New exhibits from Dr. Suhadolnik’s classes open in Voxman and online

During the Fall 2018 term, Dr. Sarah Suhadolnik worked with students from two of her courses to create exhibits grounded in locally-oriented research. Designed in collaboration with music librarian Katie Buehner, both exhibits are now open at the Voxman Music Building and feature companion websites hosted through the Rita Benton Music Library blog.

exploring our sounds.jpgExploring Our Sounds: Traditions of American Music Making at the University of Iowa

What is American Music? What does the idea of “American” music making mean for different University of Iowa artists and audiences?

In what ways have University of Iowa musicians, audiences, conductors, critics, and historians contributed to the musical identity of the United States? In what ways might they do so in the future?

The students of the Fall 2018 offering of the graduate musicology seminar in American music invite you to consider these questions as they relate to the place of American music in the past, present, and future of the University of Iowa School of Music.

The “Exploring Our Sounds” exhibit, which is on display throughout the Spring 2019 semester on the first floor of the Voxman Music Building, showcases our responses to these questions. Throughout the semester, we will be posting on the objects and themes of this exhibit in greater depth. Lisa Mumme (MA, musicology) has already contributed a post on Ernst Krenek’s Symphonic Elegy, performed by the UI Symphony Orchestra in 1965.

In Our Lives: The Beatles Yesterday and Today

panel 3 from the in our lives exhibitsIN OUR LIVES was designed in the Fall 2018 offering of Donna’s “World of The Beatles” course. Participating students studied her materials–donated in Donna’s name to the Rita Benton Music Library–and worked together to flesh out the different themes that now define their multimedia, multidirectional account of the enduring legacy of The Beatles that stretches across each fin. The exhibit design is a tribute to the rich learning experiences Donna created for University of Iowa students, and a preview of the valuable learning experiences her collection will support for years to come.

 

 

Matthew Arndt presents on The Dark Side of Oz in New Zealand, Canada

With assistance from the University of Iowa School of Music and International Programs, Matthew Arndt presented a paper entitled “The Dark Side of Oz as Allegory of Spiritual Transformation” at the annual meetings of the New Zealand Musicological Society at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch and the Society for Christian Scholarship in Music at St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto. According to Arndt, “The Dark Side of Oz, the mashup of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz, has established itself as an inspiring work of art, giving rise to live shows as well as new music and art. It is also a decidedly open work, having no identifiable author and no generic conventions. Faced with these interpretive challenges, scholars have hardly examined the phenomenon in artistic terms at all, with the exception of John Richardson. […] This study adopts the premise that the meaningfulness of the mashup is grounded […] in its affordance of a conceptual blending of the album’s musical-lyrical content with the film’s narrative. […] As a prism selectively activates color, so the album serendipitously activates elements in the film to present an allegory of spiritual transformation that closely matches the analysis of this process in St. Theophan the Recluse’s magisterial The Path to Salvation.”

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Faculty Activities: Extreme Winter Weather Edition

Even midst snow, slush, and more snow, there are publications, presentations, and podcasts to share and celebrate. Enjoy here some of the recent work from the faculty.

Journal of the Society for American Music Volume 12 - Issue 4 -

Marian Wilson Kimber’s research on women composers’ concerts at the White House during the 1930s is featured in the current issue of the Journal of the Society for American Music (12:4). Her article illuminates the role of the National League of American Pen Women, who supported “a substantial agenda proposed by Phyllis Fergus, its music director and later president, to achieve national recognition for its composer members.”

Sarah Suhadolnik journeyed to Dublin in January to present her paper, “Placing the Music of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band” at the international Documenting Jazz conference. In this talk, Sarah uses “the Preservation Hall Jazz Band as the basis for a new theory of musical remodelling, a concept that relates music to place, and place to music, as a means of sustaining a sense of cultural permanence.”

Nathan Platte’s book, Making Music in Selznick’s Hollywood (Oxford University Press, 2018), was just named an “Outstanding Academic Title of 2018” by Choice. His new book project on Robert Wise is profiled here by the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, where Nathan served as a fellow-in-residence.

Trevor Harvey, founding editor of the Ethnomusicology Today podcast, just released the ninth episode, “Performative Ecology in Micronesia.” In this episode Dr. Brian Diettrich “explores the concept of performative ecology in his discussion of ótoomey (summoning breadfruit) and ocean wayfinding and voyaging songs in the islands of Chuuk. Through his study of both historical and present-day musical performances in Chuuk, Diettrich explains how knowledge about social, spiritual, and environmental connectivity is bound up in musical performances.”

National Opera Association Recognition

Image result for angela peraltaLisa Mumme (MA, Musicology) won the National Opera Association’s 2018 Scholarly Paper Competition with her paper, “‘Angelica di voce’: Ángela Peralta as Nineteenth-Century Diva.” Lisa will present her paper at the NOA’s annual conference in Salt Lake City in January 2019 and the piece will appear in The Opera Journal in December 2019. Lisa’s achievement marks the third time an Iowa student has won the competition. Previous winners include alumnus Jared Hedges (MA, Composition) and PhD student Cody Norling (Musicology). Congratulations, Lisa!

Highlights from the fall season

The first half of the semester has been especially productive. Here are a few of the activities that students and faculty have been pursuing:

Dr. Marian Wilson Kimber has received a grant from the State Historical Society of Iowa for her research into Iowa women’s clubs promotion of the music of Iowa composers in the early twentieth century.  She was interviewed about her research for an issue of The Little Village. In September Wilson Kimber presented a paper, “American Women’s Concerts and the Idea of a Middlebrow Canon” at the “Musicology Now” conference: “The Idea of the Canon in the 21st Century Canon,” held at Smith College.

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Dr. Matthew Arndt recently attended a première performance of Heaven and Earth, a collaborative choral composition commissioned by the St. John of Damascus Society and part of the Psalm 103 project. The idea of the project is that “a setting of the Vespers psalm, collaborated on by six different Orthodox composers, will be performed and recorded by Cappella Romana, and then be used as the basis for a film project that will be an Orthodox meditation on science and faith.” The composers are Matthew Arndt, John Michael Boyer, Alexander Khalil, Kurt Sander, Richard Toensing, and Tikey Zes. The program also featured the première of Dr. Arndt’s setting of The Jesus Prayer, interpreted by one listener as an expression of postmodern spirituality, by another as an expression of apophatic theology.

Several graduate students also shared recent research at fall conferences. Cody Norling presented “The Touchtone (1728) Revisited: James Ralph and the Polemical Politics in Early-Eighteenth-Century London,” at the Midwestern chapter of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Andrew Tubbs contributed to the “Broadway Bodies” conference at Washington University in St. Louis with a paper on eugenics and disability in Oklahoma! The AMS Midwest conference featured multiple speakers from Iowa: Lisa Mumme spoke about onscreen musical performance in Mad Max, and Sarah Lucas (Ph.D. 2018, now at Drake University) gave a talk on Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra.

Several new publications from faculty and students are also now available. Dr. Trevor Harvey released a new episode in the Ethnomusicology Today podcast series on embodying air guitar. In it, he speaks with scholars Sydney Hutchinson and Byrd McDaniel. Cody Norling’s introduction to a facsimile reprint of Spontini’s Julie, overture is out from Musikproduktion Hoeflich. Dr. Platte has two new articles out as well. One is on “unheard” music and musicians from Gone With the Wind, published in The Southern Quarterly. He has also contributed a chapter on music and special effects to the brand-new anthology, Adapting The Wizard of Oz: Musical Versions from Baum to MGM and Beyond (OUP, 2018).

 

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.

 

 

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