Faculty Summer Research 2015

Musicology, Music Theory, and Composition faculty members have been hard at work during the summer months developing their scholarly and creative projects.

Ananuri, Georgia

Ananuri

Matthew Arndt (Music Theory) went on a trip to Georgia in order to learn more about Georgian music. In particular, Dr. Arndt took a Cultural Heritage Tour through western Georgia led by John Graham, an expert on Georgian music. He heard lots of folk and sacred music, and obtained various chant books and recordings. The picture at the left shows Ananuri, a castle on the Aragvi River in Georgia.

Michael Eckert (Composition and Theory) is celebrating the release of his new CD Brazilian Dreams: Music of Michael Eckert. The album features Dr. Eckert’s original compositions in the chôro style with performers the Unison Piano Duo, Amanda McCandless (clarinet), and Polina Khatsko (piano). A genre of Brazilian popular music that developed in Rio de Janeiro in the late nineteenth century, chôro has its roots in a performance style for social dances such as the polka, mazurka, waltz, and maxixe, combining harmonic and formal features of European music with Afro-Brazilian rhythms. The album is available on the MSR Classics website and on Amazon now (MS 1549), with the retail release scheduled for October 2015.

Lawrence Fritts (Composition) is performing micro-surgery on up-close recordings of a male theatre student’s dramatic speaking voice for a new piece.  He is also supervising a $70,000 major upgrade to the University of Iowa’s Electronic Music Studios, which are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.

Christine Getz (Musicology) spent significant time this summer doing archival research in Milan, Italy. There, she promoted her book chapter titled “Music in the 16th and 17th Centuries” in a history volume, A Companion to Late Medieval and Early Modern Milan: The Distinctive Features of an Italian State, edited by Andrea Gamerini and published by Brill, a publishing house known for its international focus. A formal, televised presentation of the book was held on June 8 at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, a historic library in Milan. A panel of well-known historians discussed the importance of the book and its content. The two chapters on music, one of which was penned by Getz, were among those discussed at length by the Italian intellectuals.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Amsterdam

Jennifer Iverson (Music Theory) spent five weeks abroad in April and May, visiting Cologne, Kuerten, Basel, Amsterdam, and The Hague. Dr. Iverson is researching a book about the WDR electronic music studio, and its impacts on the Darmstadt avant-garde in the 1950s-60s. This involves studying correspondence, sketches, and scores from archives such as the Stockhausen Foundation (Kuerten) and the Paul Sacher Foundation (Basel). A highlight of the trip was a lengthy formal interview with Gottfried Michael Koenig, a pioneer of electronic and computer music. Koenig served as the technician for Stockhausen’s Gesang der Jünglinge as well as many other of the early WDR works, and then expertly led the electronic and computer music innovations at the Institute of Sonology in the Netherlands for more than twenty years. The interview will be published in issue 276 of Tempo. The picture at the left shows the canals of Amsterdam.

Platte at the British Library

British Library

Nathan Platte‘s (Musicology) summer activities included a trip to Los Angeles, where he visited UCLA’s Special Collections and the Margaret Herrick Library to conduct research on film composer Max Steiner’s early years in Hollywood. In July Dr. Platte participated in an international conference at the British Library that investigated the opportunities and challenges facing researchers working in audio-visual archives. The program included presentations, round-table discussions, and film screenings. An interview with film composer Ilan Eshkeri about his score for Still Alice (2014) included live performances by the piano quartet heard on the film’s soundtrack. Dr. Platte served on the conference’s program committee, shared a research paper about Max Steiner’s savvy navigation of the Hollywood studio system, and offered a position paper during the round-table discussion. The picture at the left shows Platte at the British Library.

Zack Stanton (Composition and Theory) has been working on a commission for the Midfest Band Festival at the University of Georgia. It is an honor band festival that takes place in December for the best middle school bands in that region. Lest you think that a middle school band piece is a piece of cake, Stanton reports, “You can’t imagine how difficult it is to write for middle schoolers.” Dr. Stanton also is hard at work on two future commissions from solo performers.

Marian Wilson Kimber (Musicology) received a second (!) publication subvention for her forthcoming book, Feminine Entertainments: Women, Music, and the Spoken Word (University of Illinois Press), from the AMS 75 PAYS Endowment of the American Musicological Society, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Wilson Kimber’s new article, “Ringing Bells in Accompanied Recitation and Musical Melodrama,” appears in The Hidden Soundtrack of the Long Nineteenth Century, special issue of Journal of Musicological Research 34, no. 3 (2015): 249–265. The article describes how, due to the prevalence of bells in poetry performed by late-nineteenth-century elocutionists, melodramatic compositions frequently included bell sounds to create poetic meanings surrounding the passage of time, religious rituals, and death.

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