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A Celebration of Romanticism in Music and the Visual Arts

October 7–October 9, 2023

Converse University
Spartanburg, South Carolina

About The Conference

The Ethos Publishing Group invites you to join us for a highly focused series of lectures, presentations, and discussions devoted to intellectual analyses of the visual arts and music by Objectivist philosophers, estheticians, artists, and performing musicians at Converse University in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

A Higher Potential...

"It is not abstract principles that a child learns from Romantic art, but the precondition and the incentive for the later understanding of such principles: the emotional experience of admiration for man's higher potential, the experience of looking up to a hero."

- Ayn Rand

(NOTE: Although all the speakers at Resurrecting Romanticism are supporters of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, this conference is not affiliated with the Ayn Rand Institute nor any other organization that advocates her ideas.) 



Conference Highlights

Harry Binswanger is the keynote speaker.

Harry Binswanger

Dr. Harry Binswanger is the Conference Keynote Speaker, appearing at our Banquet on October 8. He will explore Ayn Rand's hypothesis explaining the communicative power of music expressed in her brilliant essay “Art and Cognition,” and explore its relationship to her famous description of art: "A selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments." 
Note: A banquet ticket must be purchased to attend this event.



October 7

9:00 a.m

Welcoming remarks by David Berry, Madeleine McEntire, and Stephen Siek.

9:15 a.m

Dianne Durante, "Romanticism and Painting."

Dr. Durante will show how to get from the visual to the verbal, and demonstrate how free will can be shown in paintings.

10:45 a.m

Sandra Shaw presents Romantic Sculpture in the Nineteenth Century. She is currently writing a sequel to her highly successful Windows on Humanity

12:15 p.m


1:30 p.m

David Berry explains a new theory of Musical Esthetics. 

"Architecture is Frozen Music" 

3:00 p.m

Quent and Linda Cordair,

"Romantic Realism in the 21st Century: A New Perspective on Making the Most out of an Art Gallery Visit, On-line or In Person"


Visit the Cordair Gallery at

7:30 p.m

An Evening of Romantic Chamber Music

Alan August, tenor; Allegra Durante, soprano; Thomas Shoebotham, cello; Stephen Siek, piano

Works to include:

Selected songs by Rachmaninoff and Schumann sung by Alan August


Rachmaninoff's Vocalise sung by Allegra Durante (with string accompaniment)

A Romantic Cello work performed by Thomas Shoebotham,

The Piano Quintet, Op. 44, by Robert Schumann, featuring Thomas Shoebotham and Stephen Siek.


October 8

9:00 a.m

Stephen Siek, "Sergei Rachmaninoff, the Romantic Intransigent"

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943), this is a sequel to a talk given by Dr. Siek at the 2019 OCON: "Sergei Rachmaninoff and the Sunset of Musical Romanticism"

10:45 a.m

Thomas Shoebotham, "Paganini and the Virtuoso Tradition"

Nicolo Paganini was the most celebrated and notorious violinist of the 19th century. His achievements as a virtuoso set new standards in instrumental playing, and were an inspiration to numerous subsequent performers and composers, such as Liszt, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, and many others. This presentation, which includes recorded and live musical presentations, will examine the life and technical innovations of this unique figure, who wrote and performed works that are still regarded today as among the most challenging pieces in violin literature. 

12:15 p.m


1:30 p.m

John Gillis, "The Guardian Angel of Romanticism: Ayn Rand"


Ayn Rand espoused an intense Romantic vision of life and the arts.  She practiced that in her own fiction.  She theorized about it in her non-fiction esthetic writings.  This core feature of her life and thought will be explored and compared to other views of Romanticism.

3:00 p.m

Panel Discussion:

"Nurturing the New Romantics"

David Berry, Dianne Durante, Sandra Shaw, Thomas Shoebotham, Stephen Siek,  and Quent Cordair, moderator

As Ayn Rand observed nearly 60 years ago, "With very rare (and partial) exceptions, Romanticism is non-existent in today's literature." Regrettably, the same claim could be made about today's painting, sculpture, and music, for only a philosophic revolution can transform a culture. But what would a rational curriculum look like in today's universities, art and music schools? These questions will be explored by our panel of experts.

5:30 p.m.


(Cocktails at 5:30; Dinner served at 6)

Harry Binswanger, Keynote Speaker

Topic: TBA


October 9

9:00 a.m

Special Columbus Day Presentation

Celebrating Romantic Painting and Sculpture from the Chicago World's Fair on the 130th Anniversary of the World's Columbian Exposition


Dianne Durante and Sandra Shaw on Romantic Painting and Sculpture from the World's Columbian Exposition.

10:45 a.m

Thomas Shoebotham and Stephen Siek on the music from the World's Columbian Exposition, both Classical and Popular.

12:15 p.m

Lunch & Panel Beginning at 12:30 p.m

1:30 p.m

Panel Discussion and Symposium

Point and Counterpoint
"The Problems of Musical Meaning and the Pathway to their Solutions"

Music has long been considered the most elusive of art forms to understand and appreciate its relationship to reality. After the experts assembled explore these issues, members of the audience will be invited to ask questions.

David Berry, Harry Binswanger, Lee Pierson, Thomas Shoebotham, Stephen Siek


This event begins at 12:30, and will be somewhat informal. A complimentary box lunch will be offered to those attending.

3:00 p.m

"O. Henry’s To Him Who Waits: Revisiting the Source"

In a talk to accompany the original opera for which we have all been waiting, Dr. Milgram explores the meaning, content, title, and original context of this story, first published in Collier’s on January 23, 1909. The subtitle: “The Awakening of the Hermit on the Mountain Top Who Smiled in His Beard" presented by Shoshana Milgram.

4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Book Signing

Our Objectivist speakers and authors will be happy to sign copies of their publications in our Merchandise Room.

7:30 p.m

An Evening of Romantic Opera with Orchestra

Performers to include:

Allegra Durante, soprano
Alan August, tenor
David Berry, conductor
Thomas Shoebotham, conductor

Scheduled selections:


An orchestral overture conducted by Thomas Shoebotham

Donizetti: "Prendi ... Il mio rigor dimentica" from L'elisir d'Amore, Allegra Durante, soprano

Tchaikovsky: "Lensky's Aria" from Eugene Onegin, Alan August, tenor

Bernstein and Sondheim: "Tonight" from West Side Story, Allegra Durante and Alan August

Thomas Shoebotham, conductor

To Him Who Waits (Opera in one act)

Allegra Durante as "Beatrix"

Alan August as "Bob"

(Other principals TBA)

David Berry, conductor

Music by David Berry; Libretto by O. Henry and Ralph Rivera

Event venue recital hall


Most events will occur in the elegant and spacious Daniel Recital Hall in Converse's Petrie School of Music (pictured at left), including opera and chamber music performed by highly trained, professional musicians.

Lodging and Banquet

Spartanburg's beautiful, newly remodeled Four Points by Sheraton, 9027 Fairforest Road, Spartanburg, SC, 29301 (864) 707-4700, is the official Conference hotel, where rooms may be obtained at a special discounted rate. A block of 30 rooms (15 with King-sized and 15 with Queen-sized beds) has been reserved, and our attendees may receive the special Converse rate of $129 a night plus tax. The Four Points is just minutes away from the Converse campus, and it's also close to downtown Spartanburg, with the area's best dining, shopping, and entertainment. 

Located 16 miles from Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP), the Hotel features an indoor heated pool and a state-of-the-art the fitness center. The Four Points professional staff is always ready to assist you, and their 200 guest rooms (including 80 junior suites) offer everything you need, plus free extras like high speed internet access, bottled water, and in-room coffee. The Oak 1831 Kitchen & Bar opens at 6 am daily for breakfast, and dinner is served from 5 to 10 pm. The Hotel is also within walking distance to the Spartanburg Cracker Barrel.

The Four Points will also host our Banquet on Sunday evening, October 8. The cash bar will open at 5:30, and dinner will be served at 6. Prior to Dr. Binswanger's keynote speech, we'll be treated to a

Southern Comfort Buffet, which offers favorites like Southern Fried Chicken, Southern-style green beans, and classic macaroni and cheese, as well as other choices like roast beef  au jus and cornbread. Peach cobbler and sweet tea round out this offering of traditional Southern hospitality.

Reservation Dates

(The preferred room rate will be offered several days before and after the Conference dates)

Start Date: Thursday, October 5, 2023

End Date: Thursday, October 12, 2023

Last Day to Book: Wednesday, September 6, 2023