Letter from the Chair

This year brings a bounty of good news and good happenings to Goodspeed Hall!  We are thrilled to welcome two new faculty members. Augusta Read Thomas, known around the Department as Gusty, has been one of the leading young composers in America and throughout the world for some time, and a great friend of the Department since she arrived in the city to succeed Shulamit Ran as composer-in-residence at the CSO.

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Alumni Notes

Alumni Notes

News from Alumni about their recent accomplishments.

Faculty Notes

Faculty Notes

Updates from our faculty members.

Student Notes

Student Notes

Updates from our students about their accomplishments over the past year.

tableau.uchicago.edu | Crossover Music

January 3, 2012

http://tableau.uchicago.edu/articles/2011/09/crossover-music

Crossover Music


Anne Walters Robertson talks about the medieval and contemporary tunes that keep her humming.

by Elizabeth Station

Anne Walters Robertson

Anne Walters Robertson

Whether the setting is a medieval abbey or a Broadway stage, “I have always had a very strong sense that music exists in spaces,” says Anne Robertson, the Claire Dux Swift Distinguished Service Professor in Music. Her scholarship on the liturgical and secular music of the Middle Ages explores these spaces deeply, showing how politics, theology, art, and architecture shaped music, especially in medieval France.

Sometimes Robertson has become so involved in research, she says, that manuscripts seemed as real to her as people. Yet she also bridges past and present: perusing digitized fifteenth-century songbooks online, playing Gershwin tunes on a classroom piano to teach beginning students about rhythm, and listening to Sinatra on her iPhone.

Author of Guillaume de Machaut and Reims: Context and Meaning in His Musical Works, Robertson is the first scholar to win all three awards given by the Medieval Academy of America. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and president of the American Musicological Society. She recently spoke with Tableau about the music and composers that keep her humming.

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arts.uchicago.edu | X marks the spot for jazz innovation, exploration at UChicago

December 7, 2011

arts.uchicago.edu | X marks the spot for jazz innovation, exploration at UChicago.

A graduate of Chicago's DuSable High School, Bowden studied with the legendary Captain Walter Dyett, who inspired talents from Nat King Cole to saxist Von Freeman.

In a universe of jazz quartets and quintets, sextets and septets, you might assume a band calling itself an “X-tet” has an undefined number of members. And in the case of the University of Chicago’s Jazz X-tet, that surface definition applies.

But to hear ensemble members tell it, the “X” also stands for experimentation and extreme focus. It’s a challenging musical crossroads that has brought the players opportunities for new ideas and growth. “It’s been an incredible learning experience,” says Sam Becker, 21, a fourth-year biology and philosophy major who plays upright bass. “I barely recognize myself …after three years. Something happens where you learn how to play your instrument better. I’ve just expanded my horizons.”

His rhythm section mate, drummer Peter Korajczyk, tells a similar story. Like Becker, the fourth-year biology major happened upon the X-tet at a music open house during Orientation Week. The former heavy metal drummer got involved, assuming he could have fun making things up as he went along. That’s the whole point of free and experimental jazz, right?

Not exactly.

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Lise Waxer Prize Awarded to Recent PhD Luis-Manuel Garcia

November 29, 2011

Dear friends and colleagues:

I’m delighted to announce that recent PhD Luis-Manuel Garcia was just awarded the Lise Waxer Prize, which recognizes “the most distinguished student paper in the ethnomusicology of popular music” (awarded by the Popular Music Section of the Society for Ethnomusicology). The prize was for Luis’s 2010 paper, presented at the SEM meeting in Los Angeles, entitled, “Liquid Solidarities: Vague Belonging at Electronic Dance Music Events in Paris, Chicago, and Berlin.”

We’re proud and thrilled by this news!

Best,

Martha

Eminent Composer Augusta Read Thomas Appointed University Professor

October 20, 2011

At this writing our new University Professor of Composition, Augusta Read Thomas, has just had the world premiere of her University of Chicago-commissioned violin duo double helix played to immense acclaim at the dedication ceremony of the new Joe and Rika Mansueto Library. What an honor for us!

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Legendary Composer Sofia Gubaidulina Awarded Honorary Doctorate

October 20, 2011

In June of 2011 the Department was deeply honored and tremendously excited to be able to sponsor the first honorary doctorate ever given to a composer or indeed any creative artist. The recipient of the degree was the magnificent Russian-Tatar composer Sofia Gubaidulina, a shining light among today’s composers, who was gracious enough to make her way to our shores all the way from her adopted home of Germany to receive the honor. While here she also attended the dress rehearsal and concert of her three of her works in a semi-private concert at Fulton Recital Hall followed by festivities at the President’s house for awardees special prizes and honorary degrees, and marched in the Convocation where a tribute to her was delivered by our own Shulamit Ran. It could not have been more exciting and moving for all involved—a day to go down in history and one in which Music took a decisive lead in the arts initiatives currently being advanced so vigorously by the University.

Mexican Choreographer Claudia Lavista Joins Department as Mellon Resident Artist

October 20, 2011

In 2011-12, the Music Department is tremendously excited to welcome Mexican choreographer Claudia Lavista as Mellon Resident Artist in conjunction with the new Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry.  Hosted by Music faculty, Claudia will work with our graduate students in composition to craft a dance-music installation called “Visible/Invisible,” using multiple spaces in the Logan Center for the Arts.  Her preparatory visit in May 2011, included presentations in Fulton Recital Hall and the Composition Seminar, set our imaginations on fire!  She is a person of true verve, intelligence, and vision (and as it happens the daughter of past Tinker Professor of Composition, Mario Lavista, whose music she has used for various choreographies!).

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Visiting Committee Brings Leading Scholars to the Department

October 20, 2011

This year we are proud to host a number of visitors to the Department.  Composer Jan Radzynski, Professor at Ohio State University, is visiting in fall quarter and again in spring, teaching composition lessons while Shulamit Ran and Marta Ptaszynska are on quarter-long leaves.  A Yale graduate and old friend to the Department where he has taught twice in the past, Jan studied with Penderecki and Druckman before taking up his current post at Ohio State University and has had compositions performed by orchestras and chamber groups worldwide. Musicologist Emilio Ros-Fábregas, a specialist in Spanish music historiography, holds the Joan Coromines Chair in Catalan Studies in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.  In his regular life, he is a “Permanent Researcher” at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Spanish National Research Council) in Barcelona.  He is joined by his wife Dr. María Gembero Ustárroz, who comes as a Visiting Scholar.  Also a Permanent Researcher at the CSIC, Maria is a scholar of 16th-19th-century Spanish and Latin American music history and musical relationships between Spain and Latin America.

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Seth Brodsky Appointed Assistant Professor of Music

October 20, 2011

Assistant Professor Seth Brodsky comes to us after five years of teaching at Yale.  He received his BA at Lake Forest College and his PhD at Eastman (2007).  As a scholar, teacher, and critic, his work focuses on problems of musical intertextuality, particularly in the work of living, recently deceased, or frequently resurrected composers. Brodsky is especially interested in how contemporary composers fantasize and shepherd their affiliations with the musical past, both consciously and unconsciously, work that his taken him into new kinds of psychoanalytic studies, and for new reasons.

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Add Your Alumni Notes Here

October 19, 2011

Dear alumni/ae,

This year Alumni Notes will again be part of the Goodspeed Notes Online at music.uchicago.edu.  A form is laid out below for your response with news of family milestones, events, premieres, performances, publications, prizes and anything else you’d like to share.  WE WANT YOUR NEWS!  You can return the related form sent to you by U.S. mail, by responding to us at musicdept@uchicago.edu, or commenting directly to this post to share your news with colleagues and old friends.

ALUMNI/AE QUESTIONNAIRE

Name :

Degree(s) and year(s):

Present position:

Recent professional activities (research, administration, honors, etc.):

Personal news:

Other:

Donations now may be made online at http://lucian.uchicago.edu/blogs/goodspeednotes/contact-us/.

Post-doc Paul Steinbeck to be assistant professor at Syracuse University

May 11, 2011

Dear friends:

Our theory postdoc and jazz man Paul Steinbeck sent me this note to share with the whole Department:

“I have accepted a tenure-track position at Syracuse University,
where I’ll be an assistant professor of musicology
in the Department of African American Studies. Special thanks
are due to…

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Will White, AB 2005, takes post as Assistant Conductor of Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

May 11, 2011

Dear friends and colleagues:

I am delighted to be able to share some absolutely wonderful news about Will White, who graduated from the College in 2005 and subsequently served two years as conductor of the University Chamber Orchestra.

Will has just won a major conducting audition, and has been offered a position as Assistant Conductor of the CINCINNATI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA and Conducting of the CINCINNATI SYMPHONY YOUTH ORCHESTRA.  He will be moving to Cincinnati over the summer, and will begin his position with the CSYO next fall.

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Philip Bohlman elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

April 25, 2011

Dear friends and colleagues:

It’s my very great pleasure to bring to your attention the election of ethnomusicologist Philip Bohlman, the Mary Werkman Distinguished Service Professor in Music, the Humanities and the College, to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2011 class of fellows.  As many of you know, Phil works on a number of different topics and in many area studies, most prominently relating to issues of music and modernity, particularly Jewish music and the politics of religion and race in the music of the Middle East and South Asia. He has written extensively about the Eurovision Song Contest in Music, Nationalism, and the Making of a New Europe and other publications. He is also is artistic director of the New Budapest Orpheum Society, a Jewish cabaret ensemble at the University of Chicago.

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Special Event: Screening of opera on Chopin by Marta Ptaszynska

March 28, 2011

The Lovers from the Cloister of Valldemosa
(Grand Theater, Łodź, 2008-10)
Thursday, May 26, 7:00 PM, Fulton Recital Hall
1010 E. 59th Street, Goodspeed Hall, 4th floor
RSVP to Valldemosa@uchicago.edu. Space is limited.

Libretto (English) PDF

“The Lovers of the Valldemosa Monastery” was commissioned by the Grand Opera Theatre in Lodz and the Polish Ministry of culture for the Frederic Chopin Bicentennial Year 2010.

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Seth Brodsky to join Department of Music Faculty

March 16, 2011

Dear friends and colleagues:

I’m extremely happy to announce that music historian Seth Brodsky, Assistant Professor at Yale University, a specialist in music of postwar period, 1945-present, has just accepted our offer to join the faculty here in fall 2011.

Prof. Brodsky holds degrees from Wake Forest University (B.A., 1997) and the Eastman School of Music (M.A., 2002; Ph.D., 2007). Prior to joining the Yale faculty in 2006, he spent a year in Berlin as a Humboldt German Chancellor Scholar.
Brodsky’s work as a scholar, teacher, and critic is guided by the tension between history as documentary practice, history as imagination, and imagination as forgetting; between event, memory, and the new, “that which happened” and its subjective transcription, distortion, and effacement.

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MGMC Hosts 2010 Conference

October 21, 2010

MGMC 2010

The Midwest Graduate Music Consortium (MGMC) is a collaborative venture organized by students from the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. This past academic year, the annual MGMC conference was held here at the University of Chicago, on April 16.

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University of Chicago Presents launches new season, spearheads “Soviet Arts Experience”

October 21, 2010

Tokyo String Quartet

The University of Chicago Presents (UCP), the University’s professional music presenting organization, announces its 2010/11 Season, entitled “Musical Explorations,” inviting audiences, both new and seasoned, to discover exciting artists and revel in new music from favorite artists. Building upon 65 years of excellence in the cultural life of Chicago, UCP’s upcoming 2010/11 season promises many moments for both journeys and revelations.

The Soviet Arts Experience festival, spearheaded by UCP and scheduled to run from October 2010 – January 2012 throughout the city, offers a wonderful chance for audiences to take part in the largest interdisciplinary collaboration since the Silk Road Chicago in 2006/07. 

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2009-2010 Season Emphasizes Musical Intrepidity of Faculty, Students, Staff, and Community

October 21, 2010

University Symphony Orchestra; Photo: Daniel Collins

The 2009-10 Performance Program season showcased the astonishing musical talents and interests of our academically oriented institution and surrounding community. Highlights included concerts and master classes with incomparable musicians (such as Artists-in-Residence eighth blackbird, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Pacifica Quartet), performances of works by graduate student composers, and collaborations with some of the world’s foremost scholars and artists.

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Center for Italian Opera Studies takes opera scholarship from page to stage

October 21, 2010

A Rossini autograph manuscript in the Regenstein, Special Collections, Codex Manuscripts obl Ms637, which contains variants for the Rondo finale of La Cenerentola.

In 2010, CIAO has continued its long standing tradition of synthesizing research and performance through the publication of new scores, collaboration with leading opera companies, and additional research towards future publications and productions.

In the 2009-2010 season, the Metropolitan Opera mounted new productions of two operas using scores edited by CIAO – Verdi’s Attila (ed. Helen Greenwald, University of Chicago Press and Casa Ricordi) and Rossini’s Armida (ed. Charles S. Brauner and Patricia B. Brauner, Fondazione Rossini Pesaro). The Pierre Audi production of Attila was the opera’s premier performance at the Met, and also marked the much anticipated Met debut of acclaimed Verdi conductor Riccardo Muti. Mary Zimmerman’s production of Rossini’s Armida featured Renée Fleming in the title role, and was also a Met premier for the work.

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Early Music Ensemble explores Music Divine: English Music from Henry to Elizabeth

October 21, 2010

Thomas Morley’s “Hard by a crystal fountain”

Under the leadership of artists-in-residence David Douglass and Ellen Hargis, Co-Directors of the Newberry Consort, the Early Music Ensemble continued another successful year of early music performance culminating in the Spring concert Music Divine: English Music from Henry to Elizabeth.  This exciting concert featured sacred and secular music for voices, viols, recorders, and harpsichord.  The concert concluded with a performance of Thomas Morley’s “Hard by a crystal fountain” direct from original notation using facsimiles of partbooks.  Performers included graduate students Pelarin D. Bacos III, Cesar Favila, Patrick Kaufman, Shawn Keener, Ching Ching Cecilia Lo, Miriam Tripaldi, Mark Yeary, Michelle Urberg, and Andy Greenwood (Early Music Ensemble Student Coordinator).  2010-11 promises to be another exciting year for the Early Music Ensemble with the group focusing on various Germanic and vernacular repertories.

Library expands facilties and collections

October 5, 2010

Glass dome of the Mansuetto Library

Just west of Regenstein, construction on Mansueto Library is currently centered on assembly of the glass dome.  All portions of the dome, including the steel and aluminum frame pieces and the glass segments, have been built by Seele GmbH in Gersthofen, Germany and are gradually being shipped to Chicago over the next several weeks.  The large passageway connecting Mansueto with Regenstein is also under construction, which has caused some changes in the arrangement of the Special Collections Research Center.  Completion of Mansueto is planned for Spring of 2011 and the new structure will ultimately house 3.5 million volumes.

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Contempo’s 44th season

December 2, 2009

A letter from Contempo’s Artistic Director Shulamit Ran

Shulamit Ran, Artistic Director, Contempo

Shulamit Ran, Artistic Director, Contempo; Photo: Edward Chick

When it comes to curating Contempo’s five-concert season, I find that each season poses its own unique set of challenges and opportunities.  The 2008-09 season, Contempo’s forty-fourth, was no exception.  The season begun on October 4, 2008 with Messiaen:  Spheres of influence, part of the major Messiaen Festival planned by University of Chicago Presents.  Works by six composers, all of whom with special associations with Messiaen, received stellar performances by both our resident ensembles, Pacifica Quartet and eighth blackbird, with Cliff Colnot conducting and special guests including Stephen Gosling who was piano soloist in “Time and the Bell…” by Gerald Levinson (U. of C. Ph.D. in composition 1977). 

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Haydn on Tour exhibit celebrates the composer’s 200th anniversary

October 1, 2009

Franz Joseph Haydn

Franz Joseph Haydn

This unique exhibit, which marks the 200-year observance of Joseph Haydn’s death (1732-1809),  is on view throughout Autumn Quarter in the first floor lobby of the Regenstein Library. The aim of the exhibit, which was assembled by the Haydn Festspiele in Eisenstadt, Austria, is to intensify awareness of the composer in Europe and the United States. The materials in the exhibit are organized chronologically, and include a biographical account of the composer’s life, information on the places where Haydn lived and worked, and an overview of the main historical events of Haydn’s times. The exhibit comprises 42 framed reproductions of 18th century portraits, maps, letters, manuscripts, and scores, as well as paintings and sketches of places and buildings important in Haydn’s career.

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The Midwest Graduate Music Consortium to meet at Chicago in 2009

September 30, 2009

A view from the Classics Building; Photo by Daniel Collins

A view from the Classics Building; Photo by Daniel Collins

The Midwest Graduate Music Consortium (MGMC) is a collaborative venture organized by students from the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. MGMC holds an annual conference and new music concert, allowing graduate students from across the continent, representing various sub-disciplines of music, to come together and share ideas on a vast array of topics.

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CIAO’s editions of Rossini and Verdi receive performances in Chicago and abroad

September 30, 2009

Center for Italian Opera Studies

Center for Italian Opera Studies

December 2008 saw the publication of the critical edition of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, edited by the Center’s coordinator, Patricia Brauner. Barbiere is the second volume of Works of Gioachino Rossini, published by Bärenreiter-Verlag under the general editorship of Philip Gossett. In the substantial volume of Critical Commentary accompanying the score there is an important essay by the conductor and musicologist Will Crutchfield on “Contemporary Vocal Ornamentation” that will be of interest to scholars and singers alike.

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A Year of Exceptional Performances and Fruitful Collaborations

September 30, 2009

University Chorus and University Symphony Orchestra

University Chorus and University Symphony Orchestra

The 2008-09 Performance Program season offered the variety, quality and inventive musicianship audiences and performers alike have come to expect from the Department of Music. This year presented many distinctive opportunities and gainful collaborations, including concerts and master classes with world-renowned musicians (such as Artists-in-Residence including eighth blackbird, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Pacifica Quartet), performances of works by graduate student composers, and collaborations with some of the world’s groundbreaking scholars and musicians. The fourteen university ensembles, chamber, and piano programs forged ahead in a thrilling year filled with myriad combinations of orchestral, chamber, vocal and solo instrumental performances in a broad repertoire encompassing music from the Renaissance to today, European and non-Western, canonic as well as new or unknown works.

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The University of Chicago Presents 2009-10: Engage, Enlighten, Enhance

September 30, 2009

Christopher Taylor

Christopher Taylor

The University of Chicago Presents’ 2008/2009 season launched to great acclaim with the 10-day Olivier Messiaen Music Festival, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the French composer’s birth. The first undertaking of this type by the University’s 65-year-old music presenter, the Festival featured a lineup of renowned Messiaen scholars and musicians, as well as a world premiere composition by professor and former Messiaen student, Marta Ptaszynska. Performances by such artists as Dame Gillian Weir, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, John Bruce Yeh, Cho-Liang Lin, Gary Hoffman, Christopher Taylor, and Peter Hill offered insight into the works and faith of Messiaen and those he influenced.

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Newberry Consort leads Early Music Ensemble in performances of Carnival-inspired music

August 25, 2009

Newberry Consort

Newberry Consort

Newberry Consort artists-in-residence David Douglass and Ellen Hargis worked through more material from the Howard Mayer Brown collection at the Newberry Library this year, and toured with the wild Renaissance band Piffaro!, singling out music for Carnival in several concerts.  This theme underscored their musical plan for the Early Music Ensemble as well, as the two directors led the group in a celebration of carnival-inspired Venetian music from the 16th and 17th centuries. 

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Join Us at our upcoming Alumni Receptions

SMT Conference – Minneapolis

Friday, October 28, 2011 – 9pm-12am
Minneapolis Marriott City Center
30 S. 7th St.
St. Croix 2 Room
Minneapolis, Minnesota

AMS Conference – San Francisco

Friday, November 11, 2011 – 9pm-12am
San Francisco Hyatt Regency
5 Embarcadero Center
Marina Room
San Francisco, California

SEM – Philadelphia

Friday, November 18, 2011 – 9pm-12am
Sheridan Philadelphia City Center Hotel
201 N. 17th St.
Horizon’s Rooftop Ballroom
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania