Early Summer Updates

The Conference Scene

Students and faculty have already contributed to a variety of conferences this summer.

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MA student Cody Norling gave a paper at the Fourth Annual Midwest History Conference titled “‘R.Hutchinson, Iowa City’: A Case of Musical Cultivation in Nineteenth Century Iowa.” It was reportedly the largest gathering of Midwest historians since the 1930s!

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MA student Andrew Tubbs presented research related to his thesis at the annual Song, Stage and Screen conference at UCLA. His paper was titled “Sumpin’ Wrong Inside Him: Ethnicity, Disability, and Eugenics in Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

 

Both Ph.D. candidate Megan Small and Dr. Nathan Platte attended the annual Music and the Moving Image conference at New York University. Megan presented a paper titled “Animal Sounds for Human Audiences: The Music of Koneko Monogatari and The Adventures of Milo and Otis.” Dr. Platte chaired multiple panels and gave a paper on jazz and constructions of authenticity in the capital punishment film, I Want to Live!

New Teaching Opportunities

During the spring 2018 semester, Ph.D. candidate Kelsey McGinnis taught a new course, “Topics in Human Rights: Archives and Activism,” as part of the Provost’s Global Forum and Obermann Humanities Symposium, “Against Amnesia: Archives, Evidence, and Social Justice.”

20170824_obermann_againstamnesia_webbanner_light1.pngThe course, designed for undergraduate students from all majors and programs of study, introduced students to physical and digital archives and to archivists, activists, and scholars who utilize archival material to promote social justice locally and globally. Kelsey also curated a collection of sources related to archival research and social justice, which can be found here. Kelsey’s participation and teaching was supported by a HASTAC Fellowship awarded by the UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.

Other students and alumni are preparing new courses for the fall. Ph.D. candidate Sarah Lucas will work as a music history instructor at Drake University for the 2018-19 academic year. Ph.D. candidate Michele Aichele will teach music history courses at Texas A&M University and the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. Dr. Jessica Kizzire (UI 2017) will start a new teaching appointment at the University of New Haven.

Public Musicology

Dr. Marian Wilson Kimber’s research on (and performance of) elocutionists and their music was recently featured in an interview with Iowa Public Radio host Barney Sherman. The full interview with musical excerpts is available on the IPR site here.

 

 

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Going Beyond Genre on Basin Street: Dr. Suhadolnik Presents at Case Western Reserve University Center for Popular Music Studies Conference

Dr. Sarah Suhadolnik was among the presenters who gathered in Cleveland, Ohio for the “Beyond Genre: Jazz as Popular Music” conference at Case Western Reserve University in April. The conference was convened to explore “the middle ground between popular music and new jazz studies.” The program featured papers by David Brackett, Sherrie Tucker, and other scholars from the fields of jazz and popular music studies, and considered a diverse array of musical voices, ranging from the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Fred Astaire, and Bing Crosby to NG La Banda, Solange Knowles, and Jason Moran. Pianist and composer David Ake and collaborators Ralph Alessi, Ben Monder, Drew Gress, and Mark Ferber closed the proceedings with brand new jazz/popular music, treating conference participants to music from their new release, Humanities

Dr. Suhadolnik’s talk, “Friendly Meetings Abroad: Navigating Geographies of Genre on Basin Street,” used the 2018 “United We Swing” release (see link above) by New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Wynton Marsalis Septet as a springboard for her place-based examination of popular arrangements of Spencer Williams’s “Basin Street Blues,” a tin-pan-alley-hit-turned-jazz-standard. Drawing from her book project, Navigating Jazz: Music, Place, and New Orleans, individual case studies—the 2007 duet rendition of “Basin Street Blues,” recorded by Wynton Marsalis and Willie Nelson, as well as arrangements recorded by Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, and Eric San (a.k.a. DJ Kid Koala)—demonstrated the ways in which differing notions of New Orleans as musical place have inflected the popular reception of recordings of “Basin Street Blues” with divisive notions of, and about, New Orleans music. In this vein, Suhadolnik’s presentation traced the connections between the varied representation of New Orleans in popular music, and the larger, multifaceted construction of New Orleans as an important “jazz city”.

Aaron S. Allen presents on “Musical Trees,” April 27

Aaron S. Allen

Aaron S. Allen is director of the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program and Associate Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he also served as the institution’s first Academic Sustainability Coordinator. A fellow of the American Academy in Rome, he earned his Ph.D. from Harvard in 2006 with a dissertation on the nineteenth-century Italian reception of Beethoven. His B.A. in music and B.S. in environmental studies are from Tulane University. Aaron has published on campus sustainability, Beethoven reception, and ecomusicology. He is co-editor with Kevin Dawe of the collection Current Directions in Ecomusicology (Routledge 2016).

“Musical Trees”

Fundamental to the sound of Western art music, the violin family forms the backbone of most ensembles from chamber to stage. Professional violins depend on at least two endemic natural resources: Italian spruce for the soundboards, and Brazilian pernambuco for the bows. The highest quality bows are made of only wild-grown pernambuco (pau brasil) from Brazil’s Atlantic Coastal Forest. Pau brasil was so important that European colonial powers warred over it with each other and with indigenous peoples; eventually, the country Brazil was named after the wood. Today, the tree is nearly extinct: 8% of the original forest is extant, and only 5% of pernambuco habitat remains. But Italian red spruce has fared better in the unusual Alpine microclimate of the Val di Fiemme’s Paneveggio Forest. The species is widely distributed, but Paneveggian spruce makes excellent resonance wood for soundboards, which has contributed to the renown of this “forest of violins.” Despite various threats during the past millennium, Fiemmesi traditions have preserved the forest; today, more trees grow than loggers harvest, and musicians regularly make pilgrimages to their sacred groves in the Paneveggio. The values accorded to musical traditions and the instruments necessary for them can reverberate through individual tree species to particular forests. Western art music, an endangered (if elite) tradition that might need preservation, contributes both to threatening and to protecting the unique resources on which it depends. In other words, our aesthetic choices have ethical ramifications that impact the world in negative and positive ways.

 

Iowa Musicology Day on April 14

PhD students win award and fellowship

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Camp Algona Branch Band

Two musicology Ph.D. students have received special recognition for their ongoing research. Kelsey McGinnis accepted a Graduate Research Excellence Award from UI’s Research Council and Graduate College. Cited by the selection committee for her highly original work, Kelsey is writing a dissertation on the role of music in the U.S. military’s reeducation program for German POWs during WWII.

Hang Nguyen, whose dissertation explores the use of social media by American orchestras and opera companies, received a Ballard and Seashore Dissertation Fellowship. This competitive fellowship from UI’s Graduate College provides funding for students who are completing their dissertations.

Hearty congratulations to Hang and Kelsey!

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Anne Leonard to Speak on Romantic Iconography

Wednesday, March 21, 4 pm, in Vox 2. In cooperation with the European Studies program of the University of Iowa, the Musicology and Music Theory Colloquium will present a special lecture by Anna Leonard, Lecturer and curator Curator of European Art at the Smart Museum of Art of the University of Chicago. Leonard specializes in 19th-century European art, particularly that of France and Belgium. Her research interests include Symbolism and Wagnerism, attention and modes of aesthetic experience, time in painting, and nationalism and internationalism. A primary area of scholarly focus has been the relations between visual art and music, which are the subject of a book she co-edited with musicologist Tim Shephard, The Routledge Companion to Music and Visual Culture (2014), the first comprehensive reference work in this field. She has published six exhibition catalogues at the Smart Museum, chapters in several edited volumes, and an article in the Art Bulletin.  Leonard’s presentation is entitled “Present at the Creation: The Romantic Iconography of the Turned Canvas,” and the abstract follows.

Abstract: This paper addresses the motif of the turned canvas or canvas seen from the back, found in certain portraits of artists at work c. 1810–25, as a manifestation of Romantic theories of the work of art. The turned canvas invited beholders to complete the concealed work of art in their imaginations, just as artistic creation itself was viewed at the time as a largely internal process rather than a physical or manual one. My presentation explores the implications of these ideas for Romantic representations of artists at work. It pays special consideration to what were perceived to be the raw materials of creative inspiration, not just for painters but for composers as well. Evidence shows that the conception of painting as an imitation of nature—prevalent in classical aesthetics from the Renaissance onward, and particularly the seventeenth century—underwent significant revision in the Romantic period, drawing closer to non-mimetic processes of musical creation. The phenomenon of Beethoven portraiture is brought in to show how understandings of his compositional process not only influenced the representation of pictorial artists but also encouraged a redefinition of the work of art, following musical paradigms, as something essentially immaterial and even invisible.

Musicology takes road trip to SAM

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Andrew Tubbs, Arthur Scoleri, C. A. Norling, Dr. Sarah Suhadolnik, and Lisa Mumme, ready to hit the road for SAM

Musicology students and faculty attended the annual meeting of the Society for American Music, held in Kansas City, February 28 through March 4.  Professor Sarah Suhadolnik appeared as a speaker for a workshop, organized by the Committee on the Conference, entitled “Strategies for Designing, Doing, and Discussing Digital Humanities Projects.”  Professor Marian Wilson Kimber, along with doctoral piano student Natalie Landowski, presented a  lecture-recital, “In a Woman’s Voice: Spoken-Word Compositions by American Women.”  The recital highlighted compositions discussed in her recent book, The Elocutionists: Women, Music, and the Spoken Word (University of Illinois Press, 2017).  At the student lunch and business meeting, master’s student Andrew Tubbs was elected co-chair of SAM’s student forum for the upcoming year.  Congratulations Andrew! 

Alumna Now Music Librarian at Alabama

Katherine E. Ramsey, MA in Musicology (2015), has taken a position as the Research and Instructional Librarian for Music, the Arts, and the Performing Arts at Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library at the University of Alabama. Ms. Ramsey recently received a Master of Science degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She also holds bachelor’s degrees in flute and English. Ms. Ramsey has a special interest in fostering information literacy in the digital age.

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Winter updates: a job, an article, a podcast, and a book

Photograph of the South West corner of the State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City Offices, 402 Iowa Ave., Iowa City, IA 52240 - 319-335-3935

Hang Nguyen, a Ph.D. candidate in Musicology, was recently hired to work as an assistant librarian at the State Historical Society in Iowa City. Thus far, Hang’s duties have included working with an author to acquire materials for a forthcoming book, helping colleagues prepare for the Archives Crawl event on February 24th, 2018, assisting patrons with genealogy and Iowa history queries, and compiling finding aids and inventories for special collections materials. She is also writing her dissertation on the use of Twitter and Facebook Live in contemporary classical music events.

 

Katheryn Lawson’s article, “Girl Scout Contrafacta and Symbolic Soldiering in the Great War,” is featured in the most recent issue of American Music (Fall 2017). The research draws from her 2013 MA thesis in Musicology, “Little soldiers and orphans: musical childhoods lived and constructed in World War I.” Katheryn is now a Ph.D. student in American History and Museum Studies at the University of Delaware.

 

Dr. Trevor Harvey recently released his seventh episode for Ethnomusicology Today, a podcast that he hosts and produces for the Society of Ethnomusicology. In this episode, he interviews Dr. Maríe Abe on the mingling of Japanese chindon-ya (a musical advertising practice) and anti-nuclear power protests in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. You can listen to this episode and others from the series here.

 

 

Dr. Nathan Platte’s book Making Music in Selznick’s Hollywood was recently published by Oxford University Press. With the release, Nathan contributed a piece to the Oxford University Press blog: “Unanswered Questions in Gone With the Wind’s Main Title.” Special thanks to music librarian Katie Buehner, Dr. Sarah Suhadolnik, masters student Lisa Mumme, PhD student Megan Small, and Diane Platte, who offered editorial guidance.

Warren Sherk, Manager of Special
Collections for the research library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, has posted a review and author interview. Copies of the book are available at Prairie Lights.

 

Fall Conference Highlights

 

With Thanksgiving break just around the corner, it’s a good time to acknowledge the many contributions of our students and faculty at recent conferences.

In mid-October, music librarian Katie Buehner hosted Midwest MLA (Music Library Association) in the UI’s Voxman building.

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Music librarians from across the region turned out en masse to see the new music library and share presentations. Katie Buehner and her predecessor, Ruthann McTyre (now at Yale University), offered a vivid account of the music library’s tribulations and ultimate triumph following the destructive flood of 2008. In her talk, “The Rare and the Ordinary: Teaching Music History with Archives and Special Collections,” Dr. Marian Wilson Kimber reflected on different student-directed projects she has devised for graduate seminars. MA student Cody Norling served as “posterchild” for Wilson Kimber’s presentation by sharing (via poster) research he had developed under Wilson Kimber’s mentorship: “The Boston Glee Book in Iowa City: A Primary-Source Case Study Midwestern Musical Uplift.”

In addition to hosting visitors at home, faculty also journeyed abroad. Dr. Christine Getz presented on “The Last Years of the Tini Press” at the Società Italiana di Musicologia meeting in Lucca, Italy. Dr. Daniel Thompson went to Puebla, Mexico, to present a paper titled “A Reassessment of Nattiez’s Musical Semiology” at the annual Semiotic Society for America conference. In his presentation, Thompson offered a rereading of Jean-Jacques Nattiez’s musical semiology through Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, thereby exploring the ideological preconditions for the existence of “music.”

That same weekend, Dr. Trevor Harvey and MA student Andrew Tubbs attended the Society for Ethnomusicology conference in Denver. Drawing from recent ethnographic research, Andrew gave a paper on a Denver-based theatrical group: “A Phamaly Affair: Advocacy and Cultural Participation through a Disabled Repositioning of Cabaret.” Dr. Harvey attended the Publications Advisory Committee, where he represents the SEM podcast series (currently at six episodes, with a seventh forthcoming).

At the American Musicological Society meeting this November, PhD student Kelsey McGinnis presented a paper titled, “‘Americanism is to be plugged!’: Music, POW Reeducation, and the United States’s ‘Intellectual Diversion Program’ during World War II.” Dr. Wilson Kimber gave another presentation titled “Women Composers at the White House: Phyllis Fergus and the Concerts of the National League of American Pen Women.” Dr. Christine Getz served as a panelist on a special session titled “Musicology and Digital Technologies: Access, Sustainability, Education, and Scholarly Communication.” Drs. Sarah Suhadolnik and Nathan Platte served on the AMS Committee on the Publication of American Music, which functions as an advisory board for the Music of the United States of America (MUSA) series.

These are (it bears emphasizing) only a selection of recent activities. Congratulations and many thanks for everyone’s efforts and accomplishments!