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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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

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.