Jennifer Iverson, assistant professor of music theory, has won an External Faculty Fellowship from the Stanford Humanities Center. Iverson is one of ten external fellows selected from a pool of over four hundred applicants, making this one of the most competitive and prestigious residential fellowships in the nation. In a happy coincidence, a second University of Iowa professor, Blaine Greteman, is also in the 2015-16 Stanford cohort. A College of Liberal Arts and Sciences article about that is here.
Iverson will spend the year in Palo Alto working on her book project, Electronic Inspirations: The WDR Studio and Musical Thought at Mid-Century. Her research elucidates the impact of the WDR (West German Radio) studio and its music on the post-war European musical avant-garde in the critical decades of the 1950s and 1960s. The WDR in Cologne quickly became a new music mecca due to robust government funding for its electronic studio and related concert series and broadcasts. It is a crucial but so far overlooked institution for the pan-European post-war musical avant-garde. The rise of electronic music at mid-century is deeply engaged with broader cultural questions about the role of technology in institutions, art, and life. Electronic Inspirations shows how the electronic music made at the WDR drove the development of mid-century classical music, and shaped the proliferation of technology in post-war culture more broadly.
The fellowship represents an incredible and rare opportunity for focused research and writing within a community of top-notch humanities scholars. This broader humanities context is quite desirable, as Iverson and Matthew Arndt found during their tenure as fellows-in-residence at the Obermann Center at the University of Iowa. As Iverson explains, “More and more, I find that feedback on my writing and my ideas from those trained in the humanities, but not necessarily in music theory or musicology, is extremely insightful and valuable.” Iverson will return to teaching at the University of Iowa in Fall 2016.