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