Departmental Newsletter – February 2010
In this Issue
Jeremy Yudkin has recently assumed the position of chairman of the department and was appointed Professor of Music. His recent publications include the sixth edition of Understanding Music; the chapter “Jazz: From the Gutter to the Mainstream” in A Companion to the Modern American Novel, 1900-1950; the article “Chasin’ the Truth: The Lost Historiography of American Vernacular Music,” in American Music, and the entry on Miles Davis in Musicians and Composers of the Twentieth Century. His book Miles Davis, Miles Smiles and the Invention of Post Bop has been granted an Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research.
Victor Coelho is hard at work in the Office of the Provost. In Fall 2009, he organized and chaired the conferences Perspectives on Haydn Scholarship in Celebration of H. C. Robbins Landon (with the School of Music) and The Future of the Book: Libraries and Education in the 21st Century: The Case of Cushing Academy (with the CAS Core Curriculum) at Boston University.
Steven Cornelius recently returned to the study of a long-ignored manuscript of the music genre bamaya from the Dagomba people of Northern Ghana. He is also going to get back to interviewing jazz vocalist Jon Hendricks, whose biography he is writing. He has been in discussions with Pat Hollenbeck, President of the Boston Musicians’ Association (AFM Local 9-535) about researching the state of live music in Boston, and the union’s role in supporting its members. His near-term plan with this is to present a paper next fall at SEM. He is also studying Senegalese sabar drumming and the Wolof language.
Brita Heimarck recently co-organized and performed in Shadows of Bali, a Balinese gamelan and shadow play performance featuring Bali & Beyond with Maria Bodman and Amrita: Gender Wayang Ensemble of Boston. She is currently writing an essay on counterpoint in Balinese gender wayang music for the Pearson/Prentice Hall online textbook. She is also waiting to hear about a possible NEH grant for her scholarly edition of Balinese Shadow Play music. The grant would enable her to travel to Bali over the summer to confirm the final transcriptions before publishing them with A-R Editions.
Thomas Peattie was a respondent in a full daytime session organized by the AMS Ecocriticism Study Group at the National Meeting of the American Musicological Society, Philadelphia (November 2009). He has had two articles recently accepted for publication: “Mahler’s Alpine Journey,” in Acta Musicologica, and “The Expansion of Symphonic Space in Gustav Mahler’s First Symphony,” in the Journal of the Royal Musical Association. A commissioned article entitled “Mahler’s Distance,” is forthcoming in the newly revamped journal Naturlaut, and he has been appointed to a three-year term on the Board Committee on Membership and Professional Development of the American Musicological Society.
Joshua Rifkin has recently returned from Brussels where he gave a performance of three mazurkas and a nocturne by Fryderyk Chopin and four rags by Scott Joplin in a program entitled Choplin! His latest article, “The Creation of the Medici Codex,” appeared in the Journal of the American Musicological Society in the Fall 2009 issue. In celebration of the four-hundredth anniversary of its composition, he is currently directing a study of Monteverdi’s Vespers 1610.
Andrew Shenton has edited Messiaen the Theologian, which is due to be published by Ashgate in March. He contributed an essay to the collection entitled “Five Quartets: The Search for Stillness and Reconciliation in the War Works of Olivier Messiaen and T. S. Eliot.” He has been commissioned by Cambridge University Press to write and edit The Arvo Pärt Companion (forthcoming 2011). Last semester he was recipient of a Junior Research Fellowship from the BU Humanities Foundation. He read a paper entitled “Negotiating Rapture: Tekno, Teknival and T. A. Z.: the Temporary Autonomous Zone” at the fall meeting of the New England Chapter of the AMS. He has conducted and performed in several concerts recently, most notably a Gala birthday concert for American composer Joe Utterback at which he premiered a work for piano and organ by Utterback with pianist David Allen Wehr.
Joel Sheveloff is teaching his last semester after a forty-five year career at Boston University, where he has developed over fifty courses, earned countless accolades (including the 2004 Metcalf Cup and Prize for Teaching), and taught thousands of students. He will be feted in many ways over the next several weeks, most of which he knows nothing about.
Alexandre Abdoulaev was one of the authors of a book entitled Value and Judgment in Medieval Music, 4th – 14th Centuries. The publication resulted from the work done in a seminar on medieval musical aesthetics taught by Professor Yudkin, who also edited the book. Other authors include David Balandrin, Kristine Gray, Jane Leggiero, Christine Noel, and Chris Walters.
Paula Bishop presented a paper October 3, 2009, at the AMS-NE meeting at the University of Connecticut, entitled “Salty Dog Blues: A Ragtime-Blues-Hillbilly-Swing Band-Bluegrass Standard and the Concept of Originality in the 1920s and 30s.” She reports, “I have been working on my dissertation and making good progress. I have been reaching out to and connecting with country and pop music scholars and will probably attend the International Country Music Conference in May. I posted an online survey about the Everly Brothers and have received 113 responses so far. Aside from my research and writing, I have served as vice-president and one of the conference organizers for BUMS, on the school council at the local high school, and on a focus group panel for our local library; have designed and maintained websites for myself and other individuals and organizations and done some freelance photography.”
Basil Considine traveled to Belgium in October 2009 to present and chair discussion at the conference Propagandes Objectifs et pratiques au 16e siècle et au 20e siècle at the Institute for European Studies at the Université libre de Bruxelles. He presented the paper “Pamphlets Seen and Sung: the Reformation Drawn and Countered” on the use of short-form pamphlets to convey and influence ideas at the start of the Protestant Reformation. He also served as a lighting consultant for BU’s Opera Institute, Secretary for the BU Music Society, departmental representative to the School of Music’s Student Advisory Committee, and was Chair of Co-Sponsored Events for the Graduate Student Organization at Boston University.
Andrea Lieberherr Douglass is the happily-married mother of Tyler, a seven month-old boy, and reports “Tyler (my baby) can now mostly sit up by himself…He is also figuring out how to use the pincer grasp to pick up rice puffs and get them in his mouth. As to what I’m doing? Cleaning those rice puffs off the floor along with the spattering of baby food.” In-between parenting, she continues to study, practice flute and violin, and do yoga.
Andres Espinosa chimes in: “As my fellow methoders (people who attended Research Methods in Ethno last semester) are well aware I am a coffee enthusiast (to put it mildly) I roast, grind and pull my own brand coffee by hand and I am good friends with my Guatemalan Altura Coffee supplier (I have visited his farm a couple of times)…during the last couple of weeks I have been working on the development of my new Lilac lane Blend (the street where I live). It is coming out mighty fine and I am willing to give free samples in exchange for developed feedback (I will not take ‘Oh, it was great!’) to those interested. Now there is one rule. No drip coffee is allowed. Real Espresso (the way to go), Mocha pots, Turkish, French press, Scandinavian-style or Latino (sock style) and vacuum glass are all acceptable brewing methods to receive free samples. Let me know if anyone is interested.” Andres has also just been the recipient of a gorgeous Steinway baby grand piano, earned in exchange for three lessons for one of his students. Andres tells the story:
“My student’s parents were very poor and both musicians. The father was at school doing his Masters in piano performance but had no piano. They really wanted one and their landlady had a piano (a Steinway grand mind you) that she had inherited from her husband. She did not really use it, and an offer to buy the piano was set in motion. The only trick was that they could only afford to pay it 20 dollars a week, which the mother made by doing laundry and the father playing gigs (we are talking the 40’s here). After 4 weeks or so the land lady comes to them and says, “That’s good, you’ve paid enough.” My student wanted to do something along those lines and decided that I was to be the recipient of her Baby (now that she got a concert grand), given the fact that both Ellen and I are musicians and had a terrible keyboard at home. So she offered it to me in exchange for 3 lessons. How’s that for a story?”
Brad Fugate recently had a paper published in the Journal of Singing (Jan/Feb, Volume 66, No. 3) entitled, “Overshadowed, not Obsolete: Making a Case for the air de cour.” Also, he will be alto soloist for the Back Bay Chorale’s upcoming performance of Israel in Egypt on March 13th (7:30pm–Sanders Theatre). Last year, he soloed as a baritone in Mozart’s Missa Brevis in G with the Choir at the Church of the Advent and Orchestra; also, he performed as the Wolf in Opera by the Bay’s production of Little Red Riding Hood by Seymore Barab. Brad is currently teaching voice at Brown University, South Shore Conservatory, Brookline Music School, accompanying for the Young Men’s Ensemble of the Boston Children’s Chorus, and music directing A Chorus Line at Riverside Theater Works in Hyde Park.
Jane Leggiero was one of the authors of a book entitled Value and Judgment in Medieval Music, 4th – 14th Centuries. The publication resulted from the work done in a seminar on medieval musical aesthetics taught by Professor Yudkin, who also edited the book. Other authors include Alexandre Abdoulaev, David Balandrin, Kristine Gray, Christine Noel, and Chris Walters. She reports that half of her time is spent working on her thesis and the other half on performing on cello and gamba.
Nate Meneer traveled to Los Angeles and other California cities touched on in recent years of coursework. In addition to visiting Venice Beach and the and several famous clubs and recording studios in the area, he made a special pilgrimage to Hawthorne, CA to visit the site of the childhood home of Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys. He reports: “Unfortunately, all that remains today is a monument marking the site where the home stood as the structure itself was demolished to make way for I-105 during the 1980s. The neighborhood where the Wilson brothers grew up consisted mostly of modest single level houses, most of which were built when Hawthorne boomed in the early 1950s thanks to the heavy presence of defense contractor Northrop Corp. in the suburb. Indeed, with Northrop’s airfields only 500ft from their home, the Wilson brothers must have been ever aware of the stark realities of the Cold War during their youth. The neighborhood has clearly seen some tough times since the Wilson family left, but it is nevertheless very neat to visit the spot where the California dream of hot rodding, romance, sunshine, and surfing was born.”
Ülrike Praeger writes, “The exciting and exhausting process of finding a dissertation topic might have been successful! Yippie! (Thank you Prof. Cornelius for your patience…) I have started researching the ethnic group of the Sudeten Germans and their cultural practices before and after their expulsion after WW II. My ancestors are all Sudeten Germans. There is only one music institute in Bavaria that holds sources from this ethnic group – this is where I will very likely spend much of my summer. Many of my ‘informants’ for this investigation still live in Bavaria and all over Germany, and I hope that I will be able to meet some soon in order to find out more about their experiences from this time. I am preparing to take my qualifying exams as soon as possible.
In addition to my very pleasant studies at the musicology/ethnomusicology department I keep practicing, and my next concert will be with Cambridge Concentus on February 28th. Other than that; we keep thinking about moving within the Boston area next September. We would be grateful to receive any recommendations and ideas. A studio would be fine.”
Andrew Shryock‘s words speak for themselves: “On the sixth floor of Mugar in a cage with a west facing window, Andrew puzzles over Handel. Visitors welcome.”
Edward Sywulka reports that he is enjoying coursework while researching and preparing for a summer trip to Bolivia. He plans to conduct research in Cochabamba and La Paz, examining the indigenous music in the Christian churches.
The Forum on Music and Christian Scholarship Annual Conference
Boston University, February 26 & 27, 2010.
The Forum on Music and Christian Scholarship is an association of scholars interested in exploring the intersections of Christian faith and musical scholarship. It is an ecumenical association, reflecting the world-wide diversity of Christian traditions, and seeking to learn from scholars outside those traditions. Their annual conference is being held this year at Boston University at the School of Theology (745 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215). Full details of the papers and sessions can be found at: http://www.fmcs.us/. There is a wide range of papers on subjects as diverse as ‘A Kantian Framework for Music-Theology,’ ‘Eyes Wide Shut, or Not Seeing is Believing: Marketing “Authenticity” in Gospel Music,’ and ‘The Religious Impulse in Schumann’s Scenen aus Goethes Faust‘. BU students & faculty do not need to register for the FMCS conference and can attend all events free of charge.
On Friday 26 February there will be a special conference concert at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston’s Historic South End featuring organist Andrew Shenton playing the historic 1875 Hook & Hastings organ and the Chamber Choir of Mount Holyoke College (Miguel Felipe [BU DMA ’09], director) in music by Caplet, Karg-Elert and others. The concert starts at 8:00PM – Admission is free. The Cathedral is located at 1400 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118.
Arvo Pärt and Contemporary Spirituality Conference
Boston University, March 25, 26 & 27, 2010.
To celebrate the 75th birthday of Arvo Pärt (born 11 September, 1935), Boston University is hosting a conference entitled ‘Arvo Pärt and Contemporary Spirituality’. Jointly promoted by the School of Music and the School of Theology, with cooperation from the Boston University Humanities Foundation, the conference will examine Pärt’s music using and developing cross-disciplinary methodologies drawing on media studies, theological studies and different analytical approaches to music. By working on issues of interpretation it endeavors to bridge the traditional gap between scholars and performers, and it directly addresses the largest group of people who come across Pärt’s music: the audience. Full details of the papers and sessions can be found at: http://www.bu.edu/apcsc/.
Items of Interest
Music Library Update:
From the Music Department at Oxford University:
On Saturday 30th January 2010, over 100 singers came together in St Peter’s College Chapel, Oxford, to learn and record the beautiful Haitian folk song, Fey-O – a song about suffering and relief. The project was started by an Oxford music alumna whose Masters project on Haitian folk song developed into an attachment to the country and its people. After the initial interest of a few friends, “Haiti Singing” rapidly gained momentum and enthusiastic support. The song was arranged by Roderick Williams and the choir, lead by renowned baritone Christopher Purves, consisting of students, local singers and enthusiasts, came together under the inspired directorship of David Crown.
In less than three hours, this newly-formed ensemble learned and recorded the song. The project has already gained media attention from sources such as BBC Oxford television and radio and a number of local stations as well as The Guardian and other local newspapers. The track has been available since Sunday 7th February and we are asking everybody to please donate generously and download the song by visiting www.haitisinging.com. All proceeds will go to the DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal. What we really need now is to make as many people as possible aware of the song and how to donate and download it! We’d really appreciate any assistance and support that you could offer in this regard.
Janet Knapp, medievalist, and former professor of musicology at Boston University.
On January 22, Janet Byles, nee Janet Knapp, died in Oberlin, Ohio. She received her AB and MA degrees from Oberlin College and a PhD in musicology from Yale. She made her career as a musicologist at Oberlin, Yale, Boston University, and Vassar College, where she was appointed Professor Emeritus. She leaves a legacy of hundreds of students, many of whom became musicologists and teachers. Her book, a transcription of 35 conductus from the thirteenth century, was published in 1965. She made history as the first female president of the American Musicological Society.