Mark Seto

Conductor & Musicologist

Mark Seto leads a wide-ranging musical life as a conductor, musicologist, teacher, and violinist. He is Co-Artistic Director and Conductor of The Chelsea Symphony in New York City and Assistant Professor of Music at Connecticut College.

My work as a musicologist explores issues of cultural identity, intertextuality, and aesthetics, with a particular focus on the burgeoning symphonic culture of Paris in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. One of my current projects examines the relationship between Vincent d'Indy's activities as a composer and his ethnographic study of traditional music in the French provinces.

I am keenly interested in the intersection of musical scholarship and performance. Many of my research ideas have originated from my experiences as a conductor, and vice versa. Working from manuscript sources, I have conducted western hemisphere premieres of works by J.A. Hasse and Augusta Holmès, and I have given lecture-performances of works by Mahler, Sibelius, Beethoven, and others.

Selected publications

  • "Ernest Chausson's Viviane, 'Déwagnérisation,' and the Problem of Descriptive Music." 19th-Century Music 41, no. 1 (Summer 2017): 48-74. (Download PDF)
  • Review of César Franck, Symphony in D minor; Ce qu'on entend sur la montagneHulda, ballet allégorique, Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, conducted by Christian Arming (Fuga Libera). Nineteenth-Century Music Review 12, no. 1 (June 2015): 184-86.
  • Review of Michael J. Puri, Ravel the Decadent: Memory, Sublimation, and DesireNineteenth-Century French Studies 42, nos. 1-2 (Fall-Winter 2013-2014): 137-39.
  • "Luigi Cherubini and Augusta Holmès." In Nineteenth-Century Choral Music, ed. Donna M. Di Grazia. Routledge Studies in Musical Genres, R. Larry Todd, series general editor. New York: Routledge, 2013, 213-30.
  • Review of Jann Pasler, Composing the Citizen: Music as Public Utility in Third Republic FranceCurrent Musicology 88 (Fall 2009): 109-16. (Download PDF)

Recent and upcoming conference presentations

  • "Vincent d'Indy, Ethnographer," Music, Intertextuality, and Inter-Art Forms in Third Republic France, Maynooth University (Ireland), July 2015; North American Conference on 19th-Century Music, Merrimack College, July 2015
  • "Composition as Ethnography in Vincent d'Indy's Fantaisie sur des thèmes populaires français," 18th Biennial International Conference on 19th-Century Music, University of Toronto, June 2014
  • "From Viviane to Le Roi Arthus: Chausson and the Problem of Descriptive Music," 17th Biennial International Conference on 19th-Century Music, University of Edinburgh, June 2012
  • "Wagnerism and the Aesthetic of Virility in Augusta Holmès's Les Argonautes," Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society, San Francisco, November 2011
  • "Of Sirens and Sorceresses: Representing Femininity in Augusta Holmès's Les Argonautes," Feminist Theory and Music 11, Arizona State University, September 2011
  • "Franck's Psyché, Sublimated Desires, and the Construction of an Absolute Music," North American Conference on 19th-Century Music, University of Richmond, July 2011