Monday, April 15, 2019

Spring 2019 Chapter Meeting (Saturday, April 27 College of the Holy Cross)

Bios and abstracts are posted as they become available and will be edited for length. Exact location and parking information will be posted soon.

Location: Brooks Music Center Concert Hall, second floor (No. 2 opposite St. Joseph Memorial Chapel on this map).
Parking: Visitors may park in the Loyola Lot (closest) or above the Hogan Center (Gate 7)

NOTE! At the meeting we will be holding elections for Secretary/Treasurer and for one of our two student representative positions. Please send nominations to Jacqueline Sholes at jsholes at not later than 5 PM on Thursday, 4/25. Self-nominations welcome. Thank you!
9:45-10:15       Refreshments and Registration in Brooks 133 (first floor)

Morning Session

10:15  Welcome

10:20  Antonio Cesti and Musical Convention: The Uses and Limits of Voice-Leading
Schemas in His Operas – Kyle Masson (Princeton University)

10:50  Cantopop and Speech-Melody Complex – Edwin K. C. Li (Harvard University)

It is generally accepted that speech and melody are distinctive perceptual categories (Deutsch 2003), and that we are able to overcome perceptual ambiguity to categorize acoustic stimuli as either of the two. This paper investigates the experiential hybridity of speech and melody through the lens of a relatively uncharted territory in musicological studies, Cantonese popular songs (henceforth Cantopop songs). It proposes a speech-complex that embraces (complex, from the Latin complectere: to embrace) the different melody perceptions (or listening practices) of Cantopop songs by native Cantonese speakers.⁠ Speech-melody complex, I argue, does not stably contain the categories of speech or melody in their full-blown, asserted form, but describes their potentialities before they come into being (what they are). The foregrounding of category depends on how much contextual information listeners take into account (or value) in shaping and parsing out the complex, and making a categorial assertion implies breaking through the complex. I then complicate speech-melody complex with the concept of “anamorphosis” borrowed from the visual arts, a concept that calls into question the signification of the perceived object by perspectival distortion. When reconfigured in the sonic dimension, anamorphosis is less about at which point one listens to the distorted sonic object but more about the processual experience of distortion and recalibration within a speech-melody complex. That is, listeners experience a shifting illusion of speech and melody when listening to a distorted sound object that is neither speech-like nor melody-like, at the same time speech-like and melody-like. They engage, then, in the process of molding and remolding the two enigmatic categories, creating new sonic objects along the way. Through my analysis of Don Li’s ‘Silly Woman’ (2015) and ethnographic interviews with native Cantonese speakers, I suggest that Cantopop songs may invite an anamorphic listening, and, in the other way around, some listen to Cantopop songs anamorphically. 

Edwin Li is a Ph.D. student in music theory at Harvard University. He received his B.A. from the University of Hong Kong as Jockey Club Scholar, and was a visiting Pembroke-King’s Scholar at the University of Cambridge in 2016. His research interests include Chinese-Western comparative music theory and philosophy, concepts of nature, topic theory and its relation to affect, and the music of Gustav Mahler.

11:20  Multileveled Conflict in Mahler’s First Symphony: A New Formal-Hermeneutical Analysis – Eric Elder (Brandeis University)

One reading of the opening movement of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D major, the “Titan,” has remained virtually unchanged from Henry-Louis de la Grange (1979) to Seth Monahan (2015). This reading places the movement in dialog with earlier conventions of sonata form by invoking an expansive, recurring slow introduction and a continuous, monothematic exposition that fails even to establish tonic. This interpretation serves Theodor Adorno well when he claims that Mahler’s music cannot be understood in terms of schematic forms or external programs. Instead, Adorno tells us, the fusion of form and program is Mahler’s response to the demands of art. Thus, the symphony becomes autobiography: “Animated by dissatisfaction with the world, [Mahler’s] art omits to satisfy its norms” (Adorno 1992, 3–5). By virtue of the distance between the consensus reading and the conventions that would govern the movement, we come to view the twenty-eight-year-old Mahler as a troubled revolutionary driven to shatter accepted norms in his first symphonic outing. While this may suit Adorno, it is not entirely consonant with the position of a struggling young professional desperate to make good in a competitive field.

In this paper, I propose an alternative formal reading of the movement. Eschewing the slow introduction, I present the ethereal opening as an evolving primary-theme zone rife with internal conflict. Opposed to this, the “Ging heut‘ Morgen” theme—traditionally viewed as the symphony’s exposition—becomes a decidedly normative secondary-theme zone. Suddenly, we find the movement aligning with the characteristic balance of nineteenth-century theories of sonata form. Additionally, I identify the so-called Durchbruch, which Adorno saw as necessarily originating “beyond the music’s intrinsic movements” (5), as the teleological resolution of the primary-theme zone’s internal conflict and a relatively traditional moment of recapitulation. Throughout, I demonstrate how this analysis supports a programmatic narrative sympathetic to the mythopoetic reading of Almén (2006). Thus, if we continue to take symphony as autobiography, we then develop a view of the young Mahler as more eager for synthesis of influence than for open rebellion.

Eric Elder is currently in his third year of the PhD program in Musicology at Brandeis University, where he works under the guidance of Allan Keiler. Eric is primarily active in music theory, analysis, and the history of theory, and he has taught courses in music theory, analysis, music appreciation, and klezmer, and delivered invited lectures on the Creole roots of jazz and the music of the Harlem Renaissance at Rutgers, the Manhattan School of Music, and Brandeis. Outside of teaching and scholarly pursuits, Eric serves as webmaster and Executive Committee member of the New England Conference of Music Theorists.

Eric was awarded the 2016–2017 Hollace Anne Schafer Award for his work linking Rudolph Reti’s thematic process with Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy, work which he presented in a more developed form at last year’s joint AMS-SMT meeting in San Antonio.

 11:50  ‘Die Feder ist zur Hand’: The ‘Scriptorial’ Unfinishedness of Mahler’s Tenth
Symphony – Angelo Pinto (The Open University)

In the literature on Gustav Mahler it is a commonplace to discuss his music in narratological terms. However, the writings in this field, given are focused only on the work’s final version, do not give attention to the authorial dimension of how the composer constructs his musical ‘novel’ through the compositional process. Instead, in literary theory there is an established trend of studies that combine narratology with manuscript analysis to explain the hermeneutic enigmas of modernist literary works whose fragmentation suggest their nature of ‘works in progress.’ This kind of approach seems particularly suitable for Mahler’s Tenth Symphony whose manuscript includes perhaps the highest number of sketches and drafts existing for any of Mahler’s works. In this way, we can reconstruct possible relationships between structure, narrative, and the hermeneutic in the compositional process, from the initial sketchy musical ideas to the draft of the last compositional stage.  Indeed, this perspective seems to be fruitful given that the same Mahlerian literature suggests that Mahler’s symphonies often seem, given their constant reworkings, just ‘works in progress’. 

Given this context, my research question is how Mahler’s Tenth, in its compositional process, can be regarded as a novel, both from structural and hermeneutic points of view.  To answer this question, first I will define the key-concepts of ‘music narrativity’ and ‘music narrativisation’ theoretically. Then I will apply to some key passages of the symphony my three staged ‘genetic’ approach of sketches and drafts to detect in them textual supports for these concepts. As a result, this analysis, also by the help of composer’s letters, will reveal original the pieces of evidence of his intention to represent in the symphony, in a meta-referential play, the ‘work in progress’ of its compositional process.

Angelo Pinto graduated from the Alma Mater Studiorum at the University of Bologna and is at present a Ph.D. candidate in Music at The Open University, Milton Keynes (UK). His dissertation is titled 'The Symphony as a Novel: Mahler's Tenth'. He has been a DAAD fellow at the University of Tübingen, has published articles in academic journals and has taught at the University of Bologna.  His research interests include: the music of Gustav Mahler; modernism in music; music and literature; and music of the late twentieth-century, investigating all of these fields through the perspectives of the creative process, authorialism and musical analysis.

12:20p-2:10p     Lunch Break

2:10p-2:40p        Business Meeting (ELECTIONS)

Afternoon Session    

2:45p Dueling Concerts at Richard Nixon’s Second Inauguration – Andrea Olmstead
(Independent Scholar)

Eugene Ormandy, Charlton Heston, Robert Wagner, Vincent Persichetti, and Leonard Bernstein were all involved in two performances the evening before Richard Nixon’s second inauguration in January 1973. The official concert program was chosen by a White House committee to be performed at the Kennedy Center by the Philadelphia Orchestra, while a rival, unofficial concert was hastily set up by Leonard Bernstein with a pick-up orchestra. By consulting archival material as well as contemporary newspapers and musical journals, the author shows how politics surrounding the war in Vietnam came to overwhelm what was to have been a single celebratory concert. Outlining these events, this paper concentrates on Persichetti’s narrator and orchestra piece requested for the official concert, A Lincoln Address, set to Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and to have been narrated by Charlton Heston. 
The Persichetti piece fell victim to the immediate events of the Vietnam War because the Nixon White House had tied the Lincoln text to promoting the president and his policies. Soon after the commission, the White House considered Lincoln’s famous words no longer appropriate. Their clumsy handling of this decision, revealed in national newspapers and on television, outraged both protesters of the war and Classical musicians. These passions ultimately resulted in the spectacle of competing concerts performed on the same evening, one at the Kennedy Center by the Philadelphia Orchestra with Ormandy (minus the Persichetti piece), the other at the Washington Cathedral conducted by Leonard Bernstein performing Haydn’s Mass in the Time of War.

Andrea Olmstead taught Music History at The Juilliard School (1972–1980), was Chair of the Music History Department of The Boston Conservatory (1980–2004), and taught graduate seminars at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. From 2006–2018, she was on the Preparatory Music History faculty of the New England Conservatory. She currently works as a book editor and as a writing advisor for Boston University’s doctoral program in Music Education.
She was awarded the Christopher Hogwood Research Fellowship from the Handel & Haydn Society from 2005 until 2007. Olmstead has also held three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, five writing fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and ten visiting scholar residencies at the American Academy in Rome. 
Olmstead has published several book chapters and seven books: Vincent Persichetti: Grazioso, Grit, and Gold (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018); Who Was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Daisy? (eBook:, 2012); Roger Sessions: A Biography (Routledge, 2008); Juilliard: A History (University of Illinois Press, 1999); The Correspondence of Roger Sessions (Northeastern University Press, 1992), Conversations with Roger Sessions (Northeastern, 1987); and Roger Sessions and His Music (UMI Research Press, 1985). 
Olmstead's has contributed articles in The Musical Quarterly, The Journal of Musicology, The Juilliard Journal, American Music, MLA Notes, The Journal of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute, and Tempo, as well as numerous program notes and liner notes. She has delivered pre-concert lectures for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Handel & Haydn Society, and the Boston Symphony in Jordan Hall, Symphony Hall, and Carnegie Hall.

3:15p Vibrational Musicology, Sonic Subhumanisms, and the Promise of Solidarity in the Anthropocene – Andrew Chung (Yale University)

This paper examines some political, ethical stances of recent music towards planetary solidarity in the Anthropocene. Ashley Fure’s ecological installation-opera, The Force of Things (2016/18), with its animate assemblages of vibrating materials, aims to stimulate listeners to recognize the vital animacy of the vibrational events of global warming. Fure emphasizes fundamental commonalities between humans and ecological entities, citing philosopher Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter to advance the radically flat ontology that grounds her opera’s rhetoric. In this framework, also explored by musicologist Nina Eidsheim, material vibration and its animacy stand as properties that ontologically unite all peoples, lifeforms, and matter.

Critical race theorists like Zakkiyah Jackson and Fred Moten, however, have pointed out that such radically universal ontologies occlude the human sphere’s internal rivenness. This results in race-blind, difference-blind political imaginaries, silencing injustices affecting differentially marginalized populations. Putting Jackson and Moten in conversation with philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, I argue (contra Fure and Eidsheim) that sonic vibration is better understood not as an ontological unifier, but as a figure for human and non-human entities’ recognitions of each’s singularity, alterity, and vulnerability to each other, which buttress foundational ethical injunctions to avoid harming those others.

I clarify with Pamela Z’s Syrinx (2003), which slows down recorded birdsong until a singer can imitate it. The voice is recorded and gradually manipulated to match the birdsong’s original register and speed. Syrinx frames human and non-human lifeforms not as ontologically same, but as reciprocally open to one another, yet sonically irreducible to each other. Its transformations of bird and human vocalizations point to each’s opening towards becoming sonically other than themselves—hence towards becoming vulnerable. This reading of Syrinx reconfigures The Force of Things to hear both as occasions for ecological solidarity, while avoiding the colorblindness of grounding solidarity in violently occluding the other’s difference.

Andrew Chung is a music theorist who specializes in topics of musical meaning, the philosophy of language, and performativity, with applications in 21st century musical works and social/sonic life. His work centers upon recent music in European festivals of new music, but also includes a focus on the use of music as violence. He is especially interested in the ethics of musical practices, with their entanglements in ecological, semiotic, and feminist thought. Other work of his includes explorations in mathematical music theory and the writings of David Lewin. Andrew is active as a pianist, teacher, and speaker at conferences across the United States and Europe, and he will be joining the faculty of the University of North Texas College of Music.

3:45p   An exploration of Tuvan music through the traditional string instruments of Tuva
– Ceren Turkmenoglu (Independent Scholar)

A bowed string instrument, rebab, has roots that can be traced back to the ninth century and is said to be the first bowed string instrument that emerged from Central Asia, which spread widely over time, evolving into different shapes and forms. As a violinist, my way of exploring different cultures’ music has been through the study of their traditional string instruments. Studying the Turkish rebab and its roots, I expanded my study to the interconnections between different cultures’ string instruments, and conducted a research in Tuva, Central Asia, a culture which possesses an instrument also related to rebab, the igil.
An autonomous republic in the heart of Asia, Tuva, is home to Turkic Tuvan people with a unique musical tradition that was shaped by their nomadic lifestyle and nature. According to Tuvans, nature is their conservatory, where they learn their craft and find their inspiration, and as Tuvan music derives from nature, it is also ‘for’ nature. Moreover, their sensitivity to the sounds of nature is not only for musical reasons, but also survival. 
This paper studies Tuvan music and how it was shaped by their nomadic lifestyle and nature. The aim of this paper is to do the study through the lens of their traditional string instrument igil; discussing the history and making of the instrument and focusing on the concepts of tuning and harmony within their music. The information is collected through field research, participation in music sessions and interviews with musicologists, musicians

Ceren Turkmenoglu is a classically trained violinist who seeks to expand her musical language through the study of other cultural traditions, especially her own, Turkish Traditional Music.
 She began her violin studies with Prof. Cengiz Ozkok in Hacettepe University Ankara State Conservatory, Turkey. In Germany, Hochschule fur Musik und Theater Leipzig, she studied with Carolin Widmann and Henryk Hochschild.
​​In 2011, she received her position in Ankara State Opera and Ballet Orchestra, and in 2015, she became a member of Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra. In 2017 January, she moved to Boston and received a master’s degree from Longy School of Music Bard College. She is an active musician performing recitals, chamber music and in orchestras such as Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. 
Apart from her classical music career, she is also a performer of traditional Turkish music and performs on traditional instruments besides violin. Her aim in her music is to preserve the traditional roots and to bring out the interconnections cultures carry. Her project 'Music from Where the Sun Rises' was awarded by a LAB grant from The Boston Foundation.
Her latest project ‘Strings Around the World’, explores the music of different cultures through their string instruments. Being a string player herself, she aims to study the interconnections of different cultures through their traditional string instruments. Her recent trip to Tuva, Central Asia, to research about Tuvan music and string instruments, was funded by a grant from Women’s Travel Club, Boston.

4:15p    Symphonic Metal: A New Frame of Listening – Greg Eckhardt (Southern Methodist

4:45                 Refreshments

Friday, March 15, 2019

CFP: Spring 2019 Chapter Meeting ( 27 April, College of the Holy Cross)

Call for Papers
AMS-NE Spring 2019

The Spring 2019 meeting of the New England Chapter of the American Musicological Society will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.

The Program Committee invites proposals of up to 300 words for 20-minute papers and for roundtable sessions or workshops (pedagogical, performative, and/or scholarly). All abstracts are subject to blind review, and submissions from faculty, independent scholars, and graduate students are all encouraged and welcome. Abstracts should be submitted by Sunday, March 31, 2019 via email to kacook -at-

Please refer to the AMS abstract guidelines: “Proposals should represent the presentation as fully as possible. A successful proposal typically articulates the main aspects of the argument or research findings clearly, positions the author’s contribution with respect to previous scholarship, and suggests the paper’s significance for the musicological community, in language that is accessible to scholars with a variety of specializations.” Applicants may submit only one proposal per meeting; bibliographies, figures, and examples should not be included with your submission. If submitting for a roundtable or workshop, the same guidelines apply, and we would kindly ask for a proposal for the session as a whole, including information for all participants, rather than individual proposals.

Presenters must be members of the American Musicological Society. Those who are not currently dues-paying members of the New England Chapter will be asked to kindly remit the modest Chapter dues ($10).

Program Committee Members:
Karen M. Cook, University of Hartford, chair
Kate Galloway, Wesleyan University
Timothy Mangin, Boston College
Emiliano Ricciardi, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Gail Woldu, Trinity College

Friday, February 8, 2019

Parking info to Wellesley College for Feb. 23rd meeting

Wellesley College's address is 106 Central Street (do not enter from Rte. 16)
**updated 2/22 to reflect error in street name below**
Turn left off Rte 135 (West Entrance) onto College Road. Turn right to get to Visitor Parking. You may park in any available space, except for those reserved for handicapped and disabled patrons.

TO GET TO PENDLETON WEST from the parking lot:

1. Follow the path out of Visitor Parking. 
2. Once you see the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center, continue to the left along the sidewalk on the right side of College Road.
3. You will pass the Physical Plant on the right, and next on you will see the brick wall of the Museum on the right.
4.  Cross the road and the path will fork; take the upper path on the right.
5.  The first building you come to near the top of the hill is Pendleton West on the left.  Enter; Pendleton West 101 will be immediately on the left.


COMMUTER RAIL INFO from Boston South Station

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Winter 2019 Chapter Meeting (Saturday, Feb 23 at Wellesley College)

AMS-NE Winter Chapter Meeting

February 23, 2019

Pendleton West 101 / Sargent Concert Salon
--Wellesley College
(Parking Info and Campus Map)

9:45-10:15 Refreshments and Registration
Morning Session

10:15 Welcome

10:20 “Me at Last, Me at Last!”: Black Artists Freeing Themselves From Country Music’s 
“White Avatar” – Joel Schwindt (Boston Conservatory at Berklee)

Mainstream country music has long been branded a “white” genre, even though this identity is based on ahistorical constructs that downplay regular borrowings from black musical culture (Malone 2017, Nunn 2010, Manuel 2008). This “white avatar” has even been used to justify the marginalization of black performers’ racial identity, most infamously in the refusal of Charley Pride’s label to include a photo in the singer’s promotional materials during the first two years of his career. This “hegemony of vision” (McCrary 1993), however, has been challenged by two emerging black singers, Kane Brown and Jimmie Allen. These artists formulated their “black avatar” in part through the regular inclusion of musical elements associated with rap and R&B (snap tracks, syncopations, rapped verses), a “non-country” image (e.g., Brown’s “fade” haircut, which is featured prominently on the cover of his 2018 album, Experiment), and high “black visibility” in their videos, including these artists’ creation of the first two mainstream country videos not to show a single white face (Brown’s 2017 “Heaven,” and Allen’s 2018’s “BestShot,” both of which reached #1 on Country Music Television’s weekly, viewer-polled countdown). Acceptance of the “black avatar” within mainstream country—a conclusion supported in part by both artists’ notable success—can be attributed to various factors, including a 14% increase in black listenership from 2005-15 (Country Music Association 2016), a  substantial rise in collaborations between white country artists and black R&B/rap artists since 2003, and the use of rap and R&B styles by white mainstream artists such as Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean. Finally, the reclaiming of “rusticity” by black artists in American rootsmusic (e.g., The Ebony Hillbillies, The Carolina Chocolate Drops)—a construct largely avoided since the 1960s due to associations with minstrelsy, and the rising popularity of “urban” genres that eschewed it (Stewart 2005, Smith 2001b)—has weakened its presumed association with whiteness. In sum, this paper reveals noteworthy challenges to the hegemony of racial identity in country music, aided by changes in musical styles and visual representation, listener demographics, and cultural conceptions of blackness in popular music.

Joel Schwindt is an Assistant Professor of Music History at Boston Conservatory at Berklee. He has presented at various international and regional conferences, including the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, the Renaissance Society of America, and regional chapters of the American Musicological Society. Among his publications are an article on Monteverdi’s Orfeo from the 2014 volume of the Cambridge Opera Journal, and a critical edition of Marc-Antoine Charpentier's In nativitatem Domini canticum, H. 416, published by Bärenreiter in 2011. He received the Eugene K. Wolf Travel Grant from the American Musicological Society in 2014, and the Mellon-Sachar Research Grant in 2012. Joel’s research focuses on class rivalry and gender in vocal music from the early modern era, as well as racial identity and religious philosophy in country music.

10:50 Fred Ho’s The Warrior Sisters (1998): A Performance of “Transformative 
Interracialism” – Jingyi Zhang (Harvard University)

Fred Ho’s opera The Warrior Sisters: The New Adventures of African and Asian Womyn Warriors premiered at the City College of New York in 1998, featuring an all principal cast of women of Asian and African descent. While much scholarly attention is focused on the mono-directional, cross-racial appropriations in looking at Asian-Americans performing black traditions or blacks performing stereotyped Asian traditions, few musicological studies explore the mutual, two-way interactions between black and Asian musical traditions, a gap I aim to bridge. Drawing on Ho’s archive at Harvard University’s Loeb Music Library, which includes his handwritten score of The Warrior Sisters, his personal writings, and interviews, I study the multilayered musico-cultural exchanges between black and Asian traditions, spanning the fields of critical theory, African American studies, Chinese film history, and ethnomusicology. Extending the conversation of prominent scholars like Tamara Roberts, Amilcar Cabral, Susan Asai, Kevin Fellezs, Ellie Hisama, Amy Abugo Ongiri, and Homi Bhabha, I seek to illuminate spaces whereby Asian and black performers simultaneously engage in both “black” and “Asian” soundworlds, enabling us to hear Afro-Asian music from multiple racial positions. I examine Ho’s aesthetics of what I call “transformative interracialism” in the opera, viewing his vision as a powerful performance of racial identity and expression of counter-dominant sonic spaces in which Asianness and blackness simultaneously engage in, through creative juxtapositions of musico-cultural traditions, singing styles, and the interracial identities of the artists who perform them. More specifically, I focus on two strategies that Ho employs in articulating “transformative interracialism,” through musical borrowing of the prominent Wong Fei-hung theme and rejection of a single sonic expression of Asianness or Africanness in presenting the fluid, dynamic musical conversation taking place between the Asian and African traditions.

Jingyi Zhang, a musicologist-pianist from Singapore, is currently pursuing her Ph.D. degree in historical musicology at Harvard University. Her research interest focuses on musical borrowing in the works of Chinese-American composers, film music, opera, philosophy of music, and aesthetics. An active performer and musicologist, Jingyi holds a double-degree BM in musicology and piano performance at Oberlin Conservatory under a Dean’s Scholarship Award, as well as a double-degree MA in musicology and MM in piano performance at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music under a three-year Jacobs fellowship. At Oberlin Conservatory, Jingyi served as Charles McGuire’s music history course tutor for all incoming music undergraduates. She was also actively involved in piano pedagogy and was a secondary piano program teacher led by Andrea McAlister. An avid performer, Jingyi has participated in numerous piano masterclasses by Edward Auer, José Ramón Mendez, Marian Hahn, and Mary Wu. She was also invited to perform in Singapore and several cities in China including Hangzhou, Changsha, and Wuhan. Upon graduating from Oberlin Conservatory, she was awarded the Carol Nott Pedagogy Prize for her exemplary efforts in music pedagogy. Last year, Jingyi was invited by Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) to be their guest music lecturer in the summer, teaching a course on Introduction to Western Music History.

11:20 Race and Anti-Patriotism in Bernstein’s 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – Neal Warner 
(University of Arizona)

Leonard Bernstein’s final Broadway undertaking, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, opened at the Mark Hellinger Theatre on May 4th, 1976. The production, featuring book and lyrics written by Broadway veteran Alan Jay Lerner, is considered a massive flop, as it closed after only four days and seven total performances. Initial issues with the production became apparent during out-of-town tryouts in Philadelphia and Washington D.C., where the production experienced alterations to its meta-theatrical concept, editing and condensing of Bernstein’s original score (many times without his consent), and the loss of a number of the original production staff. A quote from Bernstein’s daughter Jamie reveals another possible reason for failure: “It was maybe ahead of its time. [The show had] a built in problem: Two white Jewish guys were talking about [race]. That automatically put people’s hackles up.”

While historical accounts often reduce 1600’s failures to the lackluster book put together by Lerner, few explore the unsettling problems present in the production’s conception and reception. Through personal accounts, interviews, and archival documents, this research will uncover 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue’s underlying racist and anti-patriotic sentiments, present in both the nature of the show and the attitudes of its creators and critics. These two sentiments exist as foundational pillars in the creation of 1600, undermining the artistic efforts of Bernstein and Lerner and largely contributing to the designation of the production as a non-starter in the landscape of 1976 American theater.

 Neal Warner is a Detroit born composer, researcher, and music educator. His research includes explorations in the language of non-musicians as well as the narrative and emotional elements within the compositions of composers Franz Liszt and Gustav Mahler. Recent research presentations include appearances at the University of South Carolina, Florida State University, and the 2018 International Association for the Study of Popular Music conference in Hamilton, New Zealand. His research surrounding the programmatic nature of cadential formula in the music of Gustav Mahler is published in the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music’s 2018 Research Forum Journal. Warner holds a Bachelor of Music from Berklee College of Music, a Master of Music from Wayne State University, and is currently completing his Doctor of Musical Arts in composition and theory at the University of Arizona.

11:50 Freedom, Difference, and the Promise of the Ocean: Maritime “Otherness” in The 
Music of the Waters – Pallas Riedler (Eastman School of Music)

During the “Golden Age” of the sailing vessel, sea shanties were integral to maritime life. Sung by sailors as they navigated the open ocean, a sea shanty unified labor for maximum efficiency and relieved the tedium and monotony of the ocean by providing entertainment for the crew. As the decline of sailing vessels brought about the decline of sea shanties, practitioners and fans of the maritime oral tradition scrambled to preserve their music. Laura Alexandrine Smith’s anthology, The Music of the Waters (1888), has long been considered one of the most influential works from this period of preservation (Terry 1920; Carr 2009). In this paper, I examine Smith’s discourse of maritime “authenticity” and argue that her work exemplifies a larger trend of mainlander involvement in both the romanticization and empowerment of nautical culture.
As with any musical tradition that is translated from oral to written, sea-song anthologizers were forced to make difficult decisions regarding transcription and inclusion. In examining how Smith chose to portray maritime music, we are granted insight into mainlander conceptualizations of the maritime community. We are likewise able to identify the maritime community’s conceptualization of its own culture by studying the reactions to Smith’s work that emerged from nautical sources. Throughout my paper, I will refer to R. R. Terry’s response to Smith’s work (as published in the introduction to his own collection of sea shanties) as a primary example of the nautical community’s reaction to existing mainlander transcriptional practices and presentations of maritime identity.

Pallas Catenella Riedler is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in historical musicology at Eastman School of Music. In 2017, she received her B.A. in Music and English Literature from Wellesley College, where she completed a thesis on sea shanties in Western art music entitled “Piratical Debauchery, Homesick Sailors, and Nautical Rhythms.” Aside from maritime music, her research interests include musical manipulations of perceptual experience, imagined sound, and the intersection between music and poetry.

12:20-2:10 Lunch Break
2:10-2:30 Business Meeting

Afternoon Session 

2:30pm Weeping as Singing in Strozzi’s Laments – Claire Fontijn (Wellesley College)

Over forty years ago, Ellen Rosand drew attention to a published debate from Giulio Strozzi’s Academy of the Unisons, La contesa del canto e delle lagrime, which pitted the affective power of a woman weeping against that of a woman singing.  Matteo Dandolo and Giovanni Francesco Loredano argued each side, respectively, and Barbara Strozzi’s subsequent recitation of their arguments reportedly impressed the academy.
What did Strozzi’s recitation consist of?  Perhaps a clue to the answer lies in her composition of three cantatas labelled “Lamento.”  In each one, she evidently resolved the debate with a special technique: the verisimilitude of weeping as singing.  In “Appresso ai molli argenti,” Strozzi focused on particular words—“laments,” “crying,” and “death”—to be interpreted with feigned characteristics of crying, such as trembling, gasping for breath, and disintegrating words.  In “Lagrime mie,” Strozzi framed the cantata with the mimesis of weeping through the voice: an astonishing harmonic E-minor scale descends in a jagged and convulsive manner over a pedal tonic.  By contrast, in “Sul Rodano severo,” around the midpoint of the lament for Henri, Marquis de Cinq-Mars, an instrumental trio accompanies his plaint over a passacaglia repeated 13 times.  Henri weeps as he sings above the symbol of his misfortune.
Alex Ross wrote of Strozzi’s “gender identity melting away into a purely musical space of lamentation.”  Indeed, her recitation and lament performances transformed the academic notion of a woman weeping or singing into weeping as singing—an androgynous emotive experience.

Claire Fontijn is Phyllis Henderson Carey Professor of Music at Wellesley College, where she teaches wide-ranging courses: Hildegard of Bingen; Musicke’s Recreation: Studies in Renaissance Music with an Emphasis of Performance; theSymphony; Music, Gender, and Sexuality; 20th- and 21st- century Solo Song; and Music in Public Discourse. She is the author of three books: a monograph, Desperate Measures: the Life and Music of Antonia Padoani Bembo (2006; 2013); a set of essays, Fiori Musicali: Liber Amicorum Alexander Silbiger (2010), and another monograph, The Vision of Music of Saint Hildegard’s Scivias (2013). In the past, she was a semi-professional baroque flutist; currently, she plays the renaissance flute with the Wellesley College Collegium Musicum. Herpaper today is adapted from a chapter in an anthology she’s editing for Routledge, Uncovering Music of Early European Women (1250-2020).

3:00pm Refashioning Ophélie: Emma Calvé’s Nouvelle Création in fin-de-siècle Paris – 
Molly Doran (Northeastern University)

During the 1880s, French artist Madeleine Lemaire painted an Ophélie shockingly different from those of her male colleagues: with a defiant glowering stare and breasts indecorously displayed, this Ophélie’s madness stems from frustrated sexuality and undermines the popular presentation of the character as pure and feminine in her madness and death. As Lemaire broke boundaries with her presentation of Paris’s favorite madwoman, her friend Emma Calvé also created a surprising Ophélie in performances of Ambroise Thomas’s opera Hamlet (1868). While portrayals of the operatic Ophélie earlier in the century by Christine Nilsson were celebrated for their delicate beauty, Calvé’s later, fin-de-siècle performances famously reflected an increasing desire for darker realism on the stage, and critics admired her less curated portrayal of insanity. In her memoir, Calvé comments on her decision to do away with aesthetically pleasing visuals and acting choices in favor of greater naturalism, even explaining that she observed an Ophélie-like madwoman in an asylum as preparation for the role. Calvé’s performances of Ophélie participate in Paris’s obsession with theatricalized hysteria during the later part of the nineteenth century, a period during which neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot’s displays of female patients’ hysteria in the Salpêtrière’s amphitheater produced an atmosphere in which madness and hysteria specifically were both feminized and commoditized. Indeed, the opera’s mad scene can be compared easily with the medical hysterical attack described by Charcot, and its theatrical intensity and dramatic fluctuations provide ample opportunity for expressive singing and acting choices. In this paper, I examine Calvé’s portrayal of Ophélie within the context of Parisian artistic and medical discourses surrounding Ophélie, madness, and hysteria. I argue that, although part of a problematic discourse that medicalized and othered women, Ophélie’s mad scene afforded artists and performers, such as Lemaire and Calvé, opportunities for experimentation and creativity.

Molly C. Doran is a PhD candidate in musicology at Indiana University Bloomington. Her dissertation, “Representing Trauma and Suffering on the Late-Nineteenth-Century Operatic Stage: Gender, Hysteria, Maternity, and Culture in France,” examines representations of women’s trauma and suffering in French opera, focusing on the performance of hysteria and maternity in works by Charles Gounod, Ambroise Thomas, and Jules Massenet. Combining critical analytical approaches from musicology, performance studies, and trauma studies, her work demonstrates how operatic performance, both historical and contemporary, can signify forms of witness-bearing. Applied to modern contexts, her critical strategies provide insight into how operatic performance choices can satisfy collective responsibilities to engage current issues of domestic violence and women’s rights, by breaking down barriers between stage and spectator and emphasizing female perspectives. Molly has received grants to present her work at major musicology, French studies, and trauma studies conferences in the US and abroad. She currently teaches music history and writing classes at Northeastern University and piano at the Dedham School of Music in Dedham, MA. A French enthusiast, she spent summer 2018 studying the language in an immersive environment at Middlebury College in Vermont. Molly received her MM in music history from Bowling Green State University and her BA in music from Hillsdale College. She currently lives in Providence, RI with her husband, Nathan, and her dog, Clara.

3:30pm The power of the femme fragile: How Lili Boulanger gave feminine voice to Debussy’s sound world in a culture that silenced women – Madison Spahn (Boston Conservatory at Berklee)

Lili Boulanger is well known as the first woman to claim the Grand Prize in composition at the Prix de Rome in 1913, as well as for her untimely death at the age of 24. With rare exceptions (such as the scholarship of Annegret Fauser), her work is most often approached through this limited biographical lens, without consideration for her multifaceted identity and the larger sociocultural implications of her work. She entered a world in which women were excluded from the professional sphere, in which female voices in literature and art were effectively silenced, and despite actively distancing herself from the femme nouvelle movement, she had a critically important role in giving voice to women who otherwise went unheard. Although her musical work met rare critical acclaim, many critics reduced her to and even idolized her femme fragile image, placing her in a position of weakness next to her male contemporaries. As I argue in this paper, however, it was exactly this position which allowed Boulanger the freedom to develop a genuine feminine compositional voice within the French prewar musical scene.
As an initial point of comparison, examination of works of male contemporary Claude Debussy featuring prominent female characters (L’enfant prodigue, Pélleas et Mélisande), in combination with contextual details of Debussy’s relationships with women, confirms his one-dimensional, stereotypically reduced approach to feminine narrative. Analysis of personal anecdotes as well as critical discourse surrounding Boulanger establish her popular characterization as a fragile, prodigal young woman in a constant state of suffering. Critical examination of several works by Boulanger (Faust et Hélène, Clariéres dans le ciel, La princesse Maleine) elucidate how Boulanger incorporated Debussy’s techniques into a wholly unique compositional style that, intentionally or not, gives a more personal voice to stories of the female experience. This study places Boulanger in a larger sociocultural context in which her work and its popularity provided a vehicle for greater authenticity in female narratives.

Madison Spahn hails from Sarasota, FL and is currently pursuing her Master of Music degree in Voice Performance at Boston Conservatory at Berklee under the tutelage of Kendra Colton. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Music from Duke University (2016), where she completed an honors thesis entitled “The Evolution of a Woman’s Life and Love: A Performer’s Guide to Frauenliebe und Leben” under the direction of R. Larry Todd. She is an active performer and has recently appeared in productions of Le Nozze di Figaro with the Miami Music Festival and Albert Herring with Chicago Summer Opera. In Boston, she also sings with The Boston Cecilia and as soprano section leader at Old West Church.

4:00pm  “All my heart, in this my singing:” Amy Beach and the Women's Clubs of New 
England – Lili Tobias (Swarthmore College)

Scholars and critics have regularly chosen to focus on the large-scale works of Amy Beach in the context of the concert hall, situating her within a well-rehearsed narrative of “masters” and “masterworks,” aiming to prove (or disprove) her “greatness.” Yet such an approach paints an inaccurate picture of the ways in which Beach interacted with music and contributed to American musical culture over the course of her life. In actual fact, Beach’s compositional career overwhelmingly centered on creating music for women within the decidedly gendered context of women’s social clubs and societies, and her participation within this musical landscape was pivotal to her success as a composer.
In this paper, I focus on her songs, and in particular, the Three Browning Songs, Op. 44, within the context of the women musicians, composers, and listeners for whom these compositions were written. Using a graph model I have developed, I demonstrate that Beach’s harmonic language, contrary to the multitude of comparisons to that of the German Romantics, actually coincides with that of contemporary American parlor song writers. This is because having a common musical system facilitated social music-making and fostered a strong sense of community, providing a common base of musical knowledge that invited participation from everyone for whom it was familiar. I argue that Beach’s songs and other small-form works arose for the purpose of forming bonds of community, where ideas of “originality” or “greatness” were not the foremost metrics of musical value, and that these works were integral to her identity as a composer. In order to sufficiently discuss Amy Beach’s contribution to American music, I argue that one must first situate her creative work within the context in which it was principally created.

Lili Tobias is a senior at Swarthmore College, majoring in Music and Linguistics. Her current scholarly interests include women composers of vocal music, including Amy Beach and Pauline Viardot-García, and in general, the intersection of music and gender. Lili also studies composition with Gerald Levinson.

4:30 Refreshments

ALL AMS-NE Attendees are cordially inited to attend the Wellesley College Classical Faculty Concert at 7:30 pm in Jewett Auditorium, featuring Lois Shapiro (piano), Laura Bossert-King (violin/viola), David Russell (cello) , Franziska Huhn (harp), Deborah Selig (soprano), and Jane Starkman (violin/viola).