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Dr Ananay Aguilar


I completed my undergraduate degree in Music Theory at Universidad de los Andes in Colombia. For my Masters I moved to Brazil, where I worked on the acousmatic analysis of electroacoustic music at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas, UNICAMP. After a brief period lecturing at Universidad de los Andes, I came to the UK to pursue a PhD under the supervision of Nicholas Cook at Royal Holloway, University of London.

My thesis explored the values of classical music through its recording practices with a central case study focused on the label of the London Symphony Orchestra, LSO Live. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, I reflected on the aesthetic implications of moving from studio to live recording in the context of a record industry in crisis, paying close attention to the two resulting sound worlds and their interaction with the orchestra's technological, economic and legal strategy for creating a successful label. I demonstrated that the artwork concept continues to mediate, sanction and perpetuate the ways in which music is produced, and argued that music scholarship needed to overcome sub-disciplinary boundaries and work with other disciplines to expose the hegemony of the artwork concept in everyday musical life.

I then won a Leverhulme grant to develop the project 'Performers' rights: music-making in the digital era' in collaboration with the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law (CIPIL) at the Faculty of Law. It revisits the concept of the artwork, but now in its role in shaping British copyright law: the study responded to criticisms to copyright law for privileging Romantic ideals of classical music that pay excessive tribute to the author. To overcome this asymmetry, my research places performers' rights at the centre of the discussion. Drawing on interviews and fieldwork with performing musicians and industry and government representatives, I examined these rights from a wide perspective. I took into account 1) the history of these rights, 2) how performers make use of the law in everyday practice and through case law, 3) how the rights are managed and finally, 4) the processes involved in legislative change through a case study on the recently launched Fair Internet for Performers Campaign. I developed this last part of the project in collaboration with Adrian Storrier at the University of Reading.

Together with Lionel Bently at the Faculty of Law, I am the latest recipient of the Mellon Centre for Disciplinary Innovation Teaching Fellowship at the Centre for Research in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities (CRASSH) with a post-graduate course reflecting on academia-industry collaborations. I have also taught undergraduate and graduate students on the music industry in the digital age, public policy engagement, ethnomusicology and sound studies.


Departments and Institutes

Darwin College:
Research Associate

Research Interests

I am fascinated by the interface between policy and commerce in the music industry and its impact on the lives of professional musicians. Over the last ten years I have engaged in the production and circulation of recordings, considering everything from aesthetics to economics, technology and law. I am open to collaborations with scholars in music and other disciplines, as well as with creative industry and government professionals.

Key Publications

Negotiating Liveness: Technology, Economics, and the Artwork in LSO Live, Music and Letters, 2014, vol. 95, issue 2, pp. 251-272.

'The orchestra-owned label: recording in an industry in crisis', Global Perspectives on Orchestras: Essays on Collective Creativity and Social Agency edited by Tina K. Ramnarine, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Other Publications

Review of Unfree Masters: Recording Artists and the Politics of Work by Matt Stahl, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2013, Journal of Popular Music Studies, 2015, vol. 27, issue 2, pp. 232-5.

'Processos de estruturação como ferramenta para a análise de música eletroacústica', Debates, no.9, agosto 2007, pp. 52-71 (Portuguese).

'Reflexiones sobre el análisis de música electroacústica', Pauta, cuadernos de teoría y crítica musical, vol. XXVI, no. 101, ene-mar 2007, pp. 46-52 (Spanish).

'La circularidad en Aura, la ópera de Mario Lavista', Cuadernos de música, artes visuales y artes escénicas, vol.1 no.2, 2006, pp. 53-71 (Spanish).

'Identificar e qualificar: de Schaeffer a Smalley', Cadernos da pós-graduação, vol.2, no.1, 2006, pp. 112-120 (Portuguese).