Grad Student Updates: a defense, a conference, and a newly designed course

Congratulations to Ryne Carlson, who successfully defended his masters thesis!Image result for schubert In “Instrumental Inspiration: An Analysis of Schubert’s Self-Borrowing of His Instrumental Music in His Lieder,”  Ryne analyzed passages where Schubert adapted instrumental music for use in a later Lied.  Such borrowing from instrumental music in vocal music is relatively rare for Schubert, and Ryne’s thesis considers how such quotations reveal new facets of both compositions, with each lending commentary on the other.  Ryne is now at work in the Theory Ph.D. program at Iowa.

Ph.D. student Cody Norling recently completed a review of Alexandra Wilson’s Opera in the Jazz Age: Cultural Politics in 1920s Britain,  now available in the Journal of Musicological Research. In addition, Cody conducted research at Chicago’s Newberry Library in preparation for a presentation at the “Opera and Popular Culture after 1900” conference held in February at Texas Christian University.
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The Newberry

Cody is also completing a two-year appointment as a TA in Rhetoric. Through this program, Cody designed and taught “Rhetorics of Music,” which concluded with student presentations on topics ranging from music therapy and current music tastes to video game music and film music. At present, Cody is serving Rhetoric by researching the possibilities for online speaking instruction. 

Sarah Suhadolnik Discusses the 1619 Project with Study Group in Des Moines

The Plymouth United Church of Christ in Des Moines recently hosted Dr. Suhadolnik as a featured speaker in their study group devoted to The New York Times’ 1619 Project. By marking the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery, the 1619 Project hosts essays and podcasts that contemplate slavery’s manifold social, cultural, and economic consequences. Sarah’s discussion on American popular music shared a program with performances from Tina Haase Findlay, local jazz artist, guitarist Brandon Findlay, and the Bridges 2 Harmony Gospel Choir.

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(Re)discovering Musical Iowana, on the Road with Red Vespa

Marian Wilson Kimber’s article, “Musical Iowana: Iowa Women’s Clubs’ Promotion of Iowa Composers,” recently appeared in The Annals of Iowa.  Funded by a grant from the State Historical Society of Iowa, Wilson Kimber’s research uncovered women’s events celebrating the music of the state’s composers in over one hundred Iowa towns, largely in the 1920s through the 1940s.

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As part of the duo, Red Vespa, Wilson Kimber continues to perform women’s spoken-word compositions. This past fall they appeared at the Musician’s Club of Women in Chicago and the 2019 American Musicological Society meeting in Boston. In November Wilson Kimber was honored with a distinguished Alumni Award from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, where she received her undergraduate education.


Matthew Arndt’s Adventures on Research Leave

Dr. Matthew Arndt has just gotten back to Iowa City after spending the summer and fall months conducting new research and contributing to workshops. In June he taught musicianship and composition at the first Orthodox Music Masterclass at the Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, led by Peter Jermihov and sponsored by the Society of St. Romanos the Melodist. The masterclass is the first in North America to focus on new music for the Orthodox Church. He will teach there again this year.

Pictured: Arndt (front right) with musicianship students


In July 2019, using a University of Iowa Arts and Humanities Initiative grant, Arndt attended a two-week singing workshop in western Georgia led by master chanter and singer Malkhaz Erkvanidze, learning chants and folk songs. He had a chance to visit Shemokmedi Monastery, the home of Shemokmedi School chant, a special interest of his. He also learned about chant manuscripts and interviewed another master chanter.

Pictured: Arndt (back left) with workshop students and Erkvanidze (front right)

Arndt II
In the fall, using a University of Iowa Career Development Award, Arndt began a corpus study of western Georgian chant using scans of manuscripts and edited transcriptions to learn about a chant concept called k’ilo, which has been translated as mode, but which might be translated as dialect. This work is cross-pollinating ongoing theoretical work on musical form drawing on the theories of Arnold Schoenberg.


Congratulations to Dr. Aichele!

The muMichele Aichelesicology area congratulates our most recent graduate, Dr. Michele Aichele! Michele defended her dissertation, “Cécile Chaminade as a Symbol for American Women, 1890–1920,” in November. Michele’s work was made possible in part through a dissertation fellowship from the American Association of University Women. She currently teaches at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.



Ethnomusicology Today in the News

Ethnomusicology Today, a podcast produced and hosted at UI by Dr. Trevor Harvey, is featured in an article published the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Journalist Isaac Hamlet interviews Trevor and his undergraduate research fellow, Miranda Henry, to offer an overview of the podcast’s history at Iowa (going strong since 2015). In addition to providing an opportunity for undergraduate research, the podcast helps connect a wide array of listeners to new research in music scholarship. Check out the latest episode, which features coverage and discussion of special events programmed for the Society for Ethnomusicology’s annual meeting, below.


An alumna’s upcoming visit to campus, a new video, and an article about UI’s Special Collections

This post is an unabashed grab bag of timely updates. Enjoy!

First, we are honored to have alumna Dr. Jama Stilwell (Cornell College) back on campus for an Obermann Center Humanities for the Public Good symposium this upcoming Friday (November 1). The symposium brings back Ph.D. alumni to share reflections on their careers in academia and beyond. Information about the symposium may be found here (registration is free), and Jama’s discussion panel will be from 2:45-4:00.

Next, Ph.D. candidate Megan Small took time to collaborate again with music librarian Katie Buehner on two new orchestra-related videos. The videos where shown to Iowa City elementary students before their field trip to Voxman for a concert with the symphony orchestra. The videos cover a lot of ground: in addition to offering engaging previews of the featured music, they also include a primer on conducting an orchestra (some students enjoyed time on the podium). A concert etiquette guide for the young in heart is included here:

Third, Prof. Nathan Platte recently published a brief reflection on his study of Hollywood scripts and other film-related materials held in the special collections of Simpson College and the University of Iowa. The article was featured on the UI Libraries’ and Rita Benton Music Library’ main pages, and may be enjoyed here.

The Midwest Graduate Music Consortium at Iowa: Call for Papers and Scores

The 24th annual Midwest Graduate Music Consortium will be hosted here at Voxman, March 6-7, 2020. The website for the conference and the call for papers and scores is now live! Learn more about the conference here and the process for submitting paper proposals and scores here.

Midwest Graduate Music C.jpegMGMC is a joint venture organized by graduate students from the University of Chicago, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Northwestern University, and the University of Iowa that promotes the presentation of original research and the composition of new music by graduate and advanced undergraduate students. The Midwest Graduate Music Consortium invites paper and performance submissions for its upcoming conference. We welcome proposals pertaining broadly to topics falling under the disciplinary classifications of music studies (ethno/musicology, music theory, performance, and pedagogy) and sound studies, as well as topics on the transdisciplinary frontier between music and its conceivably numerous neighbors.



Bidding farewell to summer…

“So, what did you do this summer?” It’s a familiar refrain during the early weeks of fall term.

Chicago Civic Opera House.jpegSummer for PhD student Cody Norling meant finding that elusive balance across research, writing, and teaching. He kicked off his dissertation research by spending a week in Northern Illinois University’s “Historic Scenic Collection, 1865–2012,” which houses an abundant supply of materials relating to Chicago’s Civic Opera company.

He also finished an article manuscript on the Iowa State Normal Academy of Music for a forthcoming volume on Midwestern identity formation in the 19th century.

And, finally, Cody designed a new course titled “Rhetorics in/of Western Music” for UI’s Department of Rhetoric, where he serve as a TA. Intended as an undergraduate introduction to rhetorical inquiry and participation, the course utilizes the analysis of musical sounds, processes, and discourses within the study of persuasion and academic argumentation.

Cody’s class is now well underway, along with those of the other musicology TAs, Arthur, Elissa, Lexy, and Monica. We’ll follow up with updates from them as the semester progresses.

Spring Term Updates

Finals just finished here in Iowa City, and already the Summer term has begun. As students and faculty transition to new courses and research projects, here’s a few highlights from the latter half of Spring term:

UI students, faculty, and music librarian journeyed to the University of Northern Iowa in late April for the fifth annual Iowa Musicology Day. Two students and two faculty presented:Image result for aqua follies minneapolis

Megan Small (PhD): “Aqua Follies” (on the music from the 1953 Aqua Follies water ballet performance at the Minneapolis Aquatennial)

Ben Owen (DMA) “The Musical Architect: the Influence of Cathedral Architecture in the  Music of Herbert Howells”

Nathan Platte (Musicology), “(Re)sounding Archives: Listening for Presence and Absence in Hollywood’s Archival Collections”

Marian Wilson Kimber (Musicology), “Musical Iowana: Iowa Women’s Clubs and the Promotion of Iowa Composers”

At the Society for American Music conference in New Orleans, three faculty members chaired individual sessions while three students shared recent research:

Society for American Music, 2019

Kelsey McGinnis (PhD candidate): “Not for Your Entertainment: Film, Music, and Reeducation in America’s German POW Camps”

Cody Norling (PhD pre-candidate) “Classical Music Popularized, Popular Music Dignified”: The May Valentine Opera Company and Operatic Dissemination on the Chautauqua Circuits”

Andrew Tubbs (MA): “It Doesn’t Go to My Head”: Jazz, Womanhood, and the Body in New Orleans (1947)”

Christine Getz recently shared new research in a paper titled, “Who were the ‘heirs of Francesco and Simon Tini’?” Her paper was part of the “Women in Society” panel at the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music conference in Durham, NC. By drawing on new archival evidence, Getz argued that “the heirs were women and minor male children who did not live to adulthood, and, further, that the women resorted to some of the same techniques for survival adopted by other females who had inherited or married into paper vending, printing, or bookselling dynasties of the era.”

Megan Small, PhD candidate and current music director at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, presented at the American Hungarian Educators Association conference in Pittsburgh. Her paper, “Bridging Identities: A Case Study of Frigyes Hidas,” establishes a new biographical reference for Hungarian composer Frigyes Hidas, based on research completed in 2014-2015 on the Fulbright Student Research Grant.

Lisa Mumme successfully defended her masters thesis, “Not Things: Gender and Music in the Mad Max Franchise.” In the fall, Lisa will continue her studies in the musicology PhD program at Washington University in St. Louis.

In April Nathan Platte participated in a public discussion panel on film music hosted by the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies at the Iowa City Public Library (other panelists included Corey Creekmur, Associate Professor of Film Studies, local filmmaker Kaitlyn Busbee, and FilmScene programing director Rebecca Fons). The following week Nathan visited the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he gave an invited talk on music in Robert Wise’s films and met with graduate students from the film department.

With her pianist, Natalie Landowski, Marian Wilson Kimber has continued to perform the musical readings by women composers she explores in her book, The Elocutionists: Women Music, and the Spoken Word (University of Illinois Press, 2017).  They have performed for the American Association of University Women in Cedar Falls, the Des Moines Women’s Club, and as the William A. Hammond Lecture on the American Tradition at Ohio State University. Wilson Kimber has presented her recent research on Iowa women’s clubs’ promotion of Iowa composers for the State Historical Society of Iowa, which can be seen here:

She gave the keynote address, “American Women’s Concerts and the Idea of a Middlebrow Canon,” for the Midwest Chapter meeting of the American Musicological Society at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she was also elected the chapter’s representative to AMS’s national council.