Lecture Oct. 9 on “Cinematic Trauma, Empathy, and the Music of Arvo Pärt”

Guest Lecturer Maria Cizmic
Guest Lecturer Maria Cizmic

The Dana School of Music announces a lecture by Maria Cizmic on 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 9 in Bliss Recital Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Cizmic is associate professor in the Humanities and Cultural Studies department at the University of South Florida. Her areas of interest include all kinds of 20th century music and their intersection with expressions of cultural trauma and pain; technology and mediation; and embodied experience and performance.

In 2012 Oxford University Press published her monograph, Performing Pain: Music and Trauma in Eastern Europe. Her current research focuses on the ways film music shapes audience empathy (or not) and mediates an ethical relationship to events on screen.

Titled, “Cinematic Trauma, Empathy, and the Music of Arvo Pärt,” the lecture speaks to how Arvo Pärt’s music has found its way into well over one hundred films—from art house fare such as Gran Belleza (2013) to Hollywood blockbusters like Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).

Pärt’s music has become a commonly used device when filmmakers take a serious look at the consequences of violence, a cinematic trope that has contributed to the common impression that Pärt’s music somehow symbolizes traumatic injustice.

This lecture will survey the use of Pärt’s music in recent cinema in conjunction with scholarship on screen violence, trauma, and empathy in order to tell a more complicated story. Pärt’s music certainly has a substantial reception history aligned with the depiction of victims of violence. But, more recent filmmakers have integrated his music into stories about morally ambiguous characters who can be complicit in and perpetrators of violence.

Her lecture will take a close look at the various uses of one composer’s music in film to talk about the way in which music shapes cinematic identification and the possibility of empathy.

Parking is available in the M30 Wick Avenue parking deck via Walnut Street (GPS address is 100 Wade Street, Youngstown OH 44502) for a nominal fee. Patrons are advised to watch for posted detours as construction progresses on Wick Avenue. More information is available by calling the Office of Community Engagement and Events at 330-941-2307.