education through music takes place. By defining what counts as change, growth, and awareness brought about by participation in music, Goble’s approach leaves room to think about the dissolution of music’s educative capacities when such conditions do not obtain. In this regard, Goble’s analysis offers a stark contrast to that provided by Gershon (a difference heightened no doubt by the difference in medium: monograph versus book chapter). 51 response or amusement are involved. This dissertation aims to avoid the sort of conflation of affect and cognition in musical experience which mars the following excerpt: Musicians and musicologists need to undertake work that has a clear conceptual base and which relies on cognitive mastery. However, there is also an educational function in simply listening to music... [or] playing in a way that is inspiring or simply fun. (Davies, 2002, p. 21; emphasis added) Without providing an analysis of what they take music's "educational function" to be, these commentators simply call upon teachers working in the schools to include music in the curriculum, but without doing so only in the pursuit of "cognitive aims." Presumably, by "cognitive aims" they mean learning in the more familiar sense of understanding concepts, and acquiring discipline-specific knowledge and competencies, but this is left unspecified and unqualified (p. 22). In marked contrast, Walter Gershon (2010) tackles—head first, as it were—the distinction between entertainment and education, and criticizes the frequent relegation of this non-verbal communicative medium to the former domain. Gershon's approach is more helpful than that of the scholars cited above for theorizing educative possibilities in musical experience (of which performance and reception are components). As I explain more fully in Chapter 3 however, Gershon's analysis does not account for the educative limitations of music, that is, those values, ideals, and beliefs which musical experience cannot teach, which cannot be reimagined through music, or those instances in which musicians and audiences are merely amused or emotionally moved, rather than transformed by, hence educated through music. Reaching for guidance from outside education scholarship, I turn to the musicologist Richard Taruskin (1995), who makes a distinction (the reader will doubtless recognize his allusion to the 52 Horatian imperative for poetry) between the aims of musical scholarship (to instruct) and musical performance (to delight). These threads of experience (instruction and delight) can interlace in various ways, but a reckoning with what makes them distinct is imperative, if those moments in which they converge are to be properly understood. In Taruskin's pithy formulation: "Instruction can be delightful. Delight can be instructive. But instruction can require actions that are not always conducive to delight, and delight can 'merely' divert" (p. 30). Applying Taruskin's observation to the present argument, Tsujii's UBC recital, and his performances on the world's stages embody the capacity to delight, but in order for that capacity for delight to be properly understood as instructive, analysis would need to show how a given performance brings about, or fails to bring about, changes in understanding, and transformations in musical experience, for both pianist, and audience. Preparing for this formidable analytical challenge requires that we gain some sense of the contested place of music within education, the background to recent work on music within the terrain of public intellectualism scholarship. It will be helpful to reach back, once again, into history, beginning this time much farther back, in antiquity. Plato regarded certain musical patterns (sequences of notes called modes) and certain musical instruments as antithetical to the formation of the society that he envisioned (Anderson & Mathiesen, n.d. attitude to musical instruments, para. 1). Exploring the educative possibilities and limitations of performances by musicians with disabilities unfolds against this historical understanding, not only because of the questions the philosophers of ancient Greece raised about the place of music in society, but also because of the ways in which the human body was idealized in their philosophies. Plato's ideas about what is educationally valuable about music, namely a pedagogy of music designed to inculcate morality, virtue, and instill an appreciation for normative standards of aesthetic beauty were shaped by his linkage of moral traits to the body. 53 Disability Studies scholars have been quick to seize upon this linkage between morality and corporeality as a central focus in their critiques of Western philosophy. Historical and philosophical approaches within Disability Studies have implicated Platonic and Aristotelian thought, specifically their shared emphasis on rational inquiry, in the relegation of intellectual disability, in particular, to the status of sub-human existence (Parmenter, 2001, pp. 269–270; see also, Carlson, 2010; Gracer, 2007; Overboe, 1999; Pfeiffer, 2002). Music was understood by Plato to exert a strong influence over the body, in particular over how the body may embody virtue and reason. Certain musical instruments, genres of music, and certain features of musical experience, particularly those which involve feelings of pleasure and sensuous absorption were to be shunned because of their capacity to lead musicians and audiences in the direction of sentimentality, emotionalism, moral weakness, and intellectual laziness (Stamou, 2002, pp. 5–6). Aristotle's views on music, like those of Plato, continue to shape contemporary debates about how to place music within a general education (Stamou, 2002, pp.8–9). The influence of Aristotle's treatment of musical performance, and of music competitions, in particular, is discernible in educational theories of music as a site of public intellectualism, and in the still contested position of music relative to the spheres of entertainment and education (Gershon, 2010; Nettl, 2005). In order to understand the larger philosophical issues at stake in this recent scholarship, let us consider what Aristotle had to say about both musical performance and competition. In the eighth book of his Politics Aristotle writes: We reject professional education in instruments, then, (and by professional education I mean the kind that aims at competition). For the performer does not take part in this kind of education for the sake of his own virtue but to give his audience pleasure, and a boorish pleasure at that. (VIII: 6 1341b8–12) 54 More generally, however, Aristotle believed, albeit warily, that musical experience exerts a formative influence on a person at the deepest level: "music possesses the power of producing an effect on the character of the soul" (VIII: 5 1340B 10–12). Platonic and Aristotelian thought inform the institutional practices and educational work of the Van Cliburn Competition in sometimes contradictory ways, as Chapter 4 will show in greater detail. Although musicians associated with the competition have frequently invoked these philosophers' views on music (Conlon, n.d.; Cliburn, in Rosen, 1993), paradoxes emerge in the use of Platonic and Aristotelian philosophies of music to support the intellectual aims of an international music competition. Exemplifying these tensions, in particular, are an interview with the competition's namesake Van Cliburn, for Peter Rosen's documentary film about the 1993 competition, as well as a series of short televised features entitled Encore! with James Conlon in which conductor James Conlon invokes Plato and Aristotle in support of performance pedagogy, and, more specifically, for his analysis of the technical and interpretive aspects of musical performance (videos of these short episodes are available on the Internet through the Van Cliburn Foundation's YouTube channel). In Episode 2, for example, James Conlon tells the audience that Plato conceived of form as an ideal abstraction, and that, for Plato, all sensible objects in the material world, being attempts to copy this ideal form, are inferior. This feature of Platonic thought is then put to work in exploring the ways in which composers, performers, and audiences idealize music, and compare actual instances of music making (musical works, performances, and reception), to an idealized musical experience. As a consequence of this absorption of Platonic thought, performances are ascribed a lesser status to compositions, regarded as impermanent and inferior copies of a transcendent mental conception of the music itself. Composition, although privileged 55 relative to performance, is itself an inferior copy of the ineffable realm of a composer's inspiration (see also, Taruskin, 1995). The video also refers to Aristotle's concern with rational investigation in philosophical inquiry and, once again Conlon uses Aristotle's discussion of philosophy and reason to explain the intellectual work that takes place when composers, performers, and (idealized) audiences participate in their respective forms of musical experience. In these videos we have a public intellectual practice in which musicians explain to the audience what they do when they think about and make music, invoking the central figures in Western philosophy to situate their musical activity on a larger intellectual topography. Footage of Conlon rehearsing with several competitors preparing for that year's competition illustrates how these philosophical ideas are put into (musical) practice. The influence of Platonic, Aristotelian, and subsequently, Cartesian philosophy and more generally, the privileged status of the mind over the body in various philosophical traditions is tangible in the scholarly study of Western art music. As a result of mental contemplation of music being accorded higher value than physical engagement with music, a constellation of educational practices separate abstract contemplation of music's formal properties deemed by scholars to be instructive, from the embodied, situated engagement with music that audiences (and a great many performers) find delightful. As Susan McClary (1990) explains, our music theories and notational systems do everything possible to mask those dimensions of music that are related to physical human experience and focus instead on the orderly, the rational, the cerebral. The fact that the majority of listeners engage with music for more immediate purposes is frowned upon by our institutions. (p. 14; see also, Shepherd, 1991; Taruskin, 1995) 56 Disability Studies in Music chips away at the mind-body dichotomy, and to seek a more inclusive pedagogical system that takes different modes of embodiment into account (Lerner & Straus, 2006; Straus, 2006, 2008, & 2011), an intervention which I discuss in the fourth part of this chapter. For the moment, however, it is necessary to emphasize that disembodied ways of contemplating musical experience have long held sway over music scholarship: There is a clear tendency in [...] Western culture to regard art music as a kind of mental, 'abstract' type of human creative activity. Even in the field of musical performance, which apparently is intrinsically related to one's technical, or physical, abilities, the values most often referred to are spirituality, creativity, or intellectuality. In the mind-body relation, the latter is generally thought of as a mere adjunct to the 'higher' realm of the former. (Navickaité-Martinelli, 2008, p. 412; emphasis added) Ethnomusicologist Christopher Small (1999) advances a similar critique, and traces the primacy of musical objects—principally notated musical compositions that are held to be the most permanent, and therefore the most epistemologically reliable for scholarly analysis—to the philosophers of antiquity. Small argues that the origins of the high status accorded to musical composition in Western art music scholarship are to be found in the Aristotelian notion of "poesis, the creation of forms" (Dahlhaus, 1982; as quoted in Small, 1999, p. 11). Although the fraught relationship that contemporary music scholarship has to philosophical perspectives on music throughout history is not germane to the present study, attending to the central issues at stake in this relationship serves to demonstrate the sorts of complexity involved in arguing in favor of music as a forum for engaged public intellectualism. Like the philosophers and musicologists who populate Small's (1999) critique, Gershon's work on music as public 57 intellectualism, and musicians as public intellectuals, while not preoccupied with notated music, nonetheless operates with only brief acknowledgements of "the real world where people actually perform and listen to music" (Small, 1999, p. 11). A unifying thread in recent theoretical work on musicians as public intellectuals, and on another strand of educational research, namely critical pedagogy, is that the relationship between self and other is constructed in significant ways in and through cultural practices outside the walls of formal education (Fulcher, 1999 & 2005; Gershon, 2010; Giroux, 2004 & 2010; Luke, 1996; McLaren & Kincheloe, 2007; Sandlin, Burdick, & Schulz, 2010 Shepherd, 1991a). However, the frequent discussion of culture in the broadest terms in this literature perpetuates an untenable binary between "popular" and "high" culture (with Western art music invariably relegated to the latter; see Abraham, 2007; Gershon, 2010; Symes, 2006). The binary leads to popular idioms being associated with educative possibilities, and high culture shunted aside as antithetical to the cause of remaking dominant values. For reasons I elaborate in Chapter 4, Tsujii's reception at UBC and around the world highlights the pitfalls of construing the relationship between mainstream and popular cultural idioms as a series of straightforward oppositions. Obstacles to this dualistic way of framing culture lie along the edges of lived experience, and it is to these we now turn. In "Reconsidering the Notions of Voice and Experience in Critical Pedagogy" Anneliese Kramer-Dahl (1996) explains that the assumption that "experience" is a "transparent window on reality" creates a host of problems, foremost among which is disregard of the limits imposed on what counts as experience in given historical, social, cultural, and geographical contexts. Kramer-Dahl's observation that well-intentioned concerns with "minority experience" (the present study is concerned with lived experiences of disability) can delegitimize the experiences 58 of those (for present purposes, non-disabled people) perceived as belonging to "the dominant groups" (pp. 252–254). Tsujii's separation of his blindness from his pianistic self is, at first glance, at odds with the sociopolitical assertions of disability as a "minority experience" within Disability Studies (Lubet, 2004 & 2010; Oliver, 1990; Oliver & Barnes, 2012). These assertions, in turn, have led to widespread rejection of "person-first" language by disability activists (Michalko, 2002; Oliver, 1990; Oliver & Barnes, 2012; Titchkosky, 2008, 2011, & 2012). However, to veer too sharply in this direction, guided by a laudable impulse to respect "minority experience" is to risk silencing the perspectives not only of Tsujii’s audiences who claim to support him in this gesture (McAlister, n.d.; Nicholas, 2012), but also of Tsujii himself. Sustaining a simplistic and inaccurate binary between minority and dominant culture, between disability culture's disability-artists and Western art music's musicians with disabilities, would fail in the critical task of understanding the layers beneath the seemingly common sense distinctions that separate blind from sighted pianists, within the person-first/disability-first representational system. Furthermore, this binary account of culture would substitute bland generalization for a fine-grained understanding of context-specific struggles over meaning: in this case, the question of what it means for Tsujii and his audiences to encounter each other in performance, and to negotiate the meanings attached to blind and sighted pianism in potentially and actually educative ways. Carmen Luke's (1996) critique of the "normalisation of experience" in popular and mass culture (p. 171) is directed at the stultifying effects of advertising and therefore bears little obvious contextual similarity to the performance and reception of Western art music. However, Tsujii has an international profile as a pianist and, furthermore, the Cliburn competition which helped to establish his international presence has tremendous marketing power (Horowitz, 1990; 59 Rosen, 2009). It would therefore be misleading to claim that Luke's critique of the "normalisation of experience" through the impact of mass marketing on cultural practices cannot be deployed in the present context. The normalization of musical experience, as I explain further in the third part of this chapter, is central to Western art music pedagogy, including in the training of performers (Lubet, 2010; Straus, 2011). There is, to be sure, no standardization of the kind described by Luke (1996) in her critique of globalization (p. 171), since Western art music's normalization of experience is fundamentally a product of the bodily movements and sensory abilities necessary to see, hear, and perform music according to the documented practices of different historical periods within this tradition (MacLennan, 2015). Chapter 3's discussion of Tsujii's UBC recital as a possible instance of non-verbal public intellectualism through musical performance can nonetheless be refined by considering how musical performance has been commodified in fulfillment of the international piano competition's central aim: to find and support pianists capable of sustaining the rigors of an international career (Alink, 1990; Horowitz, 1990; Schonberg, 1987). In this regard, it is helpful to note that the mass production of competitive musical performance has been an object of ever growing complaints that successive generations of pianists tend to sound far too similar to each other (Eatock, 2006; Horowitz, 1990; Schonberg, 1987; Taruskin, 2009). On a deeper level, however, the expectation that musical experience unfolds before our eyes and reaches our ears in broadly similar ways reveals some of the assumptions about ability and disability saturating the dominant culture, and trickling into the spaces in which music is made, played, and felt (Straus, 2006 & 2011). As the third part of this chapter details, what is important to consider is how assertions of self, representations of the other, and struggles over the position of the able/disabled body must all be taken into account in questioning the 60 normalization of musical performance and reception, as a result of which the distinction between pianist and blind pianist seems to be nothing more than common sense. Let us therefore explore more closely how the self, the other, and the body, have been approached in recent education scholarship. The relationship between self and other and the meaning of selfhood have also emerged as important themes in recent scholarship on relational pedagogy, and on public intellectualism, the two strands relevant to this dissertation (Biesta, 2004; Bonnett, 2009; Gershon, 2010; Luke, 1996; Sandlin et al, 2010). This demands, among other things, that we undertake an "exploration into the experience of the learning self” (Ellsworth, 2005, p. 12). Scholars in the field of critical pedagogy have also entered the debate about the educative role of music in society, often with a focus on music in formal school programs (McLaren & Kincheloe, 2007). However, as with Gershon's (2010) essay, there is overt disdain for Western art music. Colin Symes’ (2006) observation that this cultural tradition has been largely ignored in mid-twentieth century social theory, because of its supposedly self-evident elitism (p. 310) remains true of more recent scholarship. Consider, for example, the point of view expressed by Frank Abrahams (2007) who castigates music teachers for “the dismal state of music education in many schools.” For Abrahams, these educational programs embrace a “Eurocentric nineteenth century aesthetic [i.e., Western art music] that is hardly relevant or interesting” to students (as cited in McLaren & Kincheloe, 2007, p. 224; see also, Regelski, 2004). Abraham sands the edges off this claim, acknowledging that in situations where a Western canonical tradition forms the basis of school music-education programs, this “diet” might be of greater or lesser relevance to students depending on the background experiences they bring into the classroom (p. 224). However, 61 Abrahams' representation of Western music education programs trying to revive a nineteenth century aesthetic is inaccurate. Abraham would be on firmer terrain if he linked music education curricula to the eighteenth century (Goehr, 1994; Kingsbury, 1988; Lubet, 2010; Rosen 1970/1998). His reference to “Eurocentrism” further distorts the history of Western art music and makes a generalization based on thin evidence, to bolster his diagnosis of what is wrong with school music programs. The relationship between Western art music and other musical traditions of the world is much more complicated than either Abrahams or, for that matter, Gershon (2010) would have us believe. Furthermore, the role of Western art music in society throughout history is equally complex (Barenboim & Said, 2002; Said, 1991 & 1994). The absence of any engagement by these scholars with the critical traditions in music studies sometimes identified by the rubric "New Musicology," a corpus of literature which scrutinizes Western art music's sometimes ambiguous, sometimes overt, but always complex links with colonialism, nationalism, sexism and ableism only weakens the case against Western art music made within critical pedagogy scholarship (McClary, 2002; Kerman, 1985; Kramer, 2003; Solie, 1993; Taruskin, 1995). I return to this matter, albeit briefly, in the next and final part of this chapter, in discussing the relevant literature from Disability Studies in Music. This burgeoning subfield has critically engaged with, and can indeed be considered part of, the "new" musicological approaches, thereby offering a useful counterpoint to discussions of Western art music in education scholarship. 62 2.4 Person-First or Disability-First? Representational Schemes and the Education of the Sensorium The epigraph for this chapter marks a complex thematic connection not only to this chapter but to the dissertation as a whole. Lorde's (1984) critique of the entitlement that leads privileged groups to expect that gendered and racialized humans will educate them, does not specifically mention disability. However, both her work as a public intellectual and her own lived experience of breast cancer, including her refusal to wear a prosthesis after undergoing a mastectomy, attest to her concern with bodily difference in all its forms, and with the sociocultural, sociopolitical, and historical meanings attached to corporeality (Threatt Kulii, 2001 pp. 260–261). We may therefore readily extend Lorde's (1984) insight to the analysis of disability, a mode of being which, like gender, and race, is a "culturally fabricated narrative of the body" (Garland Thomson, 2004, pp. 77). More recently, the emergence of Disability Studies (Davis, 1997; Linton, 1998; Mitchell & Snyder, 2000), has led scholars to work within and across the disciplines in excavating human experiences buried underneath the imposing monuments of history, culture, politics, and education. Musical performance and reception extend into all four domains (Leppert & McClary, 1989), and this final section discusses how Disability Studies has critically examined scholarly and pedagogical practices within Western art music that have failed to make room for bodily difference. Along the way, we shall also consider the contributions offered by scholars in the subfields of Disability Studies in Education, Disability Studies in Music, and Disability and Performance Studies. Taking our cue from Lorde (1984), then, we may observe that people with disabilities are often assigned the role of teachers as to our humanity. A fundamental question arises in this regard: why is it necessary to teach that disability does not diminish humanity? Bodily 63 differences are given meaning in historically and culturally contingent ways through "the cultural education of the sensorium," a theoretical construct which, as I explained in Chapter 1, refers to the emergence of disability as observable, audible, and tangible within contexts that privilege and exalt the able body (Titchkosky, 2011, pp. 82–83). Tsujii's performances and their reception are structured by the sensorial hierarchies of the musical tradition that the pianist espouses. In other words, the distinction between blind pianist and pianist who happens also to be blind is not his alone to make. Rather, we must understand how his modes of self-representation on one side of this distinction are negotiated amid the tensions between "person-first" and "disability-first" language, regardless of whether or not these dichotomous systems of representation are directly acknowledged by the pianist and his audience in a given performance setting. In the absence of such acknowledgement, the task of analysis is to draw into the foreground those conventions and habitual modes of thinking which take selfhood for granted as selfhood without disability, and, consequently, imagine selfhood with disability as a qualified and limited way of being in the world (Michalko, 2002; Overboe, 1999; Titchkosky, 2012). The multitude of bodily differences swept together under the rubric of disability is taken to signify a series of individual failures: "imperfection, failure to control the body, and everyone's vulnerability to weakness, pain, and death" (Wendell, 1996, p. 60). As an expression of the values of this larger representational system, the pedagogy of musical performance teaches musicians to exercise tremendous control over their bodies in the pursuit of technical and artistic excellence. The result of this pedagogy has been that disability cannot be taken into account as an integral and inseparable dimension of musical experience. Implicit in Tsujii's identity claim and its reproduction by audiences (Chapter 1 discussed a blog post as an illustrative example in this regard) is an etiquette which calls upon performer 64 and audience to imagine disability, as nearly as possible, to be an invisible, inaudible, and intangible object that just happens to be somewhere, somehow, in those familiar places where people make and receive music and each other—the practice room, the teaching studio, the competition arena, and the concert hall. Disability Studies analyses makes it possible to re-imagine this normative pedagogy, so that disability can be "sensed" as a way of being in the world that enables people to experience and therefore give meaning to music in distinct ways (Straus, 2011, p. 157). Recalling our guiding definition of education as a space for both the reproduction and critique of dominant practices (Sandlin, 2010, p. 1), the juxtaposition of Tsujii's performances with the normalizing pedagogy of Western art music (Lubet, 2004 & 2010; Straus, 2011), throws into sharp relief dimly sensible possibilities in the relational practices of music performance and reception. Wendell (1996) points to the asymmetry between the privileged normative self occupied by the able-bodied and the marginalized position of non-normative other occupied by disabled bodies (p. 61). Thinking back to the epigraph of this chapter we may posit that musicians with disabilities face the expectation of teaching fellow musicians and audiences that they are, after all, musicians, a point argued in a 2009 article by Itsuko Tsujii (the pianist’s mother), who explains that he must validate his claim to be "not a blind pianist" through his performances and the approval they garner from sighted audiences (p. 53). In the absence of a history of disability tuned to the lived experiences of disabled people, such educative work presents considerable challenges: “Just as women and black people have discovered that they must write their own 65 histories, so too with disabled people. Only then will we have an adequate framework in which to locate our present discussions” (Oliver, 1990, pp. 12-13).7 Ongoing disagreements about whether to use "person-first" or "disability-first" language, the representational scheme which circumscribes Tsujii's identity claims, are shaped by the slowly unfolding history of disability within the human rights struggles of the latter half of the twentieth century (Swain, French, & Cameron, 2003; Gabel & Connor, 2013). The complexities of this history inform more recent scholarship on the simultaneous presence and absence of bodily difference as a legible domain of experience. Disability signifies what Titchkosky (2011) calls "imagined" objects (p. 54). For Titchkosky, disability is not simply out in the world, waiting to be seen, heard, or felt but is, instead, "made present as an interpretive act" (p. 54). It is therefore necessary to understand the specific contexts and circumstances in which disability becomes tangible through interpretation. A Disability Studies approach teaches us that, contrary to his declared wishes, Tsujii is not "simply a pianist" and, contrary to many of his audiences' perception, not (simply) a "blind pianist." Titchkosky's (2011) assertion that disability "resides between people" (p. 54) is a reminder that disability is not an individual problem, but, instead, a relational, intersubjective experience. Activism and scholarship—never far apart in Disability Studies—must proceed accordingly. Instances of "person-first language" in Tsujii's statements to the media and in my interviews with him (discussed in Chapter 4), are, ultimately, not to be romanticized as 7 In The New Politics of Disablement Colin Barnes and Michael Oliver (2012) explain that the updated edition retains the original usage of "disabled people" rather than "people with disabilities" for the reasons explained in the original version, and from which I have quoted (pp. 5–6 ). I have referenced the original version, since it is here that a detailed explanation is offered for this terminological distinction. A later section of this chapter returns to this discussion of linguistic representations of disability. 66 individual acts of resistance, but rather as part of a complex social, cultural, and aesthetic fabric (Garland-Thomson, 2002, p. 22). David Hevey (1991) and Tom Shakespeare (1994) have both analyzed the disavowal that the claiming of a normative identity requires. The formation of the self in relation to the other is thrown off course by bodily difference in the form of disabilities of various kinds, and Shakespeare (1994) characterizes normalizing strategies as those which involve "denial" and "denigration" of bodily difference (pp. 297–298). In a similar vein, Hevey (1991) uses a vivid metaphor to describe what often occurs when disabled and non-disabled people encounter each other. Disabled people are made to function as a "dustbin for...disavowal" (Hevey, as quoted in Shakespeare, 1994 p. 298), which is to say, as a repository for the anxieties that an able-bodied society has towards bodily difference.8 The tectonic shift away from person-first language in Disability Studies expresses a pervasive sentiment that the grammar and rhetorical strategies associated with person-first avowals participate in the normalization of bodies: "person-first language erases alternatives, such as seeing disability as a relation between person and environment, as an identity category, as constituted by assumptions about normalcy...." (Dryden, 2013, The Concept, the idea, and truth, para. 8).9 8 Shakespeare (1994) incorrectly cites Hevey. The passage in full reads as follows: “All art is about emotional catharsis, but what emotion is being catharted? What is happening is that non-disabled people are getting rid of their fear about their mortality, their fear about the loss of labour power and other elements in narcissism. The point I am making is that disabled people are the dustbin for that disavowal." There is no pagination for this source (there is no page 34 as Shakespeare's citation misleadingly suggests). This passage is actually from the transcript of a question and answer session following Hevey's talk: http://disability-studies.leeds.ac.uk/files/library/Lees-arts-and-culture.pdf 9 The larger context of Dryden's analysis of person-first language is a discussion of Hegelian philosophy informed by Disability Studies perspectives. 67 As these examples indicate, Disability Studies scholarship is replete with arguments against a conception of self that positions disability as an individual problem (Michalko, 2002; Overboe, 1999; Titchkosky, 2011 & 2012): "Locating disability ‘with a person’ reifies its embodiment and flies in the very face of the social model that person-first language is purported to espouse” (DePoy & Gilson, 2010, p. 39; emphasis added). However, public statements by musicians with disabilities active in the performance of Western art music often appear to insist upon precisely the kind of separation between their disabilities and their performing selves which Disability Studies approaches counteract (Glennie, n.d.; Quasthoff, 2008; [Itsuko] Tsujii, 2009). In the present study, it is therefore necessary to analyze the particular tensions between how performers in Western art music make sense of their disabilities in relation to their music-making, on the one hand, and, on the other, how disability and selfhood have been construed by artists, musicians, poets, and so forth, who have claimed disability identity as central to artistic practice (Sutherland, 1989). The distinction between "artist with a disability" and "disability artist" identified earlier as central to disability culture, is rendered in stark terms when mapped onto the binary between dominant and counter-cultural practices which I discussed earlier in education scholarship, and which Disability Studies perpetuates (Barnes & Mercer, 2003; Sutherland, 1989). This separation is accorded greater emphasis within disability culture than in the more theoretical realms of Disability Studies proper, and the various existing scholarly disciplines in which Disability Studies has been taken up (specifically, Education and Music). Tsujii's own way of positioning himself within Western art music is close to, but not identical with, the formulation "artist with a disability" posited within disability arts (Barnes & Mercer, 2003; Oliver, 1990; Oliver & Barnes, 2012). I qualify the assertion thus because when we consider Tsujii's participation in Western art 68 music (provisionally accepted as a mainstream tradition) alongside the seemingly distant political interventions of disability culture, we gain some measure of clarity as to what is at stake in the struggle over where to place disability in relation to the performer's onstage persona. At a time when disability arts was still regarded as marginally relevant to political intervention, Allan Sutherland (1989) advocated for disability-arts and disability-first language in vigorous fashion, arguing that the experience of disability binds together art and politics, and that the latter are central to the educative possibilities of disability culture: I don’t think that disability arts would have been possible without disability politics coming first. It’s what makes a disability artist different from an artist with a disability. We don’t see our disabilities as obstacles that we have to overcome before we try to make our way in the non-disabled cultural world. Our politics teach us that we are oppressed, not inferior. And as we wouldn’t be us without our disabilities, we have the right to celebrate being disabled. (p. 2; emphasis added) Within this landscape of disability culture and politics, in which theoretical perspectives have deep roots in the history of rights-based movements, "person-first language" is held to ignore the mystery that disability ushers into the expanses of human experience: “A sense of humanity abstractly and arbitrarily dividing certainty from ambiguity makes disability as dangerous as is the illusion of a normal human being, and such images seem to naturalize this artificial division between certainty and ambiguity" (Titchkosky, 2011, p. 58). In order to situate the analysis presented in Chapters 4 and 5 in a way that properly acknowledges these complexities, I would like briefly to discuss three problems with the critiques of person-first language advanced by Disability Studies scholars and disability culture activists. First, the gesture of replacing "person-first" with "disability-first" language does not 69 necessarily constitute an acknowledgement of "the ambiguity that intersects disability and person, human and body" (Titchkosky, 2012, p. 84). One might argue that "disability-first language" simply carries with it a different set of assumptions, namely that, in order to critique disabling structural and attitudinal practices in society, it is necessary to insist upon disability as fundamental to a distinct identity, an identity that itself relies on an unexamined dichotomy between political and apolitical intervention. On this view, a musician such as Nobuyuki Tsujii, who identifies first as a musician, and treats disability as marginal attenuates the political force of disability within a given cultural milieu. Framing the distinction in this way— as one that depends on the supposedly fundamental differences between participating in mainstream traditions as opposed to actively resisting the mainstream through counter-cultural practices—papers over the multiple contexts in which Tsujii's separation of disability and music registers as a declaration of his right to define himself on his own terms. Chapters 4 and 5 will pursue the question of whether his 2013 UBC recital constituted one such possible instance. Another problem is that the "person-first"/"disability-first" dichotomy itself depends on a further set of binaries that I have already discussed: between mainstream and marginal culture, and between elite and popular idioms. Advocates for disability culture criticize artists and musicians with disabilities for failing to acknowledge the richness of living with a disability. Yet these commentators do not argue convincingly that it is conceptually necessary to separate artists with disabilities from disability artists, often helping themselves to a grab-bag of seemingly random historical examples, ranging from John Milton to Ludwig van Beethoven to explain what disability-art is not (Sutherland, 1997, & 2005, pp. 79–84; see also Barnes, 2008). Systematic comparisons of relevant time periods and geographic spaces which give historical and cultural meaning to the purported distinction are missing from the work of these commentators. 70 The very notion of the educative elaborated in this chapter opens up a contested space, since, as we have seen, education both upholds and makes room for critical analysis of normative practices (Sandlin, 2010, p. 1). For this reason, Disability Studies scholars have occasionally misrepresented education’s complex relationship to the body, by overemphasizing the constrictive power of institutional norms, without giving due consideration to the moments of resistance that specific contexts make it possible both to imagine and to act upon. The following claim, for example, tells only part of the story when it comes to situated practices of teaching and learning in the formal education system: "Like all social institutions, education is committed to some notion of the 'normal' and expresses this commitment in its desire to 'normalize' students" (Michalko, 2008, p. 410; see also Sandahl & Auslander, 2005). This institutional desire for normalization is part of a much larger, and contradictory set of practices, as the broad range of scholarship on public intellectualism, and relational pedagogy (to take our main examples from the previous section of this chapter) makes clear. Chapter 4 shows that Tsujii's own ways of navigating both his general education and his training as a pianist have been guided by, even as they remain resistant to, the normative impulses of formal teaching and learning (Gabel & Danforth, 2006; Michalko, 2008; Sandahl & Auslander, 2005). As with Allan Sutherland's (1989) analysis of disability arts and culture discussed earlier, at a time and in a place where Disability Studies had not gained its present traction in academia, Michael Oliver (1990) advanced a vigorous critique of person-first language, venturing beyond disability culture and politics. In his essay, Oliver explains the larger implications for mainstream accounts of selfhood that an understanding of disability as lived experience carries: This liberal and humanist view [of selfhood] flies in the face of reality as it is experienced by disabled people themselves who argue that far from being an appendage, 71 disability is an essential part of the self. In this view it is nonsensical to talk about the person and the disability separately and consequently disabled people are demanding acceptance as they are, as disabled people. (pp. 15–16; emphasis added) Oliver exaggerates the strength of this position, however, while simultaneously undermining his larger point with a vague reference to "reality as it is experienced by disabled people themselves." The immediate and obvious questions are: which disabled people? And, in what contexts? To take the aspect of Oliver's example relevant to the present study, is it "nonsensical" to argue that Tsujii is also "demanding acceptance," but that he is doing so in a way that cannot be adequately understood within the "people-first" versus "disability-first" linguistic dichotomy? Titchkosky's (2011) account of the " cultural education of the sensorium" (p. 82) can be more richly understood by turning back, once again, to an earlier period in the history of disability, a time when “the absence of the disabled subject [was] evident in a review of standard curricula in history, in psychology, in women’s studies, in literature, in philosophy, anthropology” among other disciplines (Linton, 1998, p. 526). There is, in other words, yet another gap resulting from the relative absence of disability as a significant dimension of human experience. The emphasis which Disability Studies scholars place on the convergence of multiple embodied experiences in relation to cultural practices (Barnes & Mercer, 2003; Ingstad & Whyte, 1995; Sandahl & Auslander, 2005) thus offers a helpful location from which to address this silence in the scholarly literature, the work of Chapters 4 and 5.The primacy of ability and its role in refracting selfhood through the ability-disability dichotomy are the prerequisites for "successful inclusion" in a context that assumes, even 72 demands, the performance of ability, what Campbell (2009a) refers to as "compulsory ableness" (p. 25; emphasis in original). The demands of compulsory ableness are negotiated through a balancing act of sorts and, in this sense, Tsujii's controversial demonstration of compulsory ableness in the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition is never far away from his performances and reception on the international concert circuit. It is worth noting that this circumstance presents a fundamental contradiction. On the one hand, Tsujii realizes that he is perpetually and disconcertingly framed as the blind pianist. However, just as often, concert notices and reviews mark him with the distinction of being a gold medalist at a prestigious international piano competition, a context in which compulsory ableness is perhaps even more highly exalted than in the "extreme occasion" (Said, 1991) of public musical performance. I have noted that many internationally renowned performers with disabilities insist that their musicianship is not significantly shaped by their disabilities (Glennie, n.d.; Oda, 2009; Quasthoff, 2008; [Itsuko] Tsujii, 2009). I have drawn on the work of several Disability Studies scholars and disability culture activists to explain how these performers locate themselves in ways that run counter to the prevailing winds of disability scholarship and activism. However, scholarly support for the separation of disability and the self is nonetheless available. It is to discussion of this perspective that we now turn, with the aim of understanding the tensions in the scholarly domain between a selfhood that embraces and a selfhood that disavows disability. The philosopher Linda Purdy (1996) argues for precisely such a separation and, moreover, supports her argument by pointing to a lack of basic agreement among disability scholars and activists about the extent to which disability is essential for, or external to, the self. Purdy explains that, in her own life, the question has been settled, and that disability is not at the center of her own definition of selfhood. “My disability is not me," Purdy declares and, 73 consequently, "it should be possible mentally to separate my existences from the existence of my disability" (p. 68). Rejecting Purdy's mode of thinking, however, Campbell (2009a), whose notion of compulsory ableness I invoked earlier, insists that it is not possible to separate the self and the body in this fashion. Appealing to the "dynamics of identity formation," Campbell (2009a) explains that the lived experience of bodily impairment, as distinct from inequitable material circumstances which disable people with bodily impairments often face, "can and does effect the formation of self—in other words 'disability is me,' but that 'me' does not need to be imbued with a negative sense of self-ness " (p. 27; see also, Corker & French, 1999; Davis, 2002; Garland-Thomson, 1997). The emergence of a distinct "disability culture" and "disability arts" in the final decades of the twentieth century, then, reflects a political impulse which is itself a site of contestation among people with disabilities/disabled people. Through vigorous debates about bodily difference and the self, people with disabilities could align themselves with, set themselves up in opposition to, or search for other ways of presenting themselves in a "mainstream society" from which they were excluded. Disability arts was originally supposed to teach its audiences how to rethink disability anew and, in this regard, the educative impulses of disability culture are not far removed from the educative possibilities and limitations of Tsujii's recital: “Disability arts...stresses the role of the arts in developing cultural (and by inference political) identity... exposing the disabling imagery and processes of society" (Barnes, 2003, p. 8). Implicit in this way of defining disability arts is an understanding of bodily difference as performance, a theoretical space into which we now move. Introducing a collection of essays that bring together Disability and Performance Studies, Carrie Sandahl and Phillip Auslander (2005) explain that critical analysis of disability as a mode 74 of performance depends on a fundamental rethinking of the body, moving away from defining bodies in reference to stable attributes and symptoms (a process which organizes human experience along the ability/disability binary), to more dynamic analyses of what bodies do. Disability, conceived in "performative terms" must then be explored as "something one does rather than something one is" (p. 10; emphasis in original). The authors state that "because of their unique cultural and somatic experiences, disabled bodies relate to and define space differently than [sic] normative bodies" (p. 9; see also, Kuppers, 2001 & 2013). The disabled body, on this view, is a communicative medium perpetually in performance (Sandahl & Auslander, 2005). Ability is likewise an artifice, a performance, rather than simply an inherent, natural, and obviously desirable bodily trait. As Anita Silvers (1998) explains, in a different context: We usually suppose that, because listening, seeing, walking, intelligence, and other such performances are central to our daily lives, the sheer exercise of the faculties that support them must gratify us. Based on this assumption, a case is often made that sight, hearing, mobility, and complex cognition are good in themselves and, consequently, their loss constitutes a deprivation of intrinsically valuable experiences. (p. 89) However, just as there are disagreements in Disability Studies over the separation versus the inseparability of disability and the self, so too, in Western art music, there is conflict among performers as to whether or not disability and music-making are fundamentally separate parts of the self. The violinist Itzhak Perlman, in particular, has found himself in an ambiguous position. Initially, Perlman, like Tsujii, the percussionist Evelyn Glennie (n.d.), and the bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff tried to separate disability from a purely musical identity. However, as 75 Perlman himself explains, although the foregrounding of his disability by critics initially angered him when he was still establishing himself on the concert circuit, there came a point when he wanted to "identify...not only as a violinist but as one who has a disability" (as cited in Straus, 2011, p. 144; see also McLellan, 1981, D1). From a Disability Studies perspective, Perlman's changed perspective still maintains a "person-first" representational scheme that is antithetical to the socio-political analysis of disability. However, it bears emphasizing that, within the culture of Western art music, Perlman's more recent way of thinking about disability as a part of his musical self, offers a vigorous challenge to a pedagogical system which has typically favoured an all-or-nothing approach to the disabled body (Lubet, 2004 & 2010; Straus, 2011). At the same time, however, Perlman's shift in thinking calls into question, however indirectly, the conceptual power of the distinction between artist-with-a-disability and disability-artist favoured in disability culture and activism (Sutherland, 1997 & 2005). Tsujii's preference for stepping outside the frame imposed by the phrase "blind pianist" is discussed by his mother Itsuko, who explains that "the issue of how other people look at [her son]" remains a big question for the pianist and his family following his rise to international prominence after the 2009 Cliburn competition ([Itsuko]Tsujii, 2009). She writes that her son adamantly refuses the descriptor "blind," the wider implication being that the work of unmaking his representation as a "blind pianist" is, at least for the moment, incomplete, dependent upon a unidirectional transformation of understanding: "Nobuyuki needs to continue proving this to others" (p. 53, emphasis added). From her perspective, a perspective that informs educational practices of many different kinds, it is the disabled person who must seek validation and confirmation from non-disabled people, and who must work to be seen as not different. This in 76 itself, however, is a difference which relegates disabled people to the status of other and cements the position of disability within individual bodies, rather than as part of the great self of collective human experience and interaction (Straus, 2011, pp. 180–181). The relationship between disabled and non-disabled people in the passage excerpted above, and the normative understanding of disability in which it participates are problematic when considered in relation to critical analyses of what "people-first" language does to disability. As James Overboe (1999) has written, "disabled people who achieve 'people first status' are not achieving full normative status but are only legitimizing an able-bodied resemblance through their desire for normality" (p. 24). As an antidote, Overboe prescribes a way of understanding lived experience that acknowledges the richness of disabled sensibility and embodiment. Central to the efficacy of Overboe's antidote is a critique of using disability to qualify, rather than to claim, personhood, (pp. 24–25). While Overboe's advocacy for embracing a disabled embodiment is compelling, his reduction of person-first language to a weak and ultimately deceptive mode of inclusion does not make adequate room for the complex interactions which person-first language prefigures in actual encounters between able-bodied and disabled people, a theoretical and methodological shortcoming which I pursue in Chapter 3. Chapters 4 and 5 will show how when faced with the task of working through the different implications of being a pianist and a blind pianist, in concrete performance situations, rather than solely in the abstract, both Nobuyuki Tsujii and individual UBC audience members struggled with the question of how person-first and disability-first representational systems circumscribe interpretive possibilities for musical performance and reception. The interventions staged by Disability Studies scholars referenced in this section constitute the principal starting point for taking disability seriously as a way of being human in 77 the world. Empirical study of actual encounters between embodied selves, disabled and otherwise may, however, find it no easy matter to brush aside the pre-existing beliefs that people (disabled and otherwise) hold, and which are further reinforced by institutional, social, and cultural norms that compel demonstrations of able-bodiedness (Campbell, 2009a). The performance of ability is not easily dislodged as a necessary condition for participating in institutional, social, and cultural practices. In other words, the points of disagreement along the continuum of views on selfhood in relation to the body must serve as the starting point for inquiry, rather than as parenthetical inconveniences injurious to an untroubled commitment to one side or other in the debate. These points of disagreement emerge more fully in later chapters exploring how audience members at Tsujii's UBC recital struggled in various ways to make sense of disability and selfhood in reflecting on their experiences of his performance. More immediately, in Chapter 3, the congruities and tensions between the reimagination of disability and selfhood, and the translation of imagination into practice, guide the elaboration of this dissertation's philosophical framework, methodological design, and methods of analysis. The countervailing forces against which Tsujii struggles can be understood to reflect pervasive and frequently unquestioned way of making sense of disability in negative terms, as a condition that reverses normal human progress (Rogers & Swadener, 2001, p. 5). What dimensions of musical experience remain silent in or are silenced by the criticisms that Disability Studies scholars level at dominant cultural forms (Barnes & Mercer, 2003)? Disability Studies has, thus far, necessarily focused attention on how the embodied experiences of people with disabilities, their experiences of the quotidian and the aesthetically rarified have been silenced. As a result of these critical analyses, the marginal status of disability is being 78 reconsidered: “we have accumulated a significant body of knowledge, with a different standpoint (or standpoints) from those without disabilities ...that knowledge which has been ignored and repressed in non-disabled culture should be further developed and articulated" (Wendell, 1996, p. 73). The daunting question of how this still relatively unknown corpus of knowledge can be brought into conversation with the privileged knowledge of non-disabled experts on disability can receive no final answer in this dissertation. Yet, the path ahead for the present study curves along this border between the known and the unfamiliar. I conclude this chapter by revisiting the discussion in Chapter 1 of how Tsujii's statements to the media are often used to support dominant narratives of disability. The preceding discussion of the literature helps us to interpret these statements in new ways. One statement, in particular appears on Tsujii's official website, and is also included in his biographical summary in the program book for the 2009 Cliburn Competition: "There are no barriers in the field of music" (p. 108). From a Disability Studies perspective, it might be argued that the frequent reproduction of Tsujii's statement in advertisements for his performances reflects a process by which mainstream society and culture rationalizes a status quo that is anything but inclusive of disabled people (Lubet, 2004 & 2010). However, when Tsujii makes claims that appear to uphold familiar ideas of the universality and transcendence of music, as discussed in Chapter 1, is he merely participating in repressing the knowledge of people with disabilities, acquired through lived experiences of exclusion (Lubet, 2004; 2009; 2010)? This experiential knowledge might be characterized as involving the now familiar realization that music is not quite the transcendent force that it has been made out to be. Going further, is Tsujii's statement simply another rehearsal of the notion that life with a disability needs to be infused with optimism, that— to pick up and dust off the old cliché—the only disability is a bad attitude, 79 a bad attitude manifest in arguments that there are barriers in music? These larger questions crystallize in David Mitchell & Sharon Snyder’s (2000) critique of the blithe assumption that disability is interpretable, and relatedly, of "the undergirding authorization to interpret that disability invites" (p. 59; emphasis in original). In Chapter 3, I explain how the philosophical and methodological dimensions of the present study inhabit a complicated space in this regard. On the one hand, answering my central research questions obliges me to authorize myself as researcher, and to invite others (Tsujii and individual UBC audience members) to interpret Tsujii's blindness. On the other hand, however, it is our very authority to interpret disability (Mitchell & Snyder, 2000) that the interview participants and I came to question in several unanticipated ways, as Chapters 4 and 5 will show. 80 Chapter 3: Theoretical Framework and Methodology Music’s effects upon performers and listeners can be devastating, physically brutal, mysterious, erotic, moving, boring, pleasing, enervating, or uncomfortable, generally embarrassing, subjective...(Abbate, 2004, p. 514) All too easily squeezed out from our thinking lies a world of performance that encompasses professional musicians, amateurs, and listeners alike, and that combines the pleasures of social interaction, embodied practice, sensory gratification, and private fantasy. (Cook, 2013, p. 413) 3.1 Overview of Chapter This chapter is divided into four parts. First, I review the core research questions presented in Chapter 1. I show how these questions point to the need for a method of inquiry capable of discovering what Nobuyuki Tsujii's distinction between pianist who happens to be blind and blind pianist means both for the performer himself and for his audiences in the setting of an actual musical performance. Second, I set forth the philosophical framework which organizes the central research questions. I identify the pragmatism espoused by Charles Sanders Peirce as foundational to the methodological design of the study as a whole, and explain how Peirce's pragmatism guides interpretation of the experiences of performing and listening comprising visual, aural, kinesthetic, musical and linguistic signs. Signs, defined in Peirce's elaboration of pragmatism, are meaningful units interpreted by an abstract and theoretically infinite community of sign interpreters along a continuum of qualities of feeling, assertions of reality, and rule-governed systems of meaning. These signifying units encompass dimensions of musical experience of concern to my study, as well as a great many more besides (Cumming, 2000; Daniel, 1984; 81 Goble, 2005, 2009, &2010; Peirce, 1868, 1982, 1903/1997 & 1931; Turino, 1999 & 2014).10 Pragmatism locates meaning along a continuum of these experiential categories, providing a philosophical framework for drawing out the multiple meanings that pianist and blind pianist acquire in specific instances of musical performance and reception. Third, I lay out the methodological design of the reception study as a whole. I discuss the empirical materials, comprising two main sources, upon which I focus my analysis. The first set of sources is a series of in-depth interviews I conducted with pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii, and with a purposive sample of ten audience members who attended Tsujii's recital on March 10th, 2013, at the UBC School of Music. The second collection of sources includes magazine and newspaper articles and television documentaries, and provides a broader context for Tsujii's reception at UBC. These textual materials document the pianist's reception by music critics, journalists, filmmakers, fellow musicians, and the general public in the four-year period spanning Tsujii's shared gold medal at the Cliburn competition, his subsequent emergence on the international concert circuit, and his 2013 visit to UBC. As later chapters will show, the pianist/ blind pianist dichotomy has figured prominently in Tsujii's reception, intersecting at various points with larger debates about musical practices in formal educational contexts, as well as in culture and society more broadly. 10 Following accepted citation practice in Peirce scholarship, I refer where possible to the most comprehensive publication of Peirce's work: Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, in six volumes published between 1935 and 1958. Another widely used source is The Essential Peirce, both volumes of which were published in 1992 and 1998, and I use excerpts from these volumes as well. Finally, I employ the accepted abbreviation system: Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce is shortened to CP, followed by volume and paragraph number (these last two are separated by a dot). Citations of Essential Peirce use the abbreviation EP, followed by volume and page number (these last two also separated by a dot (see also, Jappy, 2013, pp. xv–xvi; Cumming, 2000; Goble, 2010; Malachowski, 2013; Sullivan & Solove, 2013, p. 348). 82 Fourth, and finally, I discuss the methods which I used to analyze the interviews and the media texts enumerated above. I explain how my approach to semiotic analysis takes up and, where necessary, modifies Peirce's taxonomy of signs, and the different interpretive processes to which these signs give rise, in reference to affect, causality, and convention. My own approach differs most strongly from that of Peirce in the matter of abstraction versus lived experience. For Peirce, individual or concrete instances of sign-usage by actual communities of inquiry (for example, philosophers and scientists, the communities with which he was primarily, but not exclusively concerned) matter less than a comprehensive and normative account of the necessary conditions in which different categories of signs would be—as distinct from really are—meaningful, in conceivable—as distinct from actual—situations (Peirce, 1931 & 1903/1997). In contrast, my own approach is concerned less with normative accounts of how signs should produce meaning in ideal circumstances, than with how signs are interpreted within a community of inquiry itself brought into existence in musical performance and reception (Cumming, 2000). It will be helpful before proceeding further, briefly to review the specific set of questions that guide this study. This recapitulation sets up the later discussion of why Peirce's approach to signification is uniquely suited to my study, a topic which occupies the second section of this chapter. 3.2 Recapitulation of Central Questions The thematic background of the dissertation is the role of musicians with disabilities as public intellectuals. Public intellectualism has figured prominently in recent education scholarship (Sandlin, Schulz, & Burdick, 2010), and within this vibrant space, the educative role of musicians occupies a small but productive corner (Gershon, 2010; Pinar, 2010; Said, 1991, 83 2001, & 2008). Against this background, I contemplate the reception of musicians with disabilities, gesturing towards a series of general questions from which I develop a more narrowly focused research problem which can be formulated thus: what educative possibilities and limitations emerge in the performances of musicians with disabilities? Through this non-verbal communicative medium, how might performers and audiences learn to question normative definitions of musical experience? In so doing, how might participants in musical performance fashion the relationship between self and other, moving past the dichotomous representational systems of “person” first and “disability-first” language? Sustained comparison of the reception of blind pianists in jazz and popular idioms (Lubet, 2010; Rowden, 2009; Shim 2007; Straus, 2011), and in Western art music is beyond the scope of this study. However, we may nevertheless consider an example which demonstrates how difficult it is to make generalizations about the self-representation of blind pianists in relation to how others respond to them. The jazz pianist Lennie Tristano reportedly used to issue a challenge to anyone who antagonized him: “Just turn the lights out and we’ll be even” (Shim, 2007, p. 200). Eunmi Shim (2007) interprets this as Tristano’s reluctance to “acknowledge blindness as a handicap” (p. 200). The bluntness of Tristano’s challenge is in stark contrast to Tsujii’s more subdued modes of self-representation which I discussed in Chapter 1. However, it is worth noting the familiarity of the underlying problem which my dissertation addresses: what makes blind pianists different from sighted pianists is not that they cannot see, but rather that they have to work to not be seen and heard as different. If, as Titchkosky (2011) has argued, disability signifies an “absent object,” then, I argue, the norm of able-bodied pianism is likewise the “absent object” signified by sighted pianists (p. 54). As set forth in Chapter 1, the core questions of this dissertation are as follows: 84 1. How are the educative possibilities and limitations of Nobuyuki Tsujii's recital on March 10th, 2013, defined by Tsujii and by select audience members? 2. How do these audience members receive Tsujii in relation to the categories of pianist and blind pianist? Conversely, how did Tsujii receive his audience? 3. What are the conventions, tacit and otherwise, through which Tsujii's performances are received as those of simply a pianist and of a blind pianist? In what ways did Tsujii’s UBC recital participate in and resist this dichotomous framing? 4. To what extent do the interlocking activities of musical performance and reception in the context of Tsujii's UBC recital constitute a relational pedagogy (Biesta, 2004, p. 13), defined as an education that "takes place" in the gap between the one who teaches (musician) and the one who learns (audience)? As noted in Chapter 1, Tsujii’s shared gold medal at the 2009 Cliburn competition gave rise to extensive discussion in the media and among the general public as to how he learns music, and how he collaborates with other musicians in the absence of visual interaction (Cantrell, 2009; Chung & Inada, 2009; Hewett, 2013; Nick, 2013; Oda, 2009; Schlachter, 2009). Newspaper and magazine articles about Tsujii from 2009 to 2013 show that the passage of time has not dulled widespread fascination on the part of critics and audiences with blindness in music, a point to which we will return shortly. My own interviews with Tsujii and individual UBC audience members, also discussed in Chapters 4 and 5, were shaped by what can best be described as an ambivalent relationship to this sense of curiosity about blindness, even as our exploration of questions about how a blind pianist functions brought forth the realization that such curiosity is not necessarily self-evident or natural (Tsujii, as quoted in Hewett, 2013). 85 I position my research questions in relation to two public statements by Tsujii discussed in Chapters 1 and 2, the first of which is attributed to the pianist by his mother in an article she wrote for a Japanese magazine, while the second comes from an interview with Tsujii for a piece in TIME Magazine. Both articles were published in 2009, several months after Tsujii’s shared gold medal at the 2009 Cliburn Competition. The first example suggests that the pianist is unequivocal about his musical identity: "'I am not a 'blind pianist.' I am a pianist who happens also to be blind" [Itsuko] Tsujii, 2009, p. 53). The second example informs the reader that Tsujii resists being framed as a "blind pianist" and, instead, wants to be received as "simply a pianist" (Oda, 2009, para. 6). As explained in both Chapters 1 and 2, Tsujii's statements in the media and in my interviews with him bear the imprint of Western art music's normalizing pedagogy (Straus, 2011). In this tradition, musical performance provides a space in which musicians with disabilities are expected to perform both music and disability because of a pervasive social and cultural anxiety towards the visibly disabled body (Howe, 2010; Lerner, 2006; Roman, 2009). This anxiety often modulates into a kind of fascination: the ability of an audience to see and hear a disabled performer on stage makes bodily difference sensible in certain spectacular ways, and not in others, for example, as a different, yet equally rich way to experience music (Roman, 2009; Sandahl & Auslander, 2005; Straus, 2011; Titchkosky, 2012). Two more recent statements by Tsujii, contemporaneous with the research and writing of the present study, show that Tsujii's struggles to define himself as a pianist have been a persistent source of tension in his critical and popular reception since his shared gold medal at the Cliburn competition (Ikenberg, 2014a & b; Nick, 2013). The first of these more recent statements comes from around the time I did a follow-up interview with Tsujii (during his visit to Mobile, Alabama): 86 I believe blindness has nothing to do with artistic quality.... As people don't call Beethoven a 'deaf composer,' I wish people would call me a 'pianist' instead of 'a blind pianist,' and try to enjoy the music I play. That said, if handicapped people and their family [sic] feel encouraged or touched by my piano playing, it would be a great honor for me, too. (Tsujii, as quoted in Ikenberg, 2014, para. 9; emphasis added)11 The term "handicapped" used by Tsujii's translator in the excerpt quoted above, has been the subject of much critical analysis in Disability Studies (Baglieri & Shapiro, 2012; Kriegel, 1991; Michalko & Titchkosky, 2001). Leonard Kriegel (1991), for example, rejects both the terms handicapped and disabled, preferring instead, to (re)claim his presence as a cripple and to align himself with others who believe in the critical and politicized intervention that a crippled identity enacts. For Kriegel, the latter designation permits the acknowledgement of emotional dimensions, specifically feelings of "rage" and pride" as tightly bound up with what it means to be disabled for oneself, and for others (p. 61). Here, Kriegel gestures obliquely to an affirming call within the disability rights movement—proud, angry, and strong—itself a reference to a song by Johnny Crescendo bearing this title (Swain & French, 2000, p. 569). However, even among Disability Studies scholars and activists there has been no agreement on questions of language, a tension thrown into sharp relief by the following observation: "You can give a horse a handicap and it can still win the race. But you know what they do to disabled horses, don't you?... Actually the only label I will accept without qualification is 'person'" (Zimmerman, 1985/1990, p. 37; emphasis added). The concluding declaration which 11 The translator for this interview with Tamara Ikenberg was Nick Asano, Tsujii's manager in Japan, who also assisted as the translator for my own follow up interview with Tsujii. 87 I have emphasized in the passage quoted above aligns closely with Tsujii's own assertions of his presence as a pianist, a designation that he, too, would appear to accept without qualification. This is in marked contrast to his hesitancy with respect to systems of representation that identify him as a blind pianist. Another statement by Tsujii from the previous year indicates that the imposing figure of Ludwig van Beethoven—Western art music's iconic musician with a disability—plays an important, yet contradictory role in Tsujii’s life as a pianist. On one hand, there is the familiar language of overcoming disability encapsulated in the qualification “despite,” in reference to another's disability (Beethoven's deafness). On another hand, there is the seemingly contradictory notion that disability is not an obstacle, and going further, not even relevant to the ability to compose, perform, and to enjoy what composers write, and what performers play. On still another hand, there is an identification, a reaching out across the centuries to another musician with a disability: “Despite his hearing impairment, Beethoven composed numerous memorable pieces of great music. As someone who is visually handicapped, I empathize with and greatly admire Beethoven” (Tsujii as cited in Nick, 2013, para. 13; emphasis added). Chapter 1 explained that the "cultural education of the sensorium" (Titchkosky, 2011, p. 82) teaches us how to make sense of the disabled body in historically and culturally contingent ways. Within the tradition of Western art music performance, this "cultural education of the sensorium" leads audiences to expect visibly disabled musicians to showcase the corporeal symptoms that render them different, as I have already noted (Straus, 2011, p. 126; see also, Howe, 2010; Lerner, 2006). Against the backdrop of such expectations, Tsujii's resistance to being framed as a blind pianist constitutes a gesture of defiance against the norms of Western art music performance. 88 The role of the media in shaping the reception of musicians with disabilities is also of concern to the present study. An illustrative example comes from a Wall Street Journal article from December 1st 2014. The article reviews the common threads that bind together the ways performers with disabilities in Western art music have sought to represent themselves. What is noteworthy, here, is the air of self-criticism that circulates through this article, a reckoning with the role of the media in problematic representations of musicians with disabilities (Ramey, 2014). Corrine Ramey (2014) explains that musicians with disabilities fault the media for representing them in stereotypical, reductive terms (para. 17). Among the musicians quoted in the article is Evelyn Glennie, whose assessment of the media's role in her early career resembles Tsujii's complaints about being typecast both by audiences and the media as the blind pianist (Oda, 2009, para. 6). The rules of Western art music performance and reception dictate that musicians must be good enough to be judged as simply musicians: “I was simply a musician, and I wanted the [media] articles to be about music” (Glennie, as quoted in Ramey, 2014, para. 18; emphasis added). Implicit in Glennie's statement is that she wanted her reception in the media to be not about music and her disability, but only about music and not about disability. On this view, to be received as a musician with a disability, or a disabled musician, is to be relegated to the margins of lesser musicianship, having failed sufficiently to transcend bodily limitations. Within the counter-cultural tradition of disability arts examined in Chapter 2, the disability-activist Allan Sutherland (1997) separates "artist with a disability" from "disability artist" along the line marked by Glennie, arguing that a “disability-artist” unlike an “artist with a disability” treats the lived experience of disability as suitable subject matter for creative expression. It is in this embrace of the experience of disability, that the political dimensions of 89 disability-arts emerge (Sutherland, 1997, p. 159). As the extant Disability Studies in Music scholarship demonstrates, however, the history of Western art music offers compelling examples of musicians with disabilities taking their lived experiences of disability as sources of musical inspiration, or as foundational to their music-making, (Howe, 2010; Straus, 2011). While it would be too much to suggest that these practices constitute a form of disability-arts avant la lettre, these counter-examples suggest that the distinction Sutherland makes needs to be rethought. Simultaneously, the assumption on the part of musicians with disabilities such as Glennie and Tsujii that it is necessary, or even possible in the first place, to focus on music-making rather than disability can be scrutinized by taking into account the politicized critiques of disability arts and culture activists. It is only in the last two hundred years or so that Western art music performance has become a truly public event (Cook, 2001; Dahlhaus, 1989; Goehr, 1989 & 2004; Leppert & McClary, 1987; Leppert, 2004; Said, 1991& 2008; Taruskin, 1995). The rules governing proper behavior for both performers and audiences have necessarily changed, although despite these shifts, there are continuities the past origins of which have largely passed into the realm of common sense and accepted practice (Johnson, 1995). Concerning audience comportment, in particular, a broad taxonomy accounts for how the concert-going public has "listened over time" including categories of experience such as “sounds, images, ideas, emotions, vague feelings, and so forth" (Johnson, 1995, p. 2). In the final section of the present chapter, I show how the methods of semiotic analysis I use for the interviews, and for the media reception sources, locate the signs invoked by Tsujii and his audience in relation to these general experiential categories during my conversations with them. This sets the stage for Chapters 4 and 5, in which I show how each of these categories, as well as other musical experiences not so easily located among 90 those proposed by Johnson, figured prominently in the responses of Tsujii and individual audience members. In the next section I set forth the theoretical framework for exploring the reception of Tsujii's 2013 recital at UBC in relation to the norms and conventions of musical performance and reception and for understanding how these historically rooted conventions define the range of sonic, visual, affective, and vague experiences (Johnson, 1995, p. 2) attached to the categories of pianist and blind pianist (Lubet, 2010; Straus, 2011). Public performances constitute highly organized, even ritualistic sociocultural encounters (Cook, 2001; Davidson, 2001; DeNora, 2000; McCormick, 2008; Small, 1998 & 1999): "performers and audience need to be able to 'share' in the musical code," inhabiting a common universe for understanding the constituent parts of the performance ritual, and its associated rules of etiquette (Davidson, 2001, p. 237). This shared framework of understanding also includes the aesthetic, stylistic, and interpretive features of the music being performed. What a given performance “means” for musicians and audience emerges through the combined, that is, relational activities of performance and reception (p. 237; see also, Cumming, 2000; McCormick, 2008). This shared understanding constitutes a musical code (Davidson, 2001, p. 237), a system of rules and conventions that shape a given musical experience, and delimit the range of possible meanings of that experience, while raising questions about how and what music, as a non-verbal communicative medium, signifies, to whom, and in what context (Gershon, 2010). Interviewing both Tsujii and members of his UBC audience yielded multiple interpretations of what it means to be a pianist and a blind pianist, and how these categories produce particular kinds of signs, referring to objects of sight, sound, movement, and affect (Johnson, 1995; see also, Cumming, 2000; Goble, 2010; Turino, 1999 & 2014). By situating 91 their multiple interpretations of Tsujii's recital in relation to these participants' accounts of the lived experiences of ability and disability, my approach permits historically and culturally contingent ideas about disability to be compared against what each interview participant has to say about their own understanding and experiences not only of ability and disability, blindness and sightedness, but also of making and listening to music. Our conversations about these experiences take into account the different levels of experience with music each of the participants has, ranging from full-time music studies to infrequent engagement with music, and in one case, an acknowledgement of no interest in music at all, but a strong interest in educational issues pertaining to disability. Understood within a pragmatist framework, the categories of pianist and blind pianist are dynamic rather than static categories, and constitute performer-audience relationships in different, sometimes contradictory ways depending on the historical, cultural, and geographical context in which these categories are situated. Several interview participants noted as much in my conversations with them, and I will discuss this aspect in a sustained fashion in Chapters 4 and 5. Neil Lerner (2006) explains that a prerequisite to claiming the (unqualified) status of “pianist” is the ability to play with two hands: “With only one functioning hand, someone who wishes to play the piano becomes not a pianist but a one-handed pianist” (p. 75; emphasis added). The theoretical implications of Lerner’s observation can be adapted to present concerns since, as we have seen in Chapter 1, sightedness functions as the yardstick against which blind pianists are judged. In similar fashion, Tsujii’s blindness becomes a framing device in his critical reception because of the bodily norms stipulating sightedness as the unmarked ability which 92 allows someone who wishes to play the piano (borrowing Lerner’s formulation) to be seen and heard as simply a pianist (recalling Tsujii’s statement). A brief example shows the complex issues that this dissertation's philosophical framework must encompass in order to draw out the complexities obscured by the straightforward language Tsujii uses. Reviewing Peter Rosen's documentary of Tsujii's Carnegie Hall debut, Jeremy Nicholas (2012) argues that the pianist's blindness must be bracketed out from the experience of watching and listening to his performances. Drawing on a familiar analogy between performers and athletes (Cumming, 2000), albeit in the unfamiliar context of the Paralympics, Nicholas (2012) claims that "an apparent drawback," namely Tsujii's blindness, "has not affected his ability in his chosen field. In fact, his blindness should not—and does not—come into the equation: he is simply a stunningly gifted pianist" (para. 1; emphasis added). Let us consider how a pragmatist framework can help us to make sense of the rich variety of responses to Tsujii as a pianist and as a blind pianist of which Nicholas' response is but one instance. 3.3 Situating Nobuyuki Tsujii's Reception in the Semiotic Streams of Music, Disability, and Education Chapter 2 drew attention to a central topic in education: the formation of the self, and the relationship between self and other (Bonnett, 2009; Luke, 2009; Sandlin, Burdick, & Schulz, 2010). A shared concern in the education scholarship discussed in that chapter has to do with the dynamism inherent in this view of education: “educational theory is necessarily concerned with what it means to become human, ‘becoming’ implying a process of growth and change” (Peters & Stables, 2012, p. vii). Asking questions about the educative possibilities and limitations of such performances therefore means finding out not only how dominant norms are challenged and 93 sustained through musical performance (Sandlin, 2010, p. 1), but also how musicians and audiences “become human” (Peters & Stables, 2012, p. vii) in their interactions with each other as performers and audience members and in their memories of these interactions following a performance. The framework that organizes my study is both philosophical and theoretical. The philosophical parts of this framework are based on the pragmatism of Charles Sanders Peirce. Peirce's various articulations of pragmatism span several decades of his career and are drawn into unity by a recurring motif; the meaning of ideas, concepts, words and phrases are products of semiosis, or the action of signs. These signs, in turn, are meaningful within a particular community of inquiry. For Peirce, what we believe is inseparable from how we are prepared to act in the world (Colapietro, 1989 & 1997; Merrell, 1995, 1997, 2007, & 2010; Peirce, 1931, 1982, 1868, 1903/1997). This insight has been productively employed in the analysis of how beliefs about music guide the activities of performers and audiences (Cumming, 1996, 1997, 1999, & 2000; Goble, 2010; Turino, 1999 & 2014). Peirce's approach is that of a logician in the sense that he is not considered with actual instances of sign-use by real individuals, but rather with the presentation of a normative framework for defining and differentiating not only the various possible types of signs, but also, the relationship of these signs to their objects, and their participation in theoretically infinite signifying processes. For Peirce, the ongoing refinement and translation of the original sign occurs through the mediating role of the interpretant (Peirce's neologism for the effect of the original sign on a hypothetical interpreter; see Cumming, 2000; Goble, 2010) rather than through real-world interaction and negotiation of a sign's meaning by actual sign interpreters. However, even though Peirce himself rejects psychologism, refusing to tether meaning to the sign-94 interpretation brought about by individual, subjective experiences of the world, various aspects of his detailed formal doctrine of semiosis have been taken up in research directed at understanding how signs are actually used by "concretely situated subjects" (Colapietro, 1989, p. 34). In other words, there has been interest among scholars in a range of disciplines, in how signs are inscribed with meaning within actual social and cultural environments, including communities of musical practice (Cumming, 2000; Turino, 1993, 1999, 2008, & 2014). I take my cue from these latter approaches, while retaining certain of the main features of Peirce's own formal systems. The complexities of the representational and counter-representational systems that frame Tsujii's performances and their reception by audiences around the world do not fall neatly within either "disability-first" or "person-first" language, the binary alternatives provided in much Disability Studies scholarship (Michalko, 2002; Muredda, 2012; Titchkosky, 2008, 2011, & 2012). Furthermore, these theoretical approaches have not made room for non-verbal or non-linguistic meaning in constructing the relationship between disability and self. A central task of the present study will therefore be to explore the role of musical (that is, non-verbal and non-linguistic) signification in the navigation of the pianist/blind pianist dichotomy. This expanded view of the construction of meaning acknowledges Gershon's (2010) observation that musicians who talk about music are often accorded higher intellectual and therefore educative status than musicians who simply make music, a hierarchy which Gershon attributes to "the privileging of the written word over musical experience" (p. 633). It is worth mentioning, briefly at this point, a consideration that will be taken up in subsequent chapters: Tsujii fits more clearly into the latter category, as a pianist who often emphasizes his preference to simply make music, rather than to talk about music (Hewett, 2013). 95 An important part of Peirce's approach to semiosis for this dissertation locates non-codified meanings as important dimensions of human experience. The categories of pianist and blind pianist, in other words, are intelligible not only as a result of rules and conventions, but also in terms of what they mean affectively and kinesthetically. The affective and kinesthetic dimensions of the meanings attached to pianist and blind pianist by Tsujii and his audiences cannot always be understood in reference to organized systems of emotional and bodily signs. With pragmatism as his foundation, Peirce develops his taxonomy of sign types within a phenomenology that attempts to account for three fundamental, or "universal" types of experience: feeling, actuality, and convention. Peirce identifies these three categories respectively as "Firstness," "Secondness," and "Thirdness." Three simple examples of each phenomenological category will suffice for the present, and later chapters will offer examples drawn from my interviews with Tsujii and his UBC audience, to show how their navigation of the blind pianist/pianist dichotomy is shaped by a complex interplay of affective, physical, and rule-governed signs. In keeping with Peirce's approach, the illustrative examples presented below are deliberately vague, in order to foreground the extent to which Peirce's approach to signs and sign-interpretation aims to encompass all possible dimensions of human experience. For the present, then, "Firstness" may be understood as a sensation experienced as an unanalyzed, uninterpreted feeling of something, whether that something be an emotion, a visual, audible, or other sensory stimulus. A central aspect of "Firstness" is that it need not refer to anything real: feelings or sensory stimuli are experienced solely in relation to themselves. "Secondness" is defined through its physicality, and the experience of "Secondness" is built upon a necessary, physical, or embodied, hence actual relation. Any reaction between one thing and another in which the first thing moves, or changes in some way as a result of the 96 reaction exemplifies "Seco
UBC Theses and Dissertations
Different eyes, ears, and bodies : pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii and the education of the sensorium through… Honisch, Stefan Sunandan 2016
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