Professor of Musicology Marian Wilson Kimber was interviewed by the Associated Press about the 150th anniversary of the birthday of composer Amy Beach, and her comments appeared in an article in the Washington Post. Wilson Kimber was one of multiple scholars from American, Mexico, Chile, and Venezuela, who spoke at the American Women Pianist-Composers conference celebrating Amy Beach and Teresa Carreño, hosted by the University of New Hampshire on September 15-16. The University’s Milne Library and Dimond Special Collections houses the papers of Amy Beach and presented an exhibition of rare Beach materials in conjunction with the conference. Beach was the first American female composer to be successful in composing large forms, including her Gaelic Symphony. Wilson Kimber presented her research into Beach’s appearances at the White House in 1934 and 1936 in recitals for First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, along with other women composers from the National League of American Pen Women.
The spring conference season has been an especially active one for Iowans this year. The majority of the musicology faculty and students have been on the road at least once to present their research. Doctoral student Kelsey McGinnis presented “The Purest Pieces of Home: German POWs Making German Music in America” in Montréal at the Society for American Music meeting. Master’s students Andrew Tubbs and Arthur Scoleri also traveled to present papers, Tubbs at the conference Music and Action held at UCLA, where he gave “Reclaiming Their History: a Disabled Re-positioning of Cabaret.” Scoleri spoke on “Alcina and the Illusory Heart: Exploring Gender and Emotion in G.F. Handel’s Opera Seria” at NCounters: Engaging Music Research + Practice, held in Edmonton, Alberta. Two musicology students presented papers at the Midwest Graduate Music Consortium at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Master’s student C.A. Norling gave “An Atmosphere of the West: Highlighting the Exotic in Puccini’s La fanciulla del west,” and Tubbs presented “Cripface: Overcoming Disability and Finding a Musical Voice in The King’s Speech.”
Closer to home, two Iowa faculty members and one student presented papers at the spring meeting of the Midwest Chapter of the American Musicological Society, held at Drake University on April 22. Prof. Nathan Platte gave “‘Sounds Must Stir the Fantasy’: Underscore as Special Effect in The Wizard of Oz (1939),” and Prof. Marian Wilson Kimber’s paper was “Reciting Parsifal: Opera as Spoken Word Performance in America.” Kelsey McGinnis presented “‘Our thoughts were with those back home’: German POWs Making German Music in Iowa.”
The third annual Iowa Musicology Day took place on April 6 at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids and featured two Iowa faculty and four student presentations, including:
Jared Hedges, “George Crumb’s ‘Attitudes of Variation’ in Eine Kleine Mitternachtmusik”
David Lim, “Programmatic Considerations in Julius Reubke’s Organ Sonata on Psalm 94”
Andrew Tubbs, “In Search of Balance: Inversional Symmetry, Tonal Problems, and Disability Aesthetics in Schoenberg’s ‘Valse de Chopin’”
Prof. Trevor Harvey appeared on the culminating panel for the day, “Strengths and Challenges in Teaching College-Level ‘Music Appreciation’ as General Education Courses,” speaking about his “Great Musicians” course for general education students at the University of Iowa.
The last week of April, Prof. Wilson Kimber traveled to the University of Delaware to speak about Felix Mendelssohn’s string quartets before the final performance of the complete cycle of quartets, including the Octet, performed by the Calidore Quartet with Delaware’s Seraphim Quartet. The same week, Prof. Platte was a guest speaker for the Musicology Colloquium at Northwestern University, where he presented “The Trouble with Onscreen Orchestrators: Progeny and Compositional Crisis in the Four Daughters Films.”
[Photo courtesy of 42N Observations]
New master’s student in musicology, Cody Norling, has won the National Opera Association’s 2016 Scholarly Paper Competition for “Puccini’s Grotesque West: Exoticism and Appropriating in La fanciulla del west.” He has been invited to read his paper at the NOA’s annual convention in Santa Barbara, California, in January 2017 and to publish his paper in its Opera Journal. Cody’s paper addresses American Indian depictions in Puccini’s Gold Rush drama, La fanciulla del west. In doing so, he highlights the opera’s two indigenous characters, Wowkle and Billy Jackrabbit, and compares their portrayal to the setting’s historical realities. He concludes that their text and music have little connection to the composer’s attempted authenticities but rather rely solely on a stereotyped exotic image.
Nathan Platte’s essay,”‘The Epic and Intimately Human’: Contemplating the Tara Theme in Gone With the Wind,” was just published in Music in Epic Film: Listening to Spectacle (Routledge, 2016). (https://www.routledge.com/Music-in-Epic-Film-Listening-to-Spectacle/Meyer-Lerner/p/book/9781315690025) In preparing this article, Platte visited three different archives: the Warner Bros. Archive at the University of Southern California, the Max Steiner Papers at Brigham Young University, and the David O. Selznick Collection at the Harry Ransom Center (University of Texas at Austin). By fitting together the archival pieces dispersed among these collections, Platte came to realize that “Hollywood’s best-known melody has a backstory of its own, replete with humble origins, daunting adversities, and startling transformations.” The essay has already been cited in Mark Richards’s ambitious study for Music Theory Online: “Film Music Themes: Analysis and Corpus Study.” (http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.16.22.1/mto.16.22.1.richards.html)H
As fall classes get underway, we take a moment to share some of the activities our students and faculty pursued over the summer.
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.
With 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.
Professor Christine Getz has received a 2016 Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society.
The Franklin program is designed in part to help meet the costs of travel to libraries and archives for research purposes. Getz will use the grant to travel to Italy for her current project, “Economic Partnerships, Marketing Strategies, and International Relations in the Music Prints of Filippo Lomazzo.”
By the early 17th century the music printing industry had begun to languish across the Italian peninsula. Yet between 1602 and 1630 the firm of Filippo Lomazzo in Milan issued at least 90 volumes of part music. A survey of the Lomazzo prints indicates that his contacts included not only Milanese composers, performers, booksellers, collectors, and patrons, but also internationally recognized ones. It further suggests that the firm considered how practical use of the music contained was best married to trends in producing books in related disciplines.
Using archival sources and printed books, Getz’s project explores how Lomazzo cultivated relationships with North Italian merchants, connoisseurs, and musicians, forged international relations with composers, collectors, and patrons, and exploited emerging trends in the organization and production of devotional literature, encyclopedias, travel guides, and histories to build a highly successful music printing business in early modern Milan.
Two doctoral students in musicology have recently been awarded fellowships. Jessica Kizzire will receive the University of Iowa’s Ballard Seashore Fellowship, which provides “protected and supported time” for doctoral candidates to focus on their research and the writing of their dissertations. Jessica will be completing “Hearing Wonderland: Aural Adaptation and Carroll’s Classic Tale,” in which she will critically examine the role of sound in multimedia adaptations of Lewis Carroll’s story in film, ballet, and other multimedia formats.
Michele Aichele has been awarded an American Association of University Women (AAUW) American Dissertation Fellowship. The AAUW, founded in 1881, is dedicated to promoting equity and education for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. In her dissertation, “Cécile Chaminade (1857–1944) and ‘The New Woman’ in the United States,” Michele considers why the composer’s music became so popular, inspiring hundreds of American Chaminade music clubs, and explores how traditional female roles related to and conflicted with Chaminade’s public persona and career.
University of Iowa students and faculty traveled to Drake University in Des Moines to present papers at the second Iowa Musicology Day on Saturday, March 26. The topics of their research included film music, the music of German POWs in Iowa, The Tempest by Frank Martin, and an early female conductor, the Countess of Radnor. Professor Marian Wilson Kimber chaired the program committee for the event.
Pictured are Kelsey McGinnis, Prof. Nathan Platte, Tim Cuffman, Elissa Kana, and Jared Hedges. (Not pictured: Philip Rudd.)
Sarah Lucas, a Ph.D. student in musicology, has won a U.S. Student Fulbright Award to conduct dissertation research at the Béla Bartók Archive and National Széchényi Library in Budapest, Hungary, during the 2016–2017 academic year. Through her research, which also includes study of conductor Fritz Reiner’s conducting scores and correspondence in the United States, Sarah seeks to explore the details of the connection between composer Béla Bartók and Reiner, as well as the effects of their professional association on Bartók’s compositions and their reception in the U.S. Congratulations Sarah!
Prof. Eric Saylor will host the annual Iowa Musicology Day conference at Drake University in Des Moines on Saturday, March 26, between 9 and 5:30 in Room 204 of the Fine Arts Center. The conference brings together musicologists and students from Iowa schools to share their research. All are welcome to attend.
9–10:30 Early Music
Marian Wilson Kimber (University of Iowa), chair
Alison Altstatt, (University of Northern Iowa), “Beating the Bounds: The Rogation Processions at Wilton Abbey”
Beth Zamzow (Kirkwood Community College), “Modal Mingling and Liturgical Quotation: A Fresh Look at the Fifteenth-Century English Carols
Melanie Batoff (Luther College), “Uncovering the Origins and Purpose of the German Visitatio sepulchri Liturgical Drama”
10:45–11:45 Women in Music
Melinda Boyd (University of Northern Iowa), chair
Haley Steele (University of Northern Iowa), “Estelle Liebling: A Biographical and Pedagogical Survey”
Philip Rudd (University of Iowa), “Lady Helen of Radnor: Countess, Conductor, Pioneer”
11:45–12:30 Keynote, Christopher M. Scheer (Utah State University)
Introduced by Eric Saylor (Drake University)
Melanie Batoff (Luther College), chair
MaKayla M. McDonald (University of Northern Iowa), “An Analysis of Errollyn Wallen’s Are you worried about the rising cost of funerals?”
Jared Hedges (University of Iowa), “Ekphrasis and Frank Martin’s Aesthetic Ethic in Der Sturm”
2:45–3:45 Music and Communities
Beth Zamzow (Kirkwood Community College), chair
Andrew Tubbs (Wartburg College), “Cripface: Disability Narratives in Sound”
Kelsey McGinnis (University of Iowa), “The Purest Pieces of Home: German POWs Making German Music in America”
4–5:30 Film Music
Alison Altstatt, (University of Northern Iowa), chair
Tim Cuffman (University of Iowa), “Musical Characterization of Evil in Three Shanes”
Elissa Kane (University of Iowa), “The Cohesive Function of John Corigliano’s Chaconne in The Red Violin”
Nathan Platte (University of Iowa), “Max Steiner’s Four Daughters? Paternity, Adoption, and the Trouble with Onscreen Orchestrators”