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.
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.
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.