Skip to main content area Skip to sub-navigation
Skip to main content

Program

Final Program
(Mountain Time Zone)
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7

1:00-2:30  Session 1: "I Dream of an Imaginary Time" : Literary Responses to Billy Joel
Novelists and poets write back to Billy Joel, elaborating the wider artistic and cultural resonances of his life and work from a multiplicity of perspectives.
2:30-3:00  Coffee Break

3:00-4:30 – Concurrent Sessions:

Session 2A: “For All Our Mutual Experience”: Billy Joel and Professional Discourse
Billy Joel’s music, lyrics, and performances have shaped not only his own professional career, but also other professions and careers. This panel explores such avenues from business, medical, legal, and musical perspectives.

Session 2B: “This Is My Life”: Individual/Personal Perspectives
Despite its mass appeal, Billy Joel’s music resonates within us as individuals. In this session three individuals consider issues of class, gender, taste, and theology, all seeking answers to questions surrounding how we personally interpret Joel’s works.
4:30-5:30 Opening Reception

5:30-7:00 – Dinner On Your Own

7:00-9:30 – Session 3: “Sleeping with the Television On”: Billy Joel and Film
Two significant moments in Joel’s career are both inextricably linked to film: The Stranger (1977), influenced by film noir, established Joel as a household name, while Joel’s history-making concerts in the Soviet Union a decade later became the subject of a 1987 documentary.
  • 7:00 pm: Pre-screening talk: The Stranger: A Film in Black & White,” Thomas MacFarlane (New York University)
  • Film Screening: A Matter of Trust: The Bridge to Russia, A Documentary
  • Post-screening discussion, hosted by Thomas MacFarlane (New York University) and Dylan Nelson (Colorado College)
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8

9:30-10:30 – Concurrent Sessions:

Session 4A: Workshop & Roundtable Discussion: “Song and Artifact”
Each time Billy Joel began working on material for a new album he prepared a song notebook. Working through the pages, he would capture a number of lyrical ideas, eventually polishing them into songs, until the final lyrics of a complete album would fill the last pages of a standard notebook. Analyzing and interpreting Joel’s 52nd Street and Storm Front notebooks reveals the artistic process that lead to the final commercial recordings.
  • Jason Hanley, Vice President of Education and Visitor Engagement, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • Kathryn Metz, Manager of Education Outreach, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Session 4B: "Music Set Me on Fire": Billy Joel, Rock and Roll, and the Past

Just like anyone else, Billy Joel’s past has had a profound impact on his life and career. This panel explores Joel’s youth and the future it pointed towards, including thoughts on his formative years, shared by an early bandmate, and a wider look at the way his piano-based style fit into larger musical and aesthetic shifts in the journey from rock ’n’ roll to rock music.
10:30-11:00 – Coffee Break

11:00-12:00 – Concurrent Sessions:

Session 5A: "It Was Always Within You”: Interdisciplinary Approaches
Billy Joel’s music can be approached from a variety of perspectives. Combining sociology, gender studies, and embodiment with musical and lyrical analysis reveals the ways Joel’s songs work for us and challenge us.

Session 5B: “Some Folks Like to Get Away”: Characters and the City
Billy Joel's songs overflow with characters and the places they inhabit. By reconsidering Joel’s catalog in this way, new insights are revealed about his compositional process, the reception of his work, and the real-life responses of the people who live in those places.
12:00-1:00 – Lunch On Your Own

1:00-2:30 – Concurrent Sessions:

Session 6A: “And Your Mementos Will Turn to Dust”: Time, Nostalgia, and History
Many of Billy Joel’s songs deal with the past in ways that enhance both our understanding of and our emotional connections with it. This panel examines Joel’s use of nostalgia and history as he explores particular places and times.
Session 6B: “All It Takes is Inspiration”: Billy Joel, in Theory
Examining Billy Joel’s music from the perspective of music theory highlights the songwriter’s compositional proclivities and tendencies, while considering his music from the tradition of art and cultural criticism illuminates the ways the songs garner mass appeal.
2:30-3:00 – Coffee Break

3:00-4:30 – Concurrent Sessions:

Session 7A: “Big Shot”: The Art of Concert Photography
Photographers discuss personal approaches to concert photography through the specific lens of Billy Joel’s career. They share personal anecdotes and professional insights about the art of capturing live performance on film.
  • Photographers Kevin Mocker, Bryan Oller, Larry Hulst, and Todd Caudle

Session 7B: “Well, We All Have a Face”: Comparisons and Contrasts
Billy Joel and his music are often understood and interpreted alongside other musicians and traditions. These presenters offer comparisons and contrasts with Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, and folk music.

4:45-5:45 – Keynote Event – “Take the Phone off the Hook”: A Conversation with Billy Joel
Join us for a live phone interview with Billy Joel! Conference co-chairs Ryan Bañagale and Joshua S. Duchan will ask Mr. Joel questions submitted by conference presenters and get his take on the inspiration, composition, and lasting impact of his music.

5:45-7:30 – Dinner On Your Own

7:30-9:00 – “Streetlife Serenader”: A Concert of Billy Joel’s Music

“Streetlife Serenader” is a song about making music on one’s own terms.  This concert of works from across Billy Joel’s career features arrangements for solo piano and guitar; vocal solo and chamber chorus; guitar quartet and bluegrass band.  Faculty, students, and friends of the Colorado College music department offer a dynamic--and at times unexpected--musical conclusion to the conference.

Return to conference page