Faculty Summer Research 2015

Musicology, Music Theory, and Composition faculty members have been hard at work during the summer months developing their scholarly and creative projects.

Ananuri, Georgia

Ananuri

Matthew Arndt (Music Theory) went on a trip to Georgia in order to learn more about Georgian music. In particular, Dr. Arndt took a Cultural Heritage Tour through western Georgia led by John Graham, an expert on Georgian music. He heard lots of folk and sacred music, and obtained various chant books and recordings. The picture at the left shows Ananuri, a castle on the Aragvi River in Georgia.

Michael Eckert (Composition and Theory) is celebrating the release of his new CD Brazilian Dreams: Music of Michael Eckert. The album features Dr. Eckert’s original compositions in the chôro style with performers the Unison Piano Duo, Amanda McCandless (clarinet), and Polina Khatsko (piano). A genre of Brazilian popular music that developed in Rio de Janeiro in the late nineteenth century, chôro has its roots in a performance style for social dances such as the polka, mazurka, waltz, and maxixe, combining harmonic and formal features of European music with Afro-Brazilian rhythms. The album is available on the MSR Classics website and on Amazon now (MS 1549), with the retail release scheduled for October 2015.

Lawrence Fritts (Composition) is performing micro-surgery on up-close recordings of a male theatre student’s dramatic speaking voice for a new piece.  He is also supervising a $70,000 major upgrade to the University of Iowa’s Electronic Music Studios, which are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.

Christine Getz (Musicology) spent significant time this summer doing archival research in Milan, Italy. There, she promoted her book chapter titled “Music in the 16th and 17th Centuries” in a history volume, A Companion to Late Medieval and Early Modern Milan: The Distinctive Features of an Italian State, edited by Andrea Gamerini and published by Brill, a publishing house known for its international focus. A formal, televised presentation of the book was held on June 8 at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, a historic library in Milan. A panel of well-known historians discussed the importance of the book and its content. The two chapters on music, one of which was penned by Getz, were among those discussed at length by the Italian intellectuals.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Amsterdam

Jennifer Iverson (Music Theory) spent five weeks abroad in April and May, visiting Cologne, Kuerten, Basel, Amsterdam, and The Hague. Dr. Iverson is researching a book about the WDR electronic music studio, and its impacts on the Darmstadt avant-garde in the 1950s-60s. This involves studying correspondence, sketches, and scores from archives such as the Stockhausen Foundation (Kuerten) and the Paul Sacher Foundation (Basel). A highlight of the trip was a lengthy formal interview with Gottfried Michael Koenig, a pioneer of electronic and computer music. Koenig served as the technician for Stockhausen’s Gesang der Jünglinge as well as many other of the early WDR works, and then expertly led the electronic and computer music innovations at the Institute of Sonology in the Netherlands for more than twenty years. The interview will be published in issue 276 of Tempo. The picture at the left shows the canals of Amsterdam.

Platte at the British Library

British Library

Nathan Platte‘s (Musicology) summer activities included a trip to Los Angeles, where he visited UCLA’s Special Collections and the Margaret Herrick Library to conduct research on film composer Max Steiner’s early years in Hollywood. In July Dr. Platte participated in an international conference at the British Library that investigated the opportunities and challenges facing researchers working in audio-visual archives. The program included presentations, round-table discussions, and film screenings. An interview with film composer Ilan Eshkeri about his score for Still Alice (2014) included live performances by the piano quartet heard on the film’s soundtrack. Dr. Platte served on the conference’s program committee, shared a research paper about Max Steiner’s savvy navigation of the Hollywood studio system, and offered a position paper during the round-table discussion. The picture at the left shows Platte at the British Library.

Zack Stanton (Composition and Theory) has been working on a commission for the Midfest Band Festival at the University of Georgia. It is an honor band festival that takes place in December for the best middle school bands in that region. Lest you think that a middle school band piece is a piece of cake, Stanton reports, “You can’t imagine how difficult it is to write for middle schoolers.” Dr. Stanton also is hard at work on two future commissions from solo performers.

Marian Wilson Kimber (Musicology) received a second (!) publication subvention for her forthcoming book, Feminine Entertainments: Women, Music, and the Spoken Word (University of Illinois Press), from the AMS 75 PAYS Endowment of the American Musicological Society, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Wilson Kimber’s new article, “Ringing Bells in Accompanied Recitation and Musical Melodrama,” appears in The Hidden Soundtrack of the Long Nineteenth Century, special issue of Journal of Musicological Research 34, no. 3 (2015): 249–265. The article describes how, due to the prevalence of bells in poetry performed by late-nineteenth-century elocutionists, melodramatic compositions frequently included bell sounds to create poetic meanings surrounding the passage of time, religious rituals, and death.

Harvey, Iverson, and Platte Organize First Annual “Front Porch Music Festival”

Zack Stanton and Trevor Harvey playing in the open jam

Zack Stanton and Trevor Harvey playing in the open jam

Trevor Harvey (ethnomusicology), Jennifer Iverson (music theory), and Nathan Platte (musicology) and their families collaborated to host the first annual Front Porch Music Festival on Saturday June 20 2015. The festival encouraged residents of the Longfellow neighborhood in Iowa City to play music together on their front porches. An open jam (pictured above) ran concurrently through the length of the festival. “All are welcome to play, whether you consider yourself a ‘real musician’ or not,” said co-organizer Iverson. “We expect to see everyone from 2-year-olds with homemade percussion instruments to professional cellists.” Indeed, the diverse line-up of performers included young piano students, youth folk trio the Skipperlings, various small ensembles including banjo, guitar, dulcimer, cello, piano, flute, trombone, and voice, wind quintet LIROS, the inter-generational choir Family Folk Machine, and a rock band.

The organizers were inspired by Platte’s previous experience with a similar festival, the Water Hill Festival, in Ann Arbor, MI and Make Music Day on June 21, a world-wide celebration of music-making. As Harvey points out, “Making music together can and should be an important aspect of sharing a neighborhood, a community, a culture.” Though Harvey, Iverson, and Platte now practice ‘academic’ music professionally—-teaching about historical, structural, and cultural aspects—-they all trained as performers for a large portion of their lives. “It was fun to get back to performing and playing,” Platte said. Platte and other performers are featured in a local news video segment from KCRG Channel 9. The organizers plan to make the festival an annual celebration.

Wilson Kimber, Cook, and Others Honored by Society for American Music

elocution and the 19th century American woman

elocution and the 19th century American woman

The Society for American Music has recently chosen musicologist Marian Wilson Kimber as the recipient of a publication subvention–an award that will defray the costs of publishing a book–for her monograph Feminine Entertainments: Women, Music and the Spoken Word (forthcoming from University of Illinois Press). The H. Earle Johnson Publication Subvention is “intended to support the costs of the publication of a significant monograph on an important topic in American Music.”  This is quite a significant award, as SAM awards only two subventions per year of $2500 each. Wilson Kimber’s book offers a detailed look at the under examined, gendered practice of elocution in the 19th century. She shows that elocution was a touchstone for women’s participation in a host of creative literary, dramatic, musical and dance activities. Wilson Kimber uniquely reveals the 19th-century American woman to have used the art of the spoken word not just for artistic and musical expression but also as a space to exert moral and cultural authority. At the same meeting, music theorist Robert Cook received an honorable mention for the Irving Lowens Memorial Article Award for his article “The Vocal Ecology of Crumb’s Crickets” in JSAM volume 7. An earlier post about that article is here.

Current and former University of Iowa faculty and students also made strong research presentations. At the conference’s opening session, School of Music Assistant Professor Nathan Platte presented new historical findings on the “Tara” theme from Gone With the Wind. Alumna Katheryn Lawson (MA, Musicology, 2013) hosted a discussion panel titled “Childhood and American Music.” Alumnus Michael Accinno (MA, Musicology, 2010) presented a paper on musical activity at the Perkins School for the Blind in the nineteenth century. At a special ceremony that featured a performance of his Piano Trio, UI alumnus Olly Wilson (Ph.D., Composition, 1964) received an Honorary Membership Award from the Society for his “inestimable contributions to American musical culture through his compositions, his teaching, and his championing of African-American music.” Further news about Iowa contributions at the 2015 SAM meeting are here.

Hearty congratulations to Professors Wilson Kimber, Cook, Platte, and other University of Iowa affiliates for such strong work in American music!

Iowa faculty featured in The Journal of the Society for American Music

The Journal of the Society for American Music (JSAM) has recently published three articles by Iowa faculty and alumnus, all of which have graced the journal’s covers:

Crickets

7/2

Robert C. Cook, Associate Professor, Music Theory, University of Iowa. “The Vocal Ecology of Crumb’s Crickets,” JSAM 7, no. 2 (May 2013)

 

 

 

Auctioneers

7/3

 

Nikki Malley, Ph.D., Musicology, University of Iowa (2012), Associate Professor of Music at Knox College. “A Sale You Can Dance To: Entrainment, Flexibility, and Improvisation in the Metric Practice of the American Auctioneer,” JSAM 7, no. 3 (August 2013)

 

 

Kong

8/3

Nathan Platte, Assistant Professor, Musicology, University of Iowa. “Before Kong was King: Competing Methods in Hollywood Underscore,” JSAM 8, no. 3 (August 2014)

 

 

 

 

In addition, Marian Wilson Kimber, Associate Professor of Musicology, University of Iowa, who is completing a book on the role of women in the creation of American melodrama, contributed a review of the newly-released CD The Music of William C. Wright in JSAM 8, no. 2 (May 2014).

Iowa Faculty Present at AMS/SMT Milwaukee

Faculty members are making a strong showing at the 2014 joint national conference of the AMS (American Musicological Society) and SMT (Society for Music Theory) in Milwaukee. Join us at the following papers during the conference, which runs November 6-9 2014.

Robert C. Cook, “A Timbral Ecology of the Heiliger Dankgesang,Friday Nov. 7, 9:30-10:15 p.m. (W:101A)

Marian Wilson Kimber, “Kitty Cheatham, Classical Music, Spirituals, and the Career of a Professional Child,” Saturday Nov. 8, 4:15-5:00 p.m. (W:101B)

Jennifer Iverson, “The Disabled Body in Babbitt’s Philomel and Wishart’s Red Bird,” on special session Recasting Music: Body, Mind, AbilitySaturday Nov. 8, 9:30-10:30 p.m. (H:Juneau)

Summer Produce

Produce, as in produce research! The faculty at the University of Iowa use the time away from teaching during the summer to make rapid progress on research projects, when there is more time for intensive archival research, analysis, composition, and writing. Here are some of the things the musicology, theory, and composition faculty have been working on in summer 2014:

In June, musicologist Marian Wilson Kimber presented a paper, “Hymnody, Dance, and the Sacred in the Illustrated Song” at the 18th Biennial International Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music at the University of Toronto, Canada.  The paper, regarding the pantomimic posing of American women to hymn tunes, ca. 1880-1920, is related to the book she completed this summer, tentatively titled, Feminine Entertainments: Women, Music, and the Spoken Word.

Composer Zack Stanton spent a month in Austin, Texas sketching out a new piece for narrator and wind ensemble, which memorializes legendary Texas football coach Darrell Royal (1924-2012). He has also just received a new commission from the Milliken University Percussion Ensemble for a piece to be premiered in April 2015. In October, Zack will travel to Los Angeles to hear a premiere of his work at the Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers Conference. The work, Scenic Route, will be performed by pianist Paul Barnes, who commissioned Philip Glass’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Barnes will perform Scenic Route again in April 2015 at Symphony Space in New York.

Basel, Switzerland

Basel, Switzerland

Theorist Jennifer Iverson spent five weeks in Germany and Switzerland, undertaking archival research relating to early electronic music. She began at the archive of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. She then visited the Stockhausen Stiftung in Kürten, Germany, making time for a trip to the rural cathedral Altenberger Dom where Stockhausen received his first communion. Here she also met with Gottfried Michael Koenig, one of the few surviving members of the so-called “Darmstadt” group of composers and an expert on early electronic music at the WDR. She spent time at the historical archives of the WDR (Westdeutsche Rundfunk, or West German Radio). Jennifer ended the trip in Basel, where she visited the Paul Sacher Stiftung for the third time, and focused on correspondence between Pousseur, Stockhausen, Boulez, and Eimert. The trip was funded via an AHI (Arts and Humanities Initiative) grant from the University of Iowa.

Graduate Student Musicologists Break Into the Field

Two musicology students have recently had exciting achievements and experiences:

Ph.D. candidate Jessica Kizzire has a chapter titled “‘The Place I’ll Return to Someday’: Musical Nostalgia in Final Fantasy IX” in the recently published Music in Video Games: Studying Play (Routledge, 2014). The collection is edited by K.J. Donnelly, William Gibbons, and Neil Lerner. This chapter foreshadows her dissertation research, which involves video game music. Congratulations on this publication, Jessica!

Ph.D student Sarah Lucas recently travelled to Hungary for research concerning Bèla Bartók. Sarah worked in the Budapest Bartók Archive with the support of a Stanley Award for Graduate Research, where she examined correspondence between Bartók and his publisher, Universal Edition, regarding the first edition of his first Piano Concerto (1926). Sarah also had the opportunity to study several early versions of the score. Sarah has presented papers on Bartók and his music, with a special emphasis on the reception during his first concert tour of the United States (1927-1928), at AMS Midwest and at graduate student conferences at the University of Iowa and the University of Missouri. Congratulations on your award and this exciting research project, Sarah!

Musicologists Go Forth!

The weekend of April 4–6 2014 was a busy one. Christine Getz journeyed to San Antonio for the annual meeting of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, where she presented a paper titled, “At the Sacred Font: Federico Borromeo, Giovanni Battista Cima, and the Milanese Sacred Concerto.” Trevor Harvey drove north to Lawrence University, where he gave a paper titled “Avatars, Authenticity, and Live Musical Performances in Second Life” at the Midwest Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology.

Meanwhile an entire UI delegation of musicology students, faculty, and music librarian travelled to University of Northern Iowa to participate in the first annual Iowa Musicology Conference. Dr. Marian Wilson Kimber delivered a keynote address titled “Hearing Lost Voices: Seven Lessons in Musicology.” Ph.D. pre-candidate Michele Aichele gave a paper titled “The Biographical Myth in the Reception of Cécile Chaminade’s Concertino for Flute, Op. 107,” and Nathan Platte shared new research on Hollywood music director Lou Forbes. Many thanks to Drs. Melinda Boyd and Alison Altstatt for hosting this gathering!

Shih-Ni Sidney Prim presents at AMS-Southeast

Ph.D. candidate Shih-Ni Prim presented a paper titled “Maurice Abravanel and Gustav Mahler: The Reception of Early Mahler Recordings by Abravanel and the Utah Symphony Orchestra” at the 2014 AMS-Southeast Chapter Spring meeting at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The audience was interested in learning about Maurice Abravanel, another Mahler champion besides Leonard Bernstein in the 1960s.

Iowa faculty and the Oxford University Press Handbooks

A number of new titles in the Oxford Handbook series feature contributions from University of Iowa faculty.

Trevor Harvey’s “Virtual Worlds: An Ethnomusicological Perspective” may be found in The Oxford Handbook of Virtuality.

Nathan Platte’s “Performing Prestige: American Cinema Orchestras, 1910-1958” may be found in The Oxford Handbook of Film Music Studies.

Robert C. Cook’s “Tonal Interpretation, Transformational Models, and the Chromatic Calls to Repent in Franck’s Le chasseur maudit” may be found in the Oxford Handbook of Neo-Riemannian Music Theories.

Mary Cohen et. al’s “At-risk youth: Music-making as a means to promote positive relationships” may be found in the Oxford Handbook of Music Education, Vol. 2.

Jennifer Iverson’s “Mechanized Bodies: Technology and Supplements in Björk’s Electronica” will appear in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability Studies.