News and Events
Hannah Grantham, who graduated as a music history major in 2016, has been working on a master's degree with specialization in the history of musical instruments at the University of South Dakota, which has an acclaimed museum devoted to musical instruments. She recently received word that she has been chosen for a Music and Performing Arts Graduate internship at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. She writes, "I'll get to help catalog objects, do in-depth research, and assist in researching and writing a book the museum is compiling about untold stories in African American Music History."
Benjamin Graf gave a guest lecture entitled "Schenkerian Theory: A Comparison of Analytical Approaches and Perspectives" at Dallas Baptist University on February 8. He also presented a paper entitled "Unresolved Six-Four Chords in Beethoven" at the Texas Society for Music Theory Conference on February 23-24.
Gillian Robertson gave a paper entitled, “Rachmaninoff’s Nostalgic ‘Second’ Movement of Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43,” at the Texas Society for Music Theory’s 40th Annual Conference, held at Dallas Baptist University in February. She presented a theoretical framework for interpreting moments of nostalgia in music using Op. 43 as a case study. Gillian will also be presenting the paper later this month in Hattiesburg, MS at the Annual South Central Society for Music Theory Conference.
Yuxin Mei, PhD graduate student in ethnomusicology, has been awarded the prestigious Presser Award from the UNT College of Music. The $10,000 grant will allow her to travel to China to enhance her knowledge as director of the UNT Chinese Music Ensemble, as a scholar and teacher. She will work with prestigious musicians and ensembles in three different regions of the country to learn about and collect new and emerging Chinese ensemble repertoire as well as ancient and representative regional ensemble styles and notation techniques to broaden her own knowledge as well as that of the ensemble. Her long term goal is to create a manual for use by other Chinese ensemble directors in the US.
Rebecca Geoffroy-Schwinden has two recent publications. Her article "A Lady-in-Waiting's Account of Marie Antoinette's Musical Politics: Women, Music, and the French Revolution," was published in Women & Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture. Her book chapter, "The revolution of Jommelli's objets d'art: Bernard Sarrette's requests for the Bibliothèque du Conservatoire," was published by Oxford Studies in the Enlightenment in Moving Scenes: The Circulation of Music and Theatre in Europe, 1700–1815, a collection edited by Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire, Philippe Bourdin, and Charlotta Wolff. In November, she gave a paper entitled "Music as Feminine Capital in Napoleonic France," at the Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society in Rochester, New York.
Dr. Steven Friedson, University Distinguished Research Professor, and Yuxin Mei, Director of the UNT Chinese Ensemble, received a China Venture Fund Grant to travel to China in Summer 2018 to recruit graduate students in ethnomusicology, investigate potential sites for research, and to scope out venues for a tour of the UNT Chinese Ensemble to China. They will be visiting the China Conservatory of Music, Beijing; Xi’an Conservatory of Music; and the Xing Hai Conservatory of Music in Guangzhou.
The College of Music, under the auspices of the Ethnomusicology Area, initiated the first Chinese Music Ensemble at a Texas university in 2015. Directed by internationally acclaimed pipa (Chinese lute) artist, Yuxin Mei, the ensemble has recently been the recipient of a $25,000 grant, which funded the purchase of high quality, professional Chinese instruments, making the UNT Chinese Ensemble arguably the best equipped ensemble in the United States. As evidence of their growing national stature, the ensemble has been invited to play at the Confucius Institute of Denver for the Chinese New Year celebration in February 2018, and was honored to receive an invitation to participate in the prestigious "China West Lake International Youth Music Festival” in China.
This year, UNT students and faculty are making major contributions to the annual conference of the Society for Ethnomusicology, to be held in Denver, CO.
Graduate students Lizeth Dominguez, Thanmayee Krishnamurthy, Yuxin Mei, and José R. Torres-Ramos will be presenting papers in a panel they have jointly prepared, entitled "Musical Constructions of Masculinity: Identity and Authenticity Within Diverse Global Traditions." The panel is being sponsored by SEM's Gender and Sexualities Task Force.
Dr. Steven Friedson will be delivering the keynote speech for SEM's Eductation Section, titled "Being-Musical in a University Core Curriculum." Dr. Cathy Ragland will be a member of the President's Roundtable, discussing "Engaged Activism among Ethnomusicologists Responding to the Contemporary Dynamic of Migrants and Refugees." Dr. Vivek Virani has organized a panel sponsored by the South Asian Performing Arts section, entitled "Reconfiguring South Asian Devotional Music: Professionalism, Identity, Technology," in which he will be presenting his paper "'Instruments Resound in the Palace of Emptiness': Mysticism, Activism, and Entertainment in North Indian Nirgun Performance."
We're not only bringing our research, but also our music! Vivek Virani will be performing on tabla for the Music and Dance of Asia and the Middle East Concert. Cathy Ragland and Miguel Espinel will be DJing the Latinx Dance Party, and Nate Ash-Morgan will DJ an Afro Pop set at the African Music and Dance Night.
We are very proud that José R. Torres-Ramos, our first ever ethnomusicology doctoral student at UNT, has been selected for a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Fellowship! José's hard work and commitment have set an excellent standard for all future students in the program.
José will conduct 12-months of dissertation fieldwork in Mexico City and Guadalajara investigating how mariachi performers and audiences construct a lifeworld of musical machismo that indexes a notion of authentic Mexican cultural identity.
In 2016, José was awarded the Presser Graduate Music Award at UNT. His Presser funded project consisted of a three-month performance-research practicum in Mexico including the development of an ethnomusicological praxis for mariachi teaching and performance.
Last month, the UNT Chinese Ensemble, founded and led by doctoral student Yuxin Mei, participated in a fundraiser concert. The even, entitled "Hope for the Storm," was organized by the Richardson Mayor's Office in cooperation with the Texas American China Cultural Foundation, the Jiaping Shi Dance School, and the Network of Community Ministries. Other performers included students from the Jiaping Dance School, the Texas Boys Choir, and many community groups.
In total, the event raised over $12,000 towards relief efforts for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. The Mayor of Richardson sent a personal letter of gratitude to the UNT Chinese Ensemble for their contributions.
The UNT Chinese Ensemble was founded by Yuxin Mei in 2016. Members include College of Music students Miguel Espinel, Joseph Gelle, Li Liu, Chen Mengyang, Samuel Miyashita, Alex Strader, Michael Thompson, and Jackie Yin, Xiao Yun, and several students from outside the college. We are very proud of the ensemble's engagement with the wider community, and of their compassionate efforts to help those in need.
Musicology PhD student Andrea Recek has been awarded the Mellon-CES Dissertation Completion Fellowships in European Studies.
Graduate students studying the humanities can apply for The Council of European Studies fellowships, which are funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Those selected for the fellowships receive a $25,000 stipend and participate in a variety of activities organized by the CES, including presenting at the International Conference of Europeanists. The fellowship will allow her to complete her dissertation – Constructing Identity Through Liturgy: Music for the Saints in Medieval Aquitaine.
The following ethnomusicology students presented papers at the regional Society for Ethnomusicology-Southern Plains conference on March 4 at UT-RGV in Edinburg, TX:
Graduate Students: Thanmayee Krishnamurthy- “The Vidhushi (Female Musician): Transcending Gender Norms in South Indian Karnatic Music.”Yuxin Mei – “Reinterpreting Pipa Voice: How Contemporary Chinese Female Pipa Performers Reconstruct Power by Negotiating with a Gendered Voice.” Lizeth Dominguez - “No Temo La Muerte: Death as a Construction of Authentic Masculinity in the Narcocorrido.” José Torres – “La Plaza Garibaldi: An Embodied Space of Musical Machismo.”
Undergraduates: Michael Cardenas – “Cumbia Tejana: Synthesis towards Unification in the Tejano Continuum” (also presented at the National Association for Chicana/o Studies Tejas Foco conference at Texas A&M, February 24). Vianey C. Rivera – “Me la quemo: Aesthetic Values within the Working Mariachi.”
Sean Peters, graduate student in ethnomusicology, will present his paper, "Speaking Through Noise: Punks in the Studio and the Importance of the Experiential," at the Society for Ethnomusicology, Southwest Chapter meeting on April 7 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. He also received a scholarship package to study for the PhD in musicology at Cornell University starting in Fall 2017.
Rebecca Geoffroy-Schwinden presented a paper at the meeting of the International Musicological Society in Tokyo, Japan, on March 22, 2017, and gave an invited paper at a conference on "Music and the Body Between Revolutions: 1789–1848," sponsored by the Columbia Society of Fellows and University of Paris—8, which was held at Columbia University on March 31 and April 1.
In March 2017, Bernardo Illari presented a guest faculty lecture entitled "Colonial Conundrums: Persistence and Change in South American Music." in Taipei (Taiwan) at the National Taiwan University. He participated in the IMS Tokyo, Study session, “Composers as Writers: Self-Construction, Theory and Practice in Three Latin American Composers from the 17th-20th Centuries." He read "Ideas de Sumaya: Una retórica deliberativa al servicio de la música" (Sumaya's Ideas: A Deliberative Rhetoric at the Service of Music),” in Spanish. He participated in the IMS Round Table, "Music as Mission: The Globalization of European Religious Music to 1800." He read "Music, Inclusion and Erasure: The Jesuit Missions of Paraguay." He presented a Free paper: “A National Symphony—with a Twist: Argentine Alberto Williams’ Witch of the Mountains (1910).”
Cathy Ragland appears in the documentary film, “As I Walk Through the Valley,” which premiered at South-by-Southwest on March 14 – 17. The film, directed by Ronnie Garza and Charlie Vela, tells the history of popular music in Texas-Mexican border towns of the Rio Grande Valley from the 1960s-Present.
In March 2017, Vivek Virani participated in the 3rd Workshop on Cross-Disciplinary and Multicultural Perspective on Musical Rhythm, hosted by NYU Institute Abu Dhabi. He was one of 25 scholars invited to present at the conference, and also performed a solo tabla presentation at the "Musical Diversity" concert organized as part of the conference. In April, he has invited the renowned Indian folk singer, Prahlad Singh Tipanya, to UNT to present in a few of our ethnomusicology classes and has organized a concert for him and his troupe in the Recital Hall on April 11. Afterward,Vivek will accompany the troupe to Stanford, where he has been invited to present his research at the symposium on Singing Religious Poetry in North India. Vivek has received an invitation from the Government of Sindh, Pakistan, to present at the 3rd International Conference on Sufi Heritage in Karachi in early May.
Frank Heidlberger presented the paper Carl Dahlhaus’s essay “What is the History of Music Theory?” and its historiographic methodology in today’s contexts of music “theory” and “practice” at the Conference of the International Musicological Society in Tokyo on March 20, 2017.
On behalf of his retirement last year, Music Theory Professor Dr. Gene Cho received a special recognition from the Provost of the University on February 21, 2017.
In the picture: Josephine Cho, Frank Heidlberger (chair), Gene Cho.
Photo: Jaymee Haefner
Ellen Bakulina will present her paper entitled "Schenker, Mazel, and Chopin: elements of linear analysis in the work of Leo Mazel" at TSMT (Texas Society for Music Theory) in February and at MTSMA (Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic) in March.
Professor Gideon Alorwoyie has been invited to play in New York City for composer Steve Reich’s 80th birthday celebration. Reich travelled to Ghana to study with Gideon in 1970, and his piece Drumming was inspired by this experience.
Prof. Alorwoyie was a child prodigy who became the first master drummer for the Ghana National Dance Company and he is the first African musician to receive tenure at an American university and the first one to become a full professor.
The event will take place December 10, 2016, 7pm, at National Sawdust, 80 N 6th St, Brooklyn. For further details, you may visit this link: http://www.worldmusicinstitute.org/event/20a276a00d774346e1154cd712777c34
At the AMS/SMT conference in Vancouver Justin Lavacek received the Emerson Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work on Mozart in 2016, from the Mozart Society of America. His article "Mozart's Harmonic Design in the Secco Recitatives" was published in Theoria 22 (2015).
In addition, David Bard-Schwarz and Timothy Jackson were also recognized. David Lewin’s Morgengruß, co-edited by David Bard-Schwarz and Richard Cohn, received a Citation of Special Merit from the Society of Music Theory. The book From Bach to Brahms, to which Timothy Jackson contributed a chapter, won the Outstanding Multi-Authored Collection Award from the Society for Music Theory.
Also at SMT Vancouver, Ellen Bakulina presented her paper Non-monotonality and Proto-Harmony in Rachmaninoff. Frank Heidlberger presented “What is the History of Music Theory?” – Dahlhaus’s Essay and its Relevance for the Current Understanding of the Discipline, as part of the paper session Carl Dahlhaus on the History of Music Theory. Approaches to a discipline in between Music Theory and Music History. Heidlberger also organized and chaired this session.
Emily Hagen, a PhD candidate in Music History, presented a paper on the interpretation of emotions in Venetian opera at the conference Opera: The Art of Emotion in Melbourne, Australia. This conference was held on Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2016 and was cosponsored by the Musicological Society of Australia and the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of the Emotions.
PhD student in musicology, Jessica Stearns, will be presenting her paper "Analyzing Christian Wolff's Alternatively Notated Scores" in the Improvisation Interest Group session at the Society for Music Theory meeting to be held November 3-6 in Vancouver.
Yuxin Mei, graduate student in ethnomusicology, has just been awarded the Vida Chenoweth Prize for best student paper presented at the Southern Plains Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology conference held in April 2016. The title of her paper is "Negotiating with Sound: The Living Sound Niche Created by the Chinese Immigrants in Plano-Dallas Area."
Ethnomusicology PhD student José R. Torres-Ramos has been awarded the Presser Graduate Music Award at UNT for 2016. José’s scholarly interests focus on the mariachi tradition including research, teaching, and performance. His Presser funded project consists of a two-month performance-research practicum in Mexico to include the development of an ethnomusicological praxis for mariachi teaching and performance. In addition to his ethnomusicological studies at UNT under the mentorship of Steven Friedson and Catherine Ragland, José serves as director of Mariachi Águilas de UNT, the ensemble founded in 2003 by Donna Emmanuel.
Sixteen graduate schools of music at accredited colleges, universities and independent institutions of higher education have been invited to present the Presser Graduate Music Award to an outstanding graduate music student whom they select. The program is designed to encourage and support in a special way the advanced education and career of truly exceptional graduate music students who have the potential to make a distinguished contribution to the field of music. The Presser Foundation operates under the will and Deeds of Trust created by its founder, Theodore Presser. It is one of the few foundations in the United States dedicated solely to the support of music and music education.
The Ethnomusicology area welcomes new faculty member Vivek Virani.
Vivek Virani is a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology at UCLA, completing his dissertation with the guidance of Daniel Neuman, AJ Racy, Timothy Taylor and Aamir Mufti. His dissertation explores how songs of South Asian devotional poet-saints are used to negotiate issues of culture, religion, and society at the regional and national levels. His broader interests in ethnomusicology include music and spiritual expression; music and community-building; music, religion and nation; and Indian classical music. Vivek has trained in classical tabla performance under world masters Suresh Talwalkar and Swapan Chaudhuri. He regularly performs South Asian classical, folk, and devotional music on tabla, bamboo flute, and other instruments. Recently, Vivek has contributed a chapter on altered states of consciousness in classical tabla compositions to be published in the volume Music and Consciousness 2 by Oxford University Press, and a chapter on caste reform through devotional singing to be published in the volume Songs of Social Protest.
Lizeth Dominguez, graduate student in ethnomusicology, presented her paper entitled “Parrandera, Rebelde, y Atrevida: Jenni Rivera’s Creation of a Discursive Space in the Banda Genre.” It was presented as part of a panel titled Women on the Edge: Angry, Ironic and Fluid Voices Navigating Race, Culture, and Politics at the Society for Ethnomusicology conference at UT-Austin on December 5, 2015.
Clare Carrasco successfully defended her musicology dissertation (major professor, Margaret Notley) in April and will be a visiting assistant professor at Butler University in Indianapolis this coming year. Her dissertation examines German-language discourse about musical expressionism in the years after the First World War (c. 1918-1925) and situates the reception of select chamber works within that discourse. Most of her research to date, as presented in papers and pre-concert lectures, has concerned topics related to early twentieth-century chamber works and the music and legacy of Arnold Schoenberg.
PhD student in musicology Jessica Stearns will be presenting her paper "Opera, Architecture, and Place: The Regional Experience of the Santa Fe Opera Festival" at the "Locations and Dislocations: An Ecomusicological Conversation" conference to be held in Princeton, NJ., on April 8-10, 2016
Robert Anderson, doctoral student in musicology, was supported by a Toulouse Travel Grant to present a paper entitled, "The Listener as Genius: 'Musical Instinct' in Chabanon’s Observations sur la musique (1779)," on February 27 at the 2016 Columbia Music Scholarship Conference held at Columbia University in New York City.
Kimary Fick (recent PhD in Music History and mentee of Hendrik Schulze) presented a paper entitled “‘...They Decorate their Heads with Many Beautiful Things’: Herzogin Anna Amalia’s Aesthetics and the Ideal Musical Kennerin” at the Southwest Chapter Meeting of the American Musicological Society, held at Texas State University at San Marcos on October 10, 2015. At the same meeting, J. Cole Ritchie (recent PhD in Music History and Mentee of Margaret Notley) presented on “Recent Jazz Arrangements of Western Art Music as Foreignized Translations”.
Andrea Recek, Dr. Brand’s advisee, received both the International Dissertation Research Fellowship from the Social Science Research Council and a travel grant from the American Musicological Society.
Kimary Fick, an advisee of Dr. Schulze, successfully defended her dissertation in late September and will give a talk at the national AMS conference in November.
Megan Varvir Coe, an advisee of Dr. Mondelli, presented her research at conferences in Atlanta, Boston, and Maynooth. She plans to defend her dissertation in the spring.
At the spring meeting of the AMS-Southwest Chapter, held at UNT on April 11, Robert Michael Anderson gave a talk, “Lateness and the Death of the Poetic Idea: Beethoven’s Funeral March in Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen,” as winner of the Hewitt-Öberdörffer Award.
Student News and Presentations: 2016
Jayson Smith, PhD student in music theory, was selected to present his paper, “The Metric Battle in Holst’s Mars, the Bringer of War” at the Music Theory Forum at Florida State University (Tallahassee, January 2016), the Graduate Theory Association’s Annual Symposium of Research in Music Theory at Indiana University (Bloomington, February 2016), the Texas Society for Music Theory Conference (Belton, TX, February 2016), and the Rocky Mountain Society for Music Theory Conference (Albuquerque, NM, April 2016). He also has been selected to present at the Canadian University Music Society Annual Conference (Calgary, June 2016). Jay’s research was recognized with the Herbert Colvin Award for Best Student Paper at the Texas Society for Music Theory Conference. Additionally, Jay is the recipient of the 2015-2016 Outstanding Teaching Fellow in Music Theory Award for the University of North Texas College of Music.
The following students also presented papers in 2016:
The 'Wave Meter Model': A Graphic Notation for Metric Phenomena
Texas Society for Music Theory Annual Conference
Coherence amidst Irregular and Asymmetrical Hypermeter in the Fanfare of Janáček's Sinfonietta
Indiana University Graduate Theory Association Symposium
Building On Cohn's Metric Space: Metric Dissonances, Metric Irregularity, and Phrase Expansions in The Fanfare of Janáček's Sinfonietta
Texas Society for Music Theory Annual Conference
Motive, Form, Process, and Second Themes–an Analysis of Reger's D minor Piano Quartet
Indiana University Graduate Theory Association Symposium
The Tonic Object: New Models for Symphonic Analysis
Indiana University Graduate Theory Association Symposium &
Texas Society for Music Theory Annual Conference
The Metric Battle in Holst's 'Mars, the Bringer of War'
Indiana University Graduate Theory Association Symposium
Faculty Research Publications and Presentations: 2015
Benjamin Dobbs (Visiting Lecturer in Music Theory) presented a paper, entitled "Triadic Counterpoint or Contrapuntal Triads: Compositional Pedagogy in Early Seventeenth-Century Germany," at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Society for Music Theory in St. Louis held October 29 - November 1, 2015.
Ethnomusicoogy graduate student, Yuxin Mei, played pi'pa with the Four Seasons of China Orchestra of the Confucius Institute at UT Dallas on November 7. She presented her paper entitled "Negotiating Decades of Change: the Houston Chinese Traditional Music Group" for the Association of Chinese Music Research at the Society for Ethnomusicology conference at UT-Austin on December 3.
Ethnomusicology graduate student Thanmayee Holalkere Krishnamurthy will be performing with her South Indian Carnatic ensemble at Tarleton State University (Stephenville, TX) on November 19th, 4pm as part of its International Week celebrations.
The new PhD in Music with Concentration in Ethnomusicology has received its final approval from NASM (National Association of Schools of Music)! We will be open to receiving applications for Spring and Fall 2016. More details will available on the Divison website soon.
Ethnomusicology graduate student Yuxin Mei gave lecture/demonstrations on Chinese traditional music and pipa performance at Dealey Montessori Vanguard and International Academy on May 13. The program was funded by the DFW World Affairs Council.
Cathy Ragland spoke at the Conference on Education and Culture: Cross-Border Challenges and Opportunities on May 1. It was co-hosted by UNT, Secretariat of Education in Jalisco, Mexico and the Consulate General of Mexico in Dallas.
Thursday, April 30, 8pm, Voertman Concert Hall
Ethnomusicology Student Concert: “Hear the World: Music from India, China, and Mexico”
Vid. Thanmayee Krishnamurthy (Grand Karnatic Vocal Music)
Yuxin Mei (Traditional and Contemporary Pipa Music)
Lizeth Domínguez & José R. Torres (Music from the Mariachi Tradition)
Special Guests: Sean Peters & Lance Candler
The following papers were presented at SEM-SP on April 11-12 at Texas A&M, College Station:
“An Antique Practice in a Dazzling Guise: The Ritualization Process of Chun Wan, China Central Television's Chinese New Year's Gala” by Yuxin Mei
"Parrandera, Rebelde, y Atrevida: Jenni Rivera and the Performance of Masculinity” by Lizeth Dominguez
(also presented at SEM-SW on March 27 at the University of Colorado in Boulder)
“The Symbolic Dimensions of Mariachi Musicality” by José Torres
Wednesday, April 27, 5pm,
Recital Hall (Music Building)
Guest Lecture and Retirement Tribute to Dr. Gene Cho
Mark Spicer, guest speaker
The Music History, Theory and Ethnomusicology Division pays tribute to Professor Gene Cho upon his retirement after 42 years of teaching at the University of North Texas College of Music.
Mark Spicer is Professor of Music Theory at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He specializes in the reception history and analysis of popular music, especially British pop and rock since the 1960s, and his writings have appeared in a number of scholarly journals and essay collections. His book Sounding Out Pop, co-edited with John Covach, was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2010, and he has since edited the volume onRock Music for the Library of Essays on Popular Music series from Ashgate. Most recently, he completed a three-year term (2013–15) as Associate Editor of Music Theory Spectrum. Among his current and ongoing research projects, he is working on a book that will explore how certain pop and rock musicians since the early 1970s have confronted their anxiety of influence towards the Beatles, provisionally titled In the Beatles’ Wake.
Prof. Spicer served for ten years (2005–15) as Director of Undergraduate Studies in Music at Hunter College, and was the 2015 recipient of Hunter’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching. In addition to his scholarship and teaching, he maintains an active parallel career as a professional keyboardist and vocalist, having worked with several groups in the US and the UK since the 1980s. In the early 1990s, he was a founding member of the critically acclaimed group Little Jack Melody and His Young Turks, and can be heard on their first two CDs, On the Blank Generation (1991) and World of Fireworks (1994). He continues to take the stage most weekends with his own “electric R&B” group, the Bernadettes, and with the Christ Church Choir in New Haven.
April 11, 2015: UNT Hosted AMS-SW Meeting