Spring flowers (and publications and presentations)

We look to spring for warmth, life, and, hopefully, some much-needed sunny weather. Over the past few weeks, we’ve also witnessed a gaggle of conference presentations and publications from graduate students. Hearty congratulations to all who shared new work, organized conferences, and supported their peers!


Cody Norling (PhD Musicology) and Dr. Marian Wilson Kimber coauthored a review of digital archives for The Journal of the American Musicological Society. Check out their review of The Metropolitan Archives, Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century, and Re-envisioning Japan: Japan as Destination in 20th-Century Visual and Material Culture here.

Rebekah Erdman (PhD Musicology) wrote liner notes for Prof. Nicole Espositio’s new album, Dancing in Dreams, which features arrangements of Debussy, Fauré, Ravel, and Piazzolla for flute and harp.


Midwest Graduate Music Consortium, Northwestern University

Danielle Bridges (MA, Choral Conducting)

“The (Re)Maker of Spirituals: Pursuing “A Fairer Paradise” for All in Eva Jessye’s Paradise Lost and Regained”

Michael Pekel (DMA, Choral Conducting)

“Pitch Collections and Form in Jonathan Harvey’s Missa Brevis”

Mitchell A Widmer (DMA, Voice)

“O Gott Vater, wir Loben dich: The Singing of the Old Order Amish in Johnson/Washington County”

Zane H Larson (PhD, Theory)

“Hyperpop: An Unbridled Queer Sonic Space”

Ryne T Carlson (PhD, Theory)

“Love and Loss: Schubert’s Borrowing from the “Little” A-Major Sonata for “Der Unglückliche”

Sarah Hansen

“Schelomo: A Cultural and Musical Examination of Jewishness in Ernest Bloch’s Rhapsodie Hébraïque for Violoncello and Orchestra”

Thanks also to musicology students Cody Norling, Anastasia Scholze, and Christos Sidiropoulos, who assisted with planning and moderating sessions.

Midwest Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology (MIDSEM)

Rebekah Erdman (PhD, Musicology)

“Mediated Melodies “Jone o’ Grinfilt” and Problems with Preservation” 
University of Iowa

Christos Sidiropoulos (MA, Musicology)

“Music Apprenticeship, Transmission and Experience in the Villages of Drama through the Thematic Analysis of Semi-Structured Interviews” 
University of Iowa

Matt Mason (PhD, Composition)

“Nicki Minaj: An Analysis of Gender in Flow” 

Individual students also journeyed (physically and virtually) to additional conferences, including:

Black Identities on the Operatic Stage

Cody Norling (PhD, Musicology)

“‘A Marked Success of the Race”: The South Side Opera Company (1920–1922) and Community Networks of Support in Chicago’s “Black Metropolis”

CUNY Graduate Students in Music 

Zane H Larson (PhD, Theory)

“L.O.L. or Go To Hell: Structures of Comedy in Moss and Marlow’s Six

AMS Midwest Chapter

Christos Sidiropoulos (MA, Musicology)
“Intercultural Combinations and Redemption in Music of Zorba the Greek

Harvard Graduate Music Forum – For A New World: Music and Decoloniality

Zane H Larson (PhD, Theory)

“Hyperpop: an Unbridled Queer Sonic Space”

Trevor Harvey helps bring “Esteban and the Children of the Sun” to a broader audience

Last semester, ethnomusicologist Trevor Harvey played a critical role in coordinating Esteban and the Children of the Sun, a multimedia performance envisioned and composed by former Director of Jazz Studies at Iowa, John Rapson, who passed away in July 2021. This intensely collaborative endeavor brought together local musicians, far-flung friends, faculty, students, and Iowa alumni to explore through performance the astonishing life of Esteban de Azemmour, an African man who journeyed across North America in the sixteenth century.

We invite you to learn more about the significance of this project and hear from Dr. Harvey in the Daily Iowan short documentary, which features John Rapson, family members, and fellow musicians (posted below). And although the performance took place months ago, Dr. Harvey’s work on the project continues as he helps direct efforts to share this work more broadly through an in-development film. For more on Esteban, check out:

Jennifer New’s article on the project for the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.

Daneil Boscaljon’s article for the Little Village Magazine.

Delaney Orewiler’s article for the Daily Iowan.

Daily Iowan mini-doc on John Rapson and Esteban and the Children of the Sun:

The Music Research Forum features brief presentations from School of Music faculty

On February 8, come savor a multi-course meal of music research. Each presenter will offer a ten-minute morsel.

If Music Is a Language, Does It Have Sentences? 

Mathew Arndt, Music Theory 

Discursive Constructions of Musical Ability  

Adam G. Harry, Music Education 

Melody in Sign Language Music 

Anabel Maler, Music Theory 

“It’s up to the women”: Women’s Peace Songs for Eleanor Roosevelt 

Marian Wilson Kimber, Musicology 

Music-Based Mindfulness Practices for Stress-Related Symptoms and Disorders 

Abbey Dvorak, Music Therapy 

How to Write Film Music with an Archive 

Nathan Platte, Musicology 

Rebekah Erdman wins National Opera Association Award

Rebekah Erdman

Congratulations to Musicology PhD student Rebekah Erdman, who won the National Opera Association’s 2021 Scholarly Paper Competition! Her paper, “The Immortal Hour of the English Choral Drama,” discusses the popularity and reception of the choral drama The Immortal Hour by British composer Rutland Boughton (1878-1960). Rebekah has been invited to present her paper at the NOA’s national conference in Houston in January 2023 and to publish her paper in Opera Journal. Rebekah is now the fourth Iowa student to win the competition. Previous winners include alumni Lisa Mumme (MA, Musicology), Jared Hedges (MA, Composition), and PhD candidate Cody Norling (Musicology).

Dr. Suhadolnik’s collaborative research published in Sounding Together

Sarah Suhadolnik’s work with colleague Monica Hershberger is featured in the new, open-access collection Sounding Together: Collaborative Perspectives on U.S. Music in the 21st Century (eds. Charles Hiroshi Garrett and Carol Oja). Digital access to the entire book is free, and you can check out Sarah and Monica’s chapter, “Music, Travel, and Circuitous Reflections of Community,” here.

Late Spring Conference Highlights

Iowa’s spring semester concluded in mid-May, just in time for students and faculty to share recent projects at three different conferences.

Iowa Musicology Day (May 22) brought together a coalition of Iowa students from several disciplines. John Tappen (MA, American Studies) presented a paper titled “The US Army’s Sonic Campaign for Neoliberal Militainment.” Anastasia Scholze (BA, Voice, incoming MA in Musicology) shared her research on the art and ethics of vocal dubbing in West Side Story (1961). Rebekah Erdman (PhD, Musicology) spoke on Rutland Boughton’s opera The Immortal Hour and the legacy of the English Choral Drama. Michael Pekel (DMA, Choral Conducting) introduced audiences to the spiritual philosophies underpinning Jonathan Harvey’s choral works. Cody Norling (PhD, Musicology) and Dr. Nathan Platte participated in a pedagogy session, where they shared course projects that gave students opportunities to engage with historical musical practices through archives and composition.

The IASPM-US Conference was a 5-day program for almost 200 participants that ran from 5/18-5/22. As acting secretary for the organization, Dr. Sarah Suhadolnik helped to organize and host the event. She also participated as panel chair and presenter. Entitled “WHO DAT? Music, Media and the (Re)defined Spirit Nation,” Dr. Suhadolnik’s paper was drawn from her overlapping research on popular music, place, fandom, and digital media.

Finally, at the Midwestern History Conference (May 26-27), Cody Norling presented “Opera Evangelism: Creating a Musical Metropole in 1920s Chicago.”

Whew. I think we’re ready for a little summer rest and recreation now. Congratulations to all of the presenters!

Marian Wilson Kimber reflects on women’s song for Thomas Hampson’s “Song and Beyond”

Dr. Wilson Kimber recently joined Stephen Rodgers (University of Oregon) and Christopher Reynolds (UC Davis) for a conversation on American women’s song of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The discussion draws from Dr. Wilson Kimber’s recent work on Women’s Song Forum and her book (and related performances) from The Elocutionists: Women, Music, and the Spoken Word. Thanks to IDAGIO and the Hampsong Foundation for hosting the gathering and posting the discussion!

April 10-11, Joint Meeting of the Midwest Chapters of the Society for Ethnomusicology and American Musicological Society

We are thrilled that Iowa is hosting the first joint meeting of the Midwest Chapters of the American Musicological Society and Society for Ethnomusicology (April 10-11).

The conference keynote (Saturday, 3:30) features a presentation from Dwandalyn Reece, music curator of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. 

To learn more about Iowa City’s indie music scene, be sure to check out Ross Clowser’s presentation on Karen Meat at 11:00 on Saturday.

All events are hosted over Zoom and are free. We invite you to check out the full schedule and register here: https://sites.google.com/site/amsmidwest/chapter-meetings/past-meetings/spring-2021-meeting

Marian Wilson Kimber’s contributions to Women’s Song Forum (and beyond)

Pose for “Nearer My God to Thee” (1917) 

Marian Wilson Kimber’s “Hymnody, Dance and the Sacred in the Illustrated Song” has recently appeared in the volume Musicology and Dance: Historical and Critical Perspectives published by Cambridge University Press. Wilson Kimber’s chapter delves into women’s practice of posing to hymn tunes, an offshoot of the Delsarte movement in the early twentieth century. It draws on pedagogical materials, press reports of women’s performances, and contemporary understandings of hymnody to explain how musical accompaniments in the “illustrated song” helped to mediate its potentially precarious position within American culture, given its deep suspicion of dance. 

Wilson Kimber has also recently joined a team of musicologists writing for the Women’s Song Forum, a new blog devoted to women’s songs and women’s voices. Her first essay explores the American Song Composers’ Festival founded by composer Grace Porterfield Polk in Greenwood, Indiana, in the 1920s in order to encourage American songwriters. Her most recent post considers the reception of Mary Turner Salter’s song, “The Cry of Rachel,” and the songs of peace activist Elisabeth Johnson.