Symposium celebrates 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

A re-imagining of the Sgt. Pepper cover featuring participants in the Symposium

The Summit of Creativity: A Celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, organized and directed by Professor Walter Everett of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD), will take place at the Earl V. Moore Building on North Campus, June 1-4, 2017.

The symposium brings together prominent Beatles-based scholars, inner-circle figures, and journalists to lead a gathering of academics, students, and the general public in exploring “Pepper” and its world.

Although registration for the symposium is now closed, the majority of the events will be streamed live on the SMTD website beginning at 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, June 1.  A banner at the top of the SMTD home page will link directly to the streaming pages and a full streaming schedule is available online.

In addition, a Beatles exhibit will be on display at the entrance of the SMTD Music Library, located on the third floor of the E.V. Moore Building, 1100 Baits Drive, Ann Arbor. Featuring a variety of Sgt. Pepper artifacts, the exhibit is open to the public on Thursday, June 1 and Friday, June 2 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

While a handful of other titles may vie for the honor of The Beatles’ “best” album, Sgt. Pepper is generally considered to represent the peak of the band’s creativity, and is acknowledged by scholars and music fans alike as being among the most imaginative and culturally significant artistic products of its age.

Everett, professor of music theory and a renowned Beatles scholar, is the author of The Foundations of Rock (Oxford University Press, 2008); The Beatles as Musicians, available in two volumes (The Quarry Men through Rubber Soul and Revolver through the Anthology). In 1986, he became the first music theorist to publish a scholarly essay about pop music in the journal The Musical Quarterly. He began teaching at SMTD in 1989, soon after earning his PhD at the school.

The symposium will feature a spectrum of Beatles scholars from across the United States and from Canada, including Anthony DeCurtis of the University of Pennsylvania, a longtime contributing editor to Rolling Stone magazine, who has interviewed three of the Beatles; and John Covach, an SMTD alum who is now director of the Institute of Popular Music at the University of Rochester. Also participating is Ken Scott of Leeds Becket University in the United Kingdom, who engineered a number of Beatle records from 1964 through 1968.

Musical elements of the symposium will include an opening night reception featuring recent SMTD alum Billy Harrington who will present a demonstration of Ringo Starr’s drumming and recording techniques on Sgt. Pepper on two differently tuned vintage 1960s Ludwig Downbeat and Super Classic drum kits. In addition, a luncheon event will feature associates of SMTD Professor Samuel Mukherji  (music theory) who will direct a performance of Indian music.

For complete information and schedule of events, visit the Sgt. Pepper Symposium pages on the SMTD website.