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.

 

Summer Places

As fall classes get underway, we take a moment to share some of the activities our students and faculty pursued over the summer.

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With the assistance of an Arts and Humanities Initiative Grant, Marian Wilson Kimber traveled to six libraries and archives to research the women composers’ concerts organized by Phyllis Fergus (pictured right) in the 1930s.  The concerts took place under the auspices of the National League of American Pen Women, a professional organization for female writers, artists, and composers.  To see the papers of various Pen Women branches, Wilson Kimber traveled to the Chicago History Museum, the University of Vermont, and the Minnesota History Center.  She examined the papers of Pen Women composers Amy Beach at the University of New Hampshire and Frances Copthorne at the Sibley Library of the Eastman School of Music.  The culmination of her summer travels was a visit to the FDR Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York, to locate materials related to two concerts held at the White House for First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.  Wilson Kimber has been awarded a career development award for fall 2016, during which she will continue her research as a fellow-in-residence at Iowa’s Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.

salisburyWith help from School of Music Travel Awards and an International Programs Travel Award, Matthew Arndt presented a paper on harmony in Georgian chant at the Fourth International Analytical Approaches to World Music Conference in New York. He also presented a paper at the History–Theory–Pedagogy conference in Nottingham that applied Heinrich Schenker’s and Arnold Schoenberg’s theories to analysis of polyphonic music. The photo, from Salisbury Cathedral, was taken on Dr. Arndt’s way back from Nottingham.

Trevor Harvey assisted by University of Iowa School of Music students Grace Coleman and Todd Johnson, continued collaborating with KRUI to produce the podcast, Ethnomusicology Today. The series is published by the Society for Ethnomusicology and may be heard here.

Kelsey McGinnis, a PhD student in musicology, spent the summer in the National Archives undertaking research on the musical lives of German POWs interned in the U.S. during WWII. In August, she published an essay in Lacuna entitled “Singing with our ancestors and descendants: Music-making and intergenerational justice theory at COP21.” 

Cody Norling, a new MA student in musicology, assisted with a forthcoming essay by transcribing passages from John Williams’ score to Catch Me If You Can. Cody also pushed ahead on a current research project addressing Puccini’s opera, La fanciulla del west.

Nathan Platte presented at “21st-Century Music School Design,” a College Music Society Summit hosted at the University of South Carolina. The intensive summit brought to together two hundred music professors and administrators from across the country to contemplate different strategies for adapting pedagogy, curricula, and degree programs to better prepare music students for dynamic careers in and beyond the arts.

Professor Christine Getz spent June and July 2016 in Northern Italy working on a new research project entitled Economic Partnerships, Marketing Strategies, and International Relations in the Music Prints of Filippo Lomazzo with the support of a 2016 Franklin Grant from the American Philosophical Society. On July 1 she presented a paper on the Lomazzo prints containing seventeenth-century sacred works by Conventual Franciscans from San Francesco Grande, Milano, at a conference sponsored by A.M.I.S. Como and the Centro Studi Antoniani at the Basilica del Santo in Padova, and on July 16 she presented a paper on the Lomazzo anthologies as travel writing at the 17th biennial International Conference on Baroque Music in Canterbury, Kent, UK.  Professor Getz also finished the manuscript of a modern edition of Andrea Cima’s Il secondo libro delli concerti (1627) that is forthcoming in the series Recent Researches in Music of the Baroque Era published by A-R Editions.

 

Reviewing Film Music Research

Gregory Newbold, an MA student in musicology, spent the summer of 2015 reading five recent titles from the Film Score Guide series (Scarecrow Press). His review, just published in the Winter 2016 Society for American Music Bulletin, surveys research on an array of film composers and titles, including The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Godfather trilogy, Forbidden Planet, and The Adventures of Robin Hood. Newbold is now writing a “film score guide” of his own: his in-progress thesis contemplates Benjamin Frankel’s music for Curse of the Werewolf.