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!

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Young People’s Guides to the Orchestra

When 1400 fourth graders arrived at the UI School of Music for an orchestra concert in October, they met an ensemble with whom they had already been introduced. That introduction was made by PhD student Megan Small and UI music librarian Katie Buehner, who produced two short videos specially tailored for the program and its fourth-grade audience. Working with a very tight schedule, Megan and Katie filmed members of the orchestra, presented commentary on the featured composers and compositions, and gathered orchestral recordings from the University of Iowa’s audio archive. Teachers shared the videos with their classes before the concert, thereby giving students a personalized and engaging encounter with their local orchestra. Megan and Katie’s contributions to the event served a key role within an exciting partnership between area public schools and UI’s School of Music.

 

Welcoming new faculty

The Music Theory and Musicology areas recently welcomed two new faculty members: Dr. Daniel J. Thompson and Dr. Sarah Suhadolnik. Among their wide-ranging teaching and research initiatives, both share interests in jazz history and contemporary performance. We are thrilled to have them join the UI community, and we look forward to sharing updates on their work in the future.

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Sarah Suhadolnik joins the faculty at the University of Iowa as a scholar and teacher of American music, with special interests in jazz and popular music. She has presented papers at national and international conferences, including the American Musicological Society, the Society for American Music, the American Studies Association, and the International Musicological Society. Her publications include articles in The Grove Dictionary of American Music, 2nd Edition, and a study of the contemporary singer-songwriter Adele featured in the 2016 Cambridge Companion to the Singer-Songwriter. She has also served as a member of the editorial staff for both the Music of the United States of America series and the University of Michigan Gershwin Initiative, and acted as the managing editorial assistant for the Journal of Historical Research in Music Education (2015-2017). Suhadolnik’s teaching has been recognized by the University of Michigan (Glenn McGeoch Memorial Scholarship in Musicology), and includes extensive experience as a teaching consultant.

Suhadolnik received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, where her dissertation, Navigating Jazz: Music, Place, and New Orleans, was supported in part by the Lillian A. Ives Graduate Student Fellowship at the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities, and is currently under contract with University of Michigan Press. Before joining the faculty at the University of Iowa in 2011, she taught at Michigan and Western Michigan University.

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Daniel J. Thompson joined the University of Iowa School of Music in August of 2017 as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Theory. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in music theory and analysis—including courses in the undergraduate musicianship sequence, tonal analysis (Caplin), atonal theory, and fundamentals of music for non-majors.

Daniel received the Ph.D. in Music Theory and Composition from Florida State University in 2017 with a dissertation that recontextualizes the semiotic theories associated with musical “topics” (inferred style references taken as symbols of cultural themes) within hard bop—a widely celebrated Afro-modernist movement in American jazz (c. 1954–65). As a graduate assistant in both music theory and jazz studies at Florida State, Daniel taught undergraduate courses in music theory, aural skills, and jazz piano. He studied composition with Ladislav Kubík, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, and Robert Mueller; digital music and computation with Mark Wingate and Clifton Callender; and jazz piano with Bill Peterson.

As a scholar, Daniel’s eclectic theoretical interests largely intersect with semiotics (sign systems), psychoanalytic theory, and cultural criticism. He has given talks at the national meetings of the Society for Music Theory (SMT) and the Semiotic Society of America (SSA), as well as several regional and graduate-student music conferences. His review of William Echard’s Psychedelic Popular Music: A History through Musical Topic Theory is forthcoming in Popular Music, and an article related to his dissertation is currently in peer review.

As a composer, Daniel’s work has been performed at the Dimenna Center for Classical Music and Spectrum (both in New York City) and at the Secret Theatre in Long Island City, NY. His miniature summoning a skeleton specter was performed by clarinetist Thomas Piercy and pianist Yusuke Satoh in the “Tokyo to New York” concert series (Tokyo, 2014); remnants—a work for clarinet and live electronics—premiered in 2017 at Florida State University’s Eighteenth Biennial Festival of New Music. Daniel’s ongoing creative work largely consists of electronic music (typically a blend of real-time synthesis, live processing, and sample manipulation in SuperCollider or Max/MSP)—taking the form of sound installations, works with live choreography, improvisations, and fixed media. Outside of the digital realm, Daniel also remains active as a jazz-piano soloist.

 

The Musical Thought and Spiritual Lives of Heinrich Schenker and Arnold Schoenberg by Matthew Arndt now published

The Musical Thought and Spiritual Lives of Heinrich Schenker and Arnold Schoenberg by Matthew Arndt, Associate Professor of Music Theory at the University of Iowa School of Music, has just been published by Routledge, the world’s leading academic publisher in the humanities and social sciences. The book is one of the first volumes of the series Ashgate Studies in Music After 1900. Daniel K. L. Chua, Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Music at The University of Hong Kong and President of the International Musicological Society, writes of the book: “Schenker and Schoenberg – often regarded as polar opposites who embody a fissure in the history of Western music and the collapse of a common language – are brilliantly reevaluated in Matthew Arndt’s scholarly debut. Through a meticulous analysis of notated and written sources and a virtuosic interplay of disciplines and methods, Arndt delves beneath the surface of the usual narrative to sound out the musical thought and spiritual beliefs that shape the theory and music of both thinkers. As a result, what modern scholarship has divided is reintegrated, not only by melding the technical and metaphysical elements to illumine each other, but by drawing Schoenberg and Schenker so tightly together that, like repellent magnets held in tension, their proximity reveals the secret of the other’s meaning. This is a bold, brave, brilliant book.” To order a copy, click here.

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Wilson Kimber in Washington Post

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Amy Beach (Courtesy of UNH Library, Dimond Special Collections)

Professor of Musicology Marian Wilson Kimber was interviewed by the Associated Press about the 150th anniversary of the birthday of composer Amy Beach, and her  comments appeared in an article in the Washington Post. Wilson Kimber was one of multiple scholars from American, Mexico, Chile, and Venezuela, who spoke at the American Women Pianist-Composers conference celebrating Amy Beach and Teresa Carreño, hosted by the University of New Hampshire on September 15-16. The University’s Milne Library and Dimond Special Collections houses the papers of Amy Beach and presented an exhibition of rare Beach materials in conjunction with the conference. Beach was the first American female composer to be successful in composing large forms, including her Gaelic Symphony. Wilson Kimber presented her research into Beach’s appearances at the White House in 1934 and 1936 in recitals for First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, along with other women composers from the National League of American Pen Women.

Summer Highlights

In the spring, Jessica Kizzire and Greg Newbold successfully defended their graduate documents. Greg’s master’s thesis explores serial procedures in Benjamin Frankel’s music for the Hammer cult film, Curse of the Werewolf (1961). In her doctoral dissertation, Jessica Kizzire contemplates musical adaptations of Lewis Carroll’s Alice novels, with special emphasis placed on film and ballet. Congratulations to both on these major accomplishments!

Cody Norling spent time at the State Historical Society of Iowa researching the cultivation of music in Iowa City in the nineteenth century, specifically the efforts of early Iowa settler Robert Hutchinson. This topic is the subject of a paper to be given at the American Musicological Society Midwest Chapter meeting in September. He also wrote a book review for The Annals of Iowa.

This summer, Andrew Tubbs traveled to Denver and Washington, D.C., to conduct research in preparation for two conference papers. While in Washington, he visited the Library of Congress to work with the Aaron Copland collection for a project about Copland’s music for the film Of Mice and Men. Additionally, he was named Artistic Director for Combined Efforts, an all-ability artist group in Iowa City.

Nathan Platte presented on the symphonic score to The Wizard of Oz at the “Music and the Moving Image” conference, hosted annually at NYU. From there, he hopped the pond to the University of Huddersfield, where he participated in the international symposium “Sources and Archives in Screen Sound Studies.” Nathan served on the program committee and also contributed a presentation titled “Resonant Spaces or Echo Chambers? Listening to Hollywood’s Music Through Its Archives.”

Marian Wilson Kimber visited the FDR Presidential Library and Museum to examine the music sent by American citizens to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt during the Great Depression.  In June she appeared with pianist Natalie Landowski, performing spoken-word compositions by Phyllis Fergus at the 120th anniversary celebration of the founding of the National League of American Pen Women in Washington, D.C. Wilson Kimber’s article about Fergus, who became the first musician president of the Pen Women in 1936, was published in their magazine.

With assistance from the University of Iowa School of Music and International Programs, Matthew Arndt presented a paper on modernism and organicism in Alban Berg’s Piano Sonata, op. 1, at the Music Theory Midwest Twenty-Eighth Annual Conference in Iowa City and at the Ninth European Music Analysis Conference in Strasbourg, France. He also corrected proofs for his book, The Musical Thought and Spiritual Lives of Heinrich Schenker and Arnold Schoenberg, coming out next month.

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Village of Obernai, France

Christine Getz Awarded Delmas Foundation Grant

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Professor Christine Getz was awarded a 2017 Venetian Programs Grant from the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to support research in Venice and Padova for the project, “Venetian Investors, Spanish Clients, and the Milanese Music Prints of Lomazzo and Tini.”  The research is part of a larger study of the investments, economic relationships, and marketing strategies of the printing houses of , the heirs of Simone Tini and Filippo Lomazzo, and the family Tradate, all prolific publishers of printed music books in early modern Milan.With the support of the Delmas Grant, Prof. Getz will examine notarial documents housed in the Archivio di Stato in Venice pertaining to business transactions between Venetian printers and vendors and the Tini and Tradate families. She also will study the only extant copy of a Lomazzo print recently acquired by the Conservatorio “Cesare Pollini” in Padova.

On the Road: Spring Conferences

DSC_3331+2.jpgThe spring conference season has been an especially active one for Iowans this year. The majority of the musicology faculty and students have been on the road at least once to present their research. Doctoral student Kelsey McGinnis presented “The Purest Pieces of Home: German POWs Making German Music in America” in Montréal at the Society for American Music meeting. Master’s students Andrew Tubbs and Arthur Scoleri also traveled to present papers, Tubbs at the conference Music and Action held at UCLA, where he gave “Reclaiming Their History: a Disabled Re-positioning of Cabaret.” Scoleri spoke on “Alcina and the Illusory Heart: Exploring Gender and Emotion in G.F. Handel’s Opera Seria” at NCounters: Engaging Music Research + Practice, held in Edmonton, Alberta. Two musicology students presented papers at the Midwest Graduate Music Consortium at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Master’s student C.A. Norling gave “An Atmosphere of the West: Highlighting the Exotic in Puccini’s La fanciulla del west,” and Tubbs presented “Cripface: Overcoming Disability and Finding a Musical Voice in The King’s Speech.”

Closer to home, two Iowa faculty members and one student presented papers at the spring meeting of the Midwest Chapter of the American Musicological Society, held at Drake University on April 22.  Prof. Nathan Platte gave “‘Sounds Must Stir the Fantasy’: Underscore as Special Effect in The Wizard of Oz (1939),” and Prof. Marian Wilson Kimber’s paper was “Reciting Parsifal: Opera as Spoken Word Performance in America.” Kelsey McGinnis presented “‘Our thoughts were with those back home’: German POWs Making German Music in Iowa.”

The third annual Iowa Musicology Day took place on April 6 at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids and featured two Iowa faculty and four student presentations, including:

Jared Hedges, “George Crumb’s ‘Attitudes of Variation’ in Eine Kleine Mitternachtmusik

David Lim, “Programmatic Considerations in Julius Reubke’s Organ Sonata on Psalm 94”

Andrew Tubbs, “In Search of Balance: Inversional Symmetry, Tonal Problems, and Disability Aesthetics in Schoenberg’s ‘Valse de Chopin’”

Prof. Trevor Harvey appeared on the culminating panel for the day, “Strengths and Challenges in Teaching College-Level ‘Music Appreciation’ as General Education Courses,” speaking about his “Great Musicians” course for general education students at the University of Iowa.

The last week of April, Prof. Wilson Kimber traveled to the University of Delaware to speak about Felix Mendelssohn’s string quartets before the final performance of the complete cycle of quartets, including the Octet, performed by the Calidore Quartet with Delaware’s Seraphim Quartet. The same week, Prof. Platte was a guest speaker for the Musicology Colloquium at Northwestern University, where he presented “The Trouble with Onscreen Orchestrators: Progeny and Compositional Crisis in the Four Daughters Films.”

[Photo courtesy of 42N Observations]

 

Prahlad Singh Tipanya and the Kabir Singers

Supported by the World Music Initiative, the UI School of Music joins the UI South Asian Studies Program (SASP) in presenting an evening of Kabir songs by the award-winning Prahlad Singh Tipanya group. This event is free and open to the public and will be held on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall of the Voxman Music BuildingPrahlad Singh Tipanya and the Kabir Singers

Prahlad Singh Tipanya and his team will sing the poetry of Kabir, the great iconoclastic mystic of North India, in the vigorous and joyful folk style of Madhya Pradesh’s Malwa region. From his beginning as a village schoolteacher with no musical background, Mr. Tipanya has risen to receive the Padma Shri award, one of the highest honors bestowed by the Indian government. During the concert, Linda Hess, a leading scholar and translator of Kabir, will present translations of the powerful poetry that the musicians will sing.

Prahlad Singh Tipanya is one of the most popular and highly honored folk singers of North India. He lives in Lunyakhedi village, near Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, where he was born in 1954. Playing the 5-stringed tambura and percussive kartal as he sings, he will be joined by five fellow musicians who play dholak (two-headed drum), violin, harmonium, and small finger-cymbals while accompanying him in singing. The “Kabir singers” toured the US in 2003 and 2009, to great acclaim. 

This event is sponsored by the South Asian Studies Program, International Programs, Stanley-UI Foundation Support Organization, India Association of Iowa City Area (IAICA), School of Music, Kala Mandali, and the Chief Diversity Office. 

Cody Norling wins opera paper award

New master’s student in musicology, Cody Norling, has won the National Opera Association’s 2016 Scholarly Paper Competition for “Puccini’s Grotesque West: Exoticism and Appropriating in La fanciulla del west.”  He has been invited to read his paper at the NOA’s  annual convention in Santa Barbara, California, in January 2017 and to publish his paper in its getfileattachmentOpera Journal.  Cody’s paper addresses American Indian depictions in Puccini’s Gold Rush drama, La fanciulla del west. In doing so, he highlights the opera’s two indigenous characters, Wowkle and Billy Jackrabbit, and compares their portrayal to the setting’s historical realities. He concludes that their text and music have little connection to the composer’s attempted authenticities but rather rely solely on a stereotyped exotic image.