Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Spring Meeting Cancelled Due to COVID-19 Outbreak

Spring Meeting CANCELLED Due to COVID-19 Outbreak
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Harvard University will be holding classes online for the remainder of the semester and is limiting on-campus events to twenty-five or fewer participants. For this reason, unfortunately, we are going to have to cancel the Spring 2020 AMS-NE meeting that was to be held at Harvard on 18 April.
We hope to see you at our fall meeting at Clark University on 26 September and at our meeting on 13 February 2021 at Tufts University. If you have already submitted an abstract for consideration for the spring meeting, it will automatically be considered for the fall meeting unless you contact our program chair, Karen Cook ( to retract your submission.
Elections for several Chapter offices were scheduled to take place at the spring meeting. We are exploring optons for conducting elections online. Please stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Map and Parking Info for Pierce Hall at NEC (Winter Meeting - 2/22)

AMS-NE@ New England Conservatory:

The meeting will take place in NEC’s Pierce Hall (241 St. Botolph St., first floor).

Please note: Parking nearby is not easy. There are hard-to-find on-street meters  There are also nearby garages: Gainsborough Garage and the Westland Ave. Garage. Please refer to the website above for details. Garage parking will run about $33/day. There are two nearby T stations: Green Line (Symphony) and Orange Line (Mass Ave.). Both are quite convenient to the meeting site. Entrance to the St. Botolph St. building is now through the new Student Life and Performance Center (SLPC). The SLPC is also on St. Botolph St., but is closer to Gainsborough than Mass. Ave. (see map).

You will need an ID to sign in at the security desk.
Finding Pierce Hall: Once signed in at security in the SLPC, take the staircase by the entrance up one flight. Cross the landing diagonally to the right and take the white hallway past Burnes Hall (there will be a photo exhibit on the walls). After the white-walled hallway ends, look for a set of grey, metal doors that lead to a staircase (on the left). Go down those stairs one level, exit the stairwell. Pierce Hall will be in front of you and to the left.

For those requiring an elevator: Once signed in at the SLPC, use the the elevators near the security desk to go up one level. Exit the elevators toward the hallway (not the restrooms). On the left you will see a white hallway that runs past Burnes Hall (there will be a photo exhibit on the walls). There will be another elevator (an old one) near the staircase on the left after the white hallway ends. Take that elevator down one level. Pierce Hall will be in front of you as you exit. (First floor, St. Botolph building.)

Friday, February 14, 2020

Winter 2020 Chapter Meeting (Saturday, Feb. 22, New England Conservatory, Boston)

AMS-NE Fall Chapter Meeting February 22, 2020 New England Conservatory -- Pierce Hall (Directions and Parking) 9:45-10:15 Refreshments and Registration

Morning Session

10:15 Welcome

10:20 Josquin’s Nymphes des bois and Lament Literature – Jeannette Di Bernardo Jones (College of the Holy Cross)

Josquin’s Nymphes des bois is among the earliest polyphonic laments for musicians and joins poetic laments written honoring Jean de Okeghem after his death in February 1497. Musicologists have debated three problems surrounding this piece: its dating, its polytextuality, and its appearance in all-black notation in its sources. I address these issues by placing Josquin’s lament in a conversation with the existing poetic laments for Okeghem, namely Guillaume Crétin’s Déploration and Jean Molinet’s pair of poems, one of which is the French text Nymphes des bois in Josquin’s setting. I argue that Nymphes des bois, both Molinet’s poem and Josquin’s lament, is part of a larger exchange primarily between Crétin and Molinet and that Josquin may have participated in because of his presence at the French royal court at the turn of the sixteenth century, which sheds light on the dating of Josquin’s Nymphes des bois. The coexisting French and Latin texts of Josquin’s setting and the all-black notation in the some of its sources evince connection with an already well-established structure of lament in poetic literature, in which the poets paint multi-sensory scenes of mourning through sung Requiem texts and black mourning clothes. Finally, I address the significance of nymphs in the lament scene as key acolytes in the sustaining glory of the work of the artist.

Jeannette Di Bernardo Jones is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the department of music at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Her research focuses on intersections between poets and musicians in France, both in their works and in their environments in the orbit of the French royal of the last quarter of the fifteenth century. Her chapter on Gaspar van Weerbeke in France recently appeared in the new volume: Gaspar van Weerbeke: New Interpretations. She also has published and taught on Music and Disability Studies and is currently serving as co-chair for the Study Group on Music and Disability for the AMS.

10:50 Ravel’s Social Network: The Apaches and the Godebskis – Holly Chung (Yale University)

A more comprehensive portrait of Ravel’s participation in the Apaches, a collective of composers, artists, and writers, has emerged thanks to the work of Jann Pasler and Arbie Orenstein, yet recent studies of the composer have only just begun to address his role in an equally influential group: the salon of Cipa and Ida Godebski. At their Paris apartment and summer home in Valvins, the Godebskis hosted intimate soirées that often included many members of the Apaches, suggesting a symbiotic relationship between the two organizations. A key aspect of the early history of the Apaches was its steadfast patronage of Debussy’s opera Pelléas et Mélisande, yet the question of how the aims of the group evolved over time remains less clear. Drawing on unpublished correspondence from Ravel to the Godebskis, I suggest that investigating his relationship with the couple can help us chart how Ravel’s view of Pelléas shifted, in tandem with the goals of the Apaches.
From late 1904 onward, as core members of the Apaches began to spend their Sunday evenings at the Godebskis’, I argue that the Godebski salon began to function as an extension of the Apaches, serving as a convivial space absent of the pressures of grander venues. I also show that the priorities of the Apaches began to shift around this time, as the group began to deemphasize its original mission of unwavering advocacy of Debussy and concentrate primarily on rallying around Ravel and other composers in his immediate circle. This latter function of the Apaches not only became more crucial following the 1905 Prix de Rome scandal, but also mirrored Ravel’s private transition from an ardent admirer of Debussy’s to a more critical listener who would ultimately attempt to downplay any stylistic ties to Debussy.
By examining Ravel’s relationship with the Godebski family, we can better understand the social interactions that laid the foundation for the most productive period of the composer’s career.

Holly Chung is a Ph.D. candidate in music history at Yale. She holds an M.A. and M.Phil. from Yale, and a B.A. from Columbia. Her research interests center on French music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly the music of Ravel and Debussy. Her dissertation examines Ravel’s first opera, L’Heure espagnole, with a particular focus on time and meter, exploring Ravel’s relationship to philosophical debates surrounding time in early twentieth-century France. Apart from her dissertation work, she is interested in questions of musical shape and form, projections of the “exotic” and “oriental,” and the work of women composers and teachers in this period. She also has secondary interests in the architecture of performance spaces and the use of “Impressionist” harmonies in 1960s jazz.

She was a 2014 recipient of the Mellon Concentration Fellowship, which provided for interdisciplinary study on the theme “Circa 1900.” In Spring 2018, she received a research grant from the Beinecke Rare Books Library to examine Ravel’s correspondence and study his participation in collaborative artistic networks.

11:20 A Historical Perspective on the Use of Chromaticism in Jazz Improvisation: Art Tatum, Charlie Parker, and Lennie Tristano – Eunmi Shim (Berklee College of Music)

This paper will discuss the evolution of chromaticism in jazz improvisation, focusing on one particular type of chromaticism called side-slipping or side-stepping. An advanced concept of jazz improvisation, it produces temporary bitonality by superimposing chromatic harmony over standard harmonic progressions. To demonstrate this concept, examples by three jazz musicians will be analyzed: Art Tatum (1909-56), Charlie Parker (1920-55), and Lennie Tristano (1919-78). Jazz theorists and educators, including David Baker (1969), Dave Liebman (1991), and Mark Boling (1994), have explained side-slipping as a tonal shift or outside playing by means of slipping in and out of tonality. As a powerful tool in expanding the harmonic vocabulary of jazz improvisation, side-slipping creates tension by superimposing chromatic harmony usually a half step away from the original chord. The resultant harmonic displacements involving sudden departures and resolutions can bring forth stark contrasts to the harmonic structure. An important factor of successful side-slipping is maintaining continuity and coherence in the melody through motivic development, while introducing tension and disjuncture in the harmony. The virtuoso pianist Art Tatum was the first major jazz musician to extensively utilize this device in his improvisations. During the bebop era, jazz musicians used side-slipping in a limited context, typically to embellish the cadential formula of ii V by inserting a chromatic sequence segment a half step above the underlying harmony, as exemplified by the improvisations of Charlie Parker. The pianist Lennie Tristano took outside playing much further by combining side-slipping with other parameters of music to enhance intensity. In his improvisations, for example, the unexpected changes in harmony often coincide with irregular rhythmic configurations and sudden directional changes in the melody, resulting in concurrence of harmonic rhythm, surface rhythm, and contour rhythm.

Eunmi Shim is an award-winning author of the book, Lennie Tristano: His Life in Music (University of Michigan Press), which received the Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound and the Bronze Prize for the Independent Publisher Book Award in Performing Arts. Shim is also a contributor to The Grove Dictionary of American Music and is currently Professor at Berklee College of Music.

12:00-2:00 Lunch Break

2:00-2:30 Business Meeting

Afternoon Session

2:30 Keynote Lecture: "WE INSIST!: An Exploration of Love and Revolution in the Album by Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln" – Stephanie Shonekan (UMass–Amherst)

3:30 (POSTPONED) Kaija Saariaho: Symbolist Opera for the 21st Century – Madison Spahn (Boston Conservatory at Berklee)

Kaija Saariaho made history in 2016 when her opera, L’amour de loin, became only the second opera written by a female composer to be performed at the Metropolitan Opera, more than a hundred years after its predecessor, Ethel Smyth’s Der Wald, in 1903. The opera, first produced in 2000 in Salzburg, placed Saariaho on a path to international recognition. Saariaho’s interest in use of sound to express inner emotional states in lieu of external reality is directly related to the French Symbolist movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in opera exemplified by Claude Debussy and Maurice Maeterlinck’s Pélleas et Mélisande. Symbolist aesthetics, musically manifested in an overarching concern with timbre, texture, non-functional harmony, and manifestation of musical time, can be traced through the work of most significant French composers of the 20th century, from Olivier Messiaen to Pierre Boulez, through the spectralists Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail, all the way to Saariaho.

Saariaho is often described as a “post-spectral” composer, and her operas incorporate both serial and spectral compositional techniques, in addition to electronic production and processing. Her unique combination of modern compositional techniques with historical approaches to expression expands the capacity of dramatic music to transcend immediate reality and temporal-spatial constructions, an objective that Symbolist opera sought to achieve. In this paper, I argue that L’amour de loin represents a modernist extension of fin-de-siècle Symbolist ideology in both narrative concept and musical realization.

Madison Spahn is currently completing her Master of Music degree in Voice Performance at Boston Conservatory at Berklee under the tutelage of Kendra Colton. Her scholarly interests include nineteenth- and twentieth-century vocal music, gender and sexuality studies, fin-de-siècle French music, and female composers. Her most recent work explored how Lili Boulanger utilized her femme fragile image to achieve success as a composer. She received her B.A. in music from Duke University, where she completed a thesis entitled “The Evolution of a Woman’s Life and Love: A Performer’s Guide to Frauenliebe und Leben” under the direction of Larry Todd. She is a freelance writer and frequently writes feature articles for the marketing department at Boston Conservatory.
Spahn is an active performer, having recently appeared as concert soloist in Tarik O’Regan’s Triptych and Kodaly’s Missa Brevis with the Boston Cecilia and Martín Palmeri’s Misatango and “American Roots: Grassical” with the Key Chorale in Sarasota, Florida. She is the additionally the soprano section leader and youth choir assistant director at Christ Church Cambridge.

4:00 Beethoven Returns to Bonn: Self-Parody and Performance in Mauricio Kagel’s Ludwig van (1969) – Elaine Fitz Gibbon (Harvard University)

In 1969 West Germany, the country was abuzz with anticipation of the approaching Beethoven bicentennial. That year the composer and experimental filmmaker Mauricio Raúl Kagel, born in Argentina to Russian- and German-Jewish parents in 1931 and living in Cologne since 1957, was commissioned by the State to commemorate the momentous occasion. What resulted was a film that surely no West German official had anticipated. Entitled Ludwig van: ein Bericht [Ludwig van: A Report], Kagel’s film uses an absurdist aesthetic, amplified by a partnership with Fluxus artist Joseph Beuys, to critique the fetish object that Beethoven himself and his music had become in twentieth-century West Germany, music which was being used to assert a specifically curated German identity and cultural patrimony only twenty four years after WWII. At the center of the film stands the longest spoken-language passage, in which Kagel uses his migratory background to demonstrate the absurdity of Western European Beethoven fanaticism. In a farce of the West German television news show, Der internationale Frühschoppen [International Morning Drinks Show], the moderator Werner Höfer, playing himself, invites his guests to discuss the question, “Is Beethoven misused in the world?” This “international” setting affords Kagel, portraying himself, the opportunity to use this central scene to stage a performance of his own immigrant identity and a searing critique of his essentialization by his adopted countrymen. While Ludwig van has been recognized for its sendup of bourgeois music culture, it has yet to be analyzed from the perspective of diasporic experience. Simultaneously a love letter to and deconstruction of Beethoven’s cultural legacy, Ludwig van asks its audience to consider the complex diasporic experiences of avant-garde artists in the wake of WWII. Drawing on recent work by Brigid Cohen and Seth Brodsky, I argue for the centrality of the theme of migration and displacement in Ludwig van, demonstrating its significance for the analysis of avant-garde artistic production in the postwar era, while also noting how Ludwig van might pose a productive way to engage with the legacies of the classical canon in anniversary years such as 1970, or more pressingly, 2020.

Elaine Fitz Gibbon is a doctoral candidate in Historical Musicology, with a secondary field in American Studies, at Harvard University. She received her MA in German Studies from Princeton University, and her BA in Musicology and German Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She also holds a Diploma of Advanced Studies in music journalism from the Musik Akademie Basel and has been active as a journalist in the field of new music in the German-speaking realm. Her dissertation explores trends and relations of opera, music theater and electro-acoustic music of the avant-garde from 1945 to today from the perspective of circum-Atlantic migration and mobility.

4:30 Refreshments