Sarah Lucas Awarded Fulbright

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!

Hungarian Institute of Musicology 2014

2016 Iowa Musicology Day Program

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)

1:45–2:45 Interpretations

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”

 

Anchiskhati Choir to Visit

anchiskhati picture.jpgA quartet of the Anchiskhati Choir, the world’s foremost practitioners of Georgian traditional choral music, is visiting Iowa City on February 25–26. The visit is the first stop of a US tour connected with a symposium at Yale University.

According to John Graham of Yale University, “members of the Anchiskhati Choir come from different regions of Georgia where they have absorbed the unique singing traditions of their parents and grandparents. Singing weekly in the famous sixth-century Anchiskhati church in Tbilisi, Georgia, the group collaborates as a group of expert and passionate ethnomusicologists, who teach, hold workshops and regularly perform in Georgia and abroad.” Since 1988, the group has been at the forefront of a revival of Georgian traditional three-voice chant, which was eradicated at the beginning of the twentieth century. Their chanting is informed by intensive study of original recordings and transcriptions from that period. “The precision of timbre, tuning, and other nuances of authentic practice in an Anchiskhati performance yield an exquisite blend of ethereal Orthodox prayer text with the hearty enthusiasm of the Caucasian folk-singing style.”

On February 25 at 4:30 pm, they will give a lecture-demonstration entitled “An Introduction to Georgian Traditional Music” at the University Capitol Center Recital Hall (1670 UCC) in Old Capitol Town Centre, assisted by Matthew Arndt of the University of Iowa School of Music. That evening at 7:30 pm, the group will give a concert of secular and sacred music featuring traditional instruments at St. Raphael Orthodox Church, 722 East College Street, followed by a reception with Georgian food. Both events are free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted at the concert and reception. On February 26, the singers will visit choruses at three high schools in town: City, West, and Regina.

The invited representatives of the choir are Davit Shughliashvili, Zaal Tsereteli, Levan Veshapidze, and Davit Zatiashvili. The visit is co-sponsored by the University of Iowa School of Music, the University of Iowa Department of Religious Studiesthe University of Iowa Department of Religious Studies, International Programs, the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, Arts Share, and the Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of the Midwest.

Recent Faculty Activities

EMHIowa faculty have recently been active in publishing scholarship, presenting papers, and developing new pedagogies. Christine Getz’s “Canonizing San Carlo: Sermonizing, the Sounding Word, and Image Construction in the Polyphony for San Carlo,” was published in the 2015 edition of Early Music History. This essay examines the role of the hymns, the sacred polyphony by Vincenzo Pellegrini and Andrea Cima, and the spiritual madrigals of Giovanni Battista Porta in promoting the officially sanctioned image of Carlo Borromeo after his elevation to the status of ‘beato’ and following his canonisation.

9780199321285Trevor Harvey’s chapter, “Avatar Rockstars: Constructing Musical Personae in Virtual Worlds,” about music in Second Life, was just published in The Oxford Handbook of Music and Virtuality, edited by Sheila Whiteley and Shara Rambarran.

 

Booklet.qxd The CD, Brazilian Dreams: Music of Michael Eckert, was released in the fall of 2015 on MSR Classics MS1549. It includes Three Chôros, Three Pieces in Brazilian Style, Three for the Road, Three Scenes (Amanda McCandless, clarinet; Polina Khatsko, piano); Three Tangos, and Three Pieces for Two Pianos (The Unison Duo). Michael Eckert has also published a review of Ben Earle, Luigi Dallapiccola and Musical Modernism in Fascist Italy in The Journal of Musicological Research 34 (2015): 352-354.

main-qimg-c771a5403bc222f78ac025aece5e14f9Jennifer Iverson gave a talk in January 2016 at CCRMA, The Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University, one of the foremost computer-music centers in the world. The talk, “Invisible Collaboration: The Dawn of Electronic Music at the WDR” is available on YouTube.

Tom_Quad_9139In January, Marian Wilson Kimber presented a paper, “Women’s Musical Readings and the Canon: Genre, Performance, and the ‘Work’ Concept,” at an interdisciplinary conference, Women and the Canon, at Christ Church, Oxford University. The paper explored the historical position of a rare women’s genre, the musical reading, for spoken word and piano.

Matthew Arndt was awarded an Innovations in Teaching with Technology Award from Iowa’s College and Liberal Arts and Sciences for his project, “New Tools for Musicianship and Theory Pedagogy,” which enhances undergraduate theory pedagogy through a program called SmartMusic and an app, Anki.

 

 

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.

Fall 2015 Lecture Circuit

Here’s a run-down of the papers that musicology and theory faculty and students are delivering this fall:

DunbarDouglassRecital_1901Marian Wilson Kimber presented a paper, “Li’l Brown Baby: Paul Laurence Dunbar, Dialect Verse, and Musically-Accompanied Recitation by Women” at the fall meeting of the Midwest Chapter of the American Musicological Society in Chicago.  The paper explored the use of music in the spoken-word performances of the African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, and role that the widespread popularity of his poetry with female elocutionists and composers played in its reception. Historical Dunbar and Douglass poster courtesy Ohio History Center, Columbus Ohio.

Cage ca. 1950

Cage ca. 1950

Jennifer Iverson presented a paper, “Preparing Electronic Music” at the national meeting of the Society for Music Theory in St. Louis. The paper explored the reception of John Cage‘s prepared piano music in West Germany between 1952-54. Before the aleatory debates of the later 1950s, Cage’s prepared piano had a profound effect on both the sound and the temporal structure of early WDR electronic music.

 

Kelsey McGinnis

Kelsey McGinnis

Kelsey McGinnis, a PhD student in musicology, gave a presentation titled “Intersections: Music, Human Rights, and Cultural Diplomacy in an Iowa POW Camp” at the International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy in the United Nations. The conference was hosted at the United Nations headquarters and other UN consulates in New York, bringing together academic and political professionals. Kelsey presented her work on the musical activities of German POWs in Iowa during WWII as a case study in the history of U.S. cultural diplomacy.

Iverson is Stanford External Faculty Fellow

Hoover Tower at Stanford University

Hoover Tower at Stanford University

Jennifer Iverson, assistant professor of music theory, has won an External Faculty Fellowship from the Stanford Humanities Center. Iverson is one of ten external fellows selected from a pool of over four hundred applicants, making this one of the most competitive and prestigious residential fellowships in the nation. In a happy coincidence, a second University of Iowa professor, Blaine Greteman, is also in the 2015-16 Stanford cohort. A College of Liberal Arts and Sciences article about that is here.

Iverson will spend the year in Palo Alto working on her book project, Electronic Inspirations: The WDR Studio and Musical Thought at Mid-Century. Her research elucidates the impact of the WDR (West German Radio) studio and its music on the post-war European musical avant-garde in the critical decades of the 1950s and 1960s. The WDR in Cologne quickly became a new music mecca due to robust government funding for its electronic studio and related concert series and broadcasts. It is a crucial but so far overlooked institution for the pan-European post-war musical avant-garde. The rise of electronic music at mid-century is deeply engaged with broader cultural questions about the role of technology in institutions, art, and life. Electronic Inspirations shows how the electronic music made at the WDR drove the development of mid-century classical music, and shaped the proliferation of technology in post-war culture more broadly.

Stanford Humanities Center

Stanford Humanities Center

The fellowship represents an incredible and rare opportunity for focused research and writing within a community of top-notch humanities scholars. This broader humanities context is quite desirable, as Iverson and Matthew Arndt found during their tenure as fellows-in-residence at the Obermann Center at the University of Iowa. As Iverson explains, “More and more, I find that feedback on my writing and my ideas from those trained in the humanities, but not necessarily in music theory or musicology, is extremely insightful and valuable.” Iverson will return to teaching at the University of Iowa in Fall 2016.

Christopher Jette Joins Faculty as Grant Wood Fellow

Composer Christopher Jette is joining us this year as a Grant Wood Fellow.  Jette considers himself “a curator of lovely sounds” and has a special focus on the artistic possibilities at the intersection of human performers/creators and technological tools. Jette’s personal website contains videos, scores, and many sound samples of his work, like video included below of his recent electro-acoustic work utuquq (2014) for piano, kinect sensor, and live electronics. Characteristic of Jette’s multifaceted aesthetics, utuquq draws together recorded walrus sounds, the ridge lines of the White Mountains, and technological processes controlled by human gestures. In addition to creating new work, he will direct the Laptop Orchestra of the University of Iowa (see the earlier post about LOUI here). Jette will also teach Composition, Composition Seminar, and co-teach Collaborative Performance with faculty from the Department of Dance.

Welcome Professor Jette!

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.