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.

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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.

Mojo Risin’ at Iowa’s Obermann Center

Two members of the music theory faculty, Matthew Arndt and Jennifer Iverson have recently been honored as Fellow-in-Residence at the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies. This award gives them a space to work on their research and writing at the Obermann Center, the chance to share and discuss work with other Fellows, $1000 for research, and the opportunity to apply for funding for interdisciplinary projects. Dr. Iverson is working in the same space that Dr. Arndt worked in in the fall (see photo), because it has the best mojo. During his Fellowship, Dr. Arndt completed the manuscript for his book project, “With God!”: The Musical Thought of Heinrich Schenker and Arnold Schoenberg. Dr. Iverson is working on three article projects, discussing the dawn of electronic music at the WDR studio in Cologne, John Cage‘s 1954 visit to West Germany, and the disabled body in electronic music.

mojo risin