Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Eliot Bates

Committee Members

Joseph Straus

Jason Eckardt

Norman Carey

Subject Categories

Music Performance | Music Practice | Music Theory


cellistic corporealities, cellist-body, Actor-Network Theory, body multiple, cello performance, instrument agency


In Sonorous Movement: Cellistic Corporealities in Works by Lachenmann, Steen-Andersen, and Svensson, I analyze three compositions that foreground the cellist-body, its physical gestures, and instrumental interactions: Helmut Lachemann’s Pression für einen Cellisten (1969/2010), Simon Steen-Andersen’s Study for String Instrument #3 (2011), and Johan Svensson’s marionette for string instrument, electro-mechanical devices and lights (2018). These works center sound production and the performing body as sites of ontological and creative exploration. Their physical gestures serve multiple sensorial functions, heightening the visual and kinesthetic dimensions of a traditionally aurally oriented practice. For each work, I develop a corresponding analytical method based on the composer’s respective treatment of the cellist-body and its movements. I identify families of actions propagated through Lachenmann’s gestural transformations and the corporeal and instrumental multiplicity projected through Steen-Andersen’s choreography, instrument orientations, and technological mediations. I analyze agential shifts between human and nonhuman performers within Svensson’s cyborg assemblage. Centering the body and its sonorous movements provides an opportunity to examine multiple cellistic corporealities as the cellist-body interacts with instruments, objects, technologies, virtual performers, and machinic partners. I use the works of Lachenmann, Steen-Andersen, and Svensson as corporeal case studies, applying frameworks from Actor-Network Theory to explore the multiplicity and instability of cello- and cellist-bodies, the mutually constitutive relationship between instruments and performers, and the networks of agency that hold together human and material actants in performance.