35th Annual Meeting of the American Musical Instrument Society
held in collaboration with The Galpin Society and
the International Committee of Musical Instrument Museums and Collections (CIMCIM)
of the International Council of Museums (ICOM)
at the National Music Museum
May 19-23, 2006
Photographic Memories of the Conference
Program Booklet (PDF document)
The American Musical Instrument Society held its 35th annual meeting at the National Music Museum (NMM) on the campus of The University of South Dakota (USD) in Vermillion, May 19-23. The meeting, held in conjunction with The Galpin Society and the International Committee of Musical Instrument Museums and Collections (CIMCIM) of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), was the best attended in the Society’s history, as colleagues from around the world made the trip to Vermillion to join in the celebration.
The program committee, chaired by John Koster, Conservator & Professor of Music at the NMM, organized sessions in which leading specialists explored important issues in current musical-instrument scholarship. Topics explored in depth were the scientific examination and analysis of instruments, brass-instrument making in Nuremberg (organized by Sabine Klaus, Joe & Joella Utley Curator of Brass Instruments & Professor of Music at the NMM), and keyboard instruments in 16th-century Antwerp. These afternoon sessions were complemented by shorter sessions and free papers on topics ranging from medieval drums, the early violin, and the clarinet to eastern-European folk instruments, Turkish military bands, and early electrical instruments.
Papers on the final day of the meeting addressed the presentation of musical instruments to the public and related topics, ending with an internationally composed panel discussion on the current state and future of musical-instrument research. Participants hailed from more than 15 countries.
Many presentations tied in with the NMM’s extensive collections. Close to 1,000 of the NMM’s 11,000 instruments were immediately accesssible for viewing just a few steps away in the NMM’s nine galleries. Many spectacular additions were made to the NMM’s collections since the previous AMIS meeting in Vermillion in 1996. These include two Ruckers harpsichords, a mandolin and a viol by Antonio Stradivari, lutes by Thomas Edlinger, a flute by Pierre Naust, violas by Nicola Bergonzi and Frantz Straub, spinets by Charles Haward and Johann Heinrich Silbermann, a downstriking grand piano by Nannette Streicher, four cornetti (two of ivory), the Alan G. Bates Harmonica Collection, a Javanese gamelan, and countless other treasures. The recently dedicated Lillibridge Gallery featured 31 superb, 20th-century American guitars and a re-creation of the legendary D'Angelico/D'Aquisto/Gudelsky Workshop.
A wide variety of performances took place. Several events during the first two days of the meeting constituted a festival of 18th-century keyboard music from Spain and Portugal. An international gathering of performers, including Susanne Skyrm, member of the USD faculty and the AMIS Board of Governors, Cremilde Rosado Fernandes from Lisbon, Rosana Lanzelotte from Brazil, and Luisa Morales from Almerìa, Spain, played two of the NMM’s greatest rarities, the
grand piano by Manuel Antunes, Lisbon, 1767, and the Portuguese harpsichord by José Calisto, 1780, as well as the magnificent, two-manual harpsichord by Joseph Kirckman, London, 1798.
Other performances featured Lakota (Native American) singers and drummers, musicians from South India, recent copies of early Flemish keyboard instruments, the NMM’s pipe organs by Josef Looßer, Gemeind Cappel, Switzerland, 1786; Christian Dieffenbach, Berks County, PA, 1808; and, David Dutton, Mount Vernon, NH, ca. 1850, and the guitar most intimately associated with Johnny Cash, the Bon Aqua. For the final concert on Tuesday night, Susan Alexander-Max from London played works by Mozart, Haydn, and C.P.E. Bach on the NMM’s clavichord by J. P. Kraemer & Sons, Göttingen, 1804, and its Tangentenflügel by F. J. Spath & C. F. Schmahl, Regensburg, 1784.
Social events were also planned, beginning with a lavish welcoming reception on the NMM's Townsley Courtyard. A traditional South Dakota pig roast was held outdoors Saturday evening "under the tents" on the NMM lawn. The gala banquet, featuring the presentation of the Curt Sachs Award and the Densmore Prize, followed by the auction to raise funds for student travel, was held at The Winery, a Vermillion landmark, where local wines were sampled. All fourteen meals were included in the registration fee. Vegetarian alternatives were available. In order to keep the registration fee as low as possible, partial registration was not available.
Individuals who conducted research in the NMM’s collections after the meetings ended, made those arrangements in writing, well in advance.
May is a particularly lovely time in eastern South Dakota. Vermillion is a typical, small Midwestern college town, located on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River near where the Lewis & Clark expedition camped in August 1804. Everything is within walking distance. Residents, USD students, and visitors alike delight in the clean, fresh air, marvel at the splendid sunsets, walk safely at night along tree-lined streets, and interact in the friendly, informal way typical of life on the Great Plains.
Vermillion is easily accessible by air. Service is available on Northwest Airlines via Minneapolis into Sioux City, Iowa (airport code SUX), a 45-minute drive to/from Vermillion on I-29, and on Northwest, United, Delta, Southwest, and Allegiant Air, via the hub cities of Minneapolis, Chicago, Denver, Cincinnati, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, into Sioux Falls, South Dakota (FSD), a 70-minute drive to/from Vermillion on I-29.
Public transportation is NOT available between the airports and Vermillion. However, NMM vans met flights coming into both Sioux City and Sioux Falls all day Thursday, May 18, and will returned participants to those airports on Wednesday, May 24, with the vans departing from Vermillion beginning at 7:00 am (for flights departing from Sioux City after 9:15 am and departing from Sioux Falls after 9:45 am).
For those who arrived by air later than Thursday and/or flew out earlier than 9:15 am (Sioux City) or 9:45 am (Sioux Falls) on Wednesday, rental cars were available at both airports. Advance reservations were recommended. Alternatively, a taxi ride from the Sioux City Airport to Vermillion cost about what it does to take a taxi from Logan Airport to the other side of Boston or from O’Hare Airport to downtown Chicago.
Car rental was also an option for participants who wished to fly into and out of Omaha, Nebraska (a 2¼-hour drive to/from Vermillion on I-29), where flights are sometimes more competitively priced than into Sioux City or Sioux Falls.
Motel costs in Vermillion were relatively low, compared to downtown city convention hotels, and are detailed in the pdf document, Where to Stay in Vermillion. Dormitory rooms (communal showers) were also available ($26.40/night, single, $22.25 each/night, double, or $105.75/week, single, $89.50 each/week, double), and were within walking distance of the NMM. Towels were exchanged daily.
Registration materials and detailed information were sent to AMIS, Galpin Society, and CIMCIM members at the end of February, but the latest, up-to-date information was also easily accessible on the NMM’s website, www.usd.edu/smm.