Music Theory

Recent Activities and Accomplishments

This page lists conference activity, publications, and other accomplishments of students and faculty in the music theory department. The most recent items are listed first. Items for inclusion on this page may be submitted to mustheor [at] indiana [dot] edu.

Regular events in the Music Theory Colloquium Series are not listed on this page. See our colloquium page for past and future colloquium series events.

Fall 2015

New students welcomed

In August 2015, the music theory department welcomed new students into our MM and PhD programs.

New MM students:

  • Emily Barbosa (Cambridge, Ontario). Emily completed her BMus in music theory and music education at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her interests include formal analysis (especially sonata theory), expressionism, and folk music. She also enjoys crocheting, watching cooking shows, and walking around barefoot.

  • Chelsea Brinda (Orlando, FL). A vocalist and pianist, Chelsea received bachelor's degrees in music theory and music education from the University of Florida. Her interests include German Lieder, the history of music theory, music theory pedagogy, and post-tonal theory. In her spare time she can often be found crocheting or sewing with her cat by her side.

  • Lauren Wilson (Brighton, MI). Lauren holds a bachelor's degree in guitar performance from Oakland University in Michigan. Among her interests are atonality, serialism, form, and expanding scholarship in the Classical guitar repertoire. Outside of music, Lauren enjoys running, traveling, and her cat, Florence.

New PhD students:

  • Leah Frederick (Manassas, VA). Leah holds a BMA in viola performance and a BS in mathematics from Penn State University. Her musical interests include Beethoven's string quartets, Classical form, performance and analysis, and transformational theory. She also enjoys cooking, running, and playing chamber music.

  • David Geary (Rochester, NY). David holds bachelor's degrees in music theory and music education from Ithaca College and an MA in music theory pedagogy from the Eastman School of Music, where he received a prize for excellence in teaching. His interests include nineteenth-century Italian opera, Schenkerian analysis, and music theory pedagogy.

  • Robert Komaniecki (Minneapolis, MN). Robert received a BA in music and and MA in music theory from the University of Minnesota. His primary interests are popular music and music theory pedagogy. He also enjoys science fiction novels, running, and singing bass in chamber choruses.

  • Stephen Komer (Chesterfield, MI). A squash player and coin collector, Stephen received a BM in piano performance from Oakland University (Rochester, MI) and an MM in music theory from IU. His interests include Renaissance and Baroque music and Schenkerian analysis.

  • Sarah Mahnken (Schleswig, IA). Sarah received a BA in music from Concordia University in Seward, NE and an MM in music theory from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where she wrote a thesis on scalar and collectional relationships in Shostakovich's Op. 87 fugues. Her other interests include scale theory, modes, and pitch centricity.

  • Zachary Zinser (San Diego, CA). Zack received a BM in piano and an MM in music theory from IU. His interests include pedagogy, Schenkerian analysis, tonal center preferences and associations in the early eighteenth century, pitch organization in popular music, and keyboard music of Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and Satie.

Summer 2015

Tan presents at SMPC

On August 2, Professor Daphne Tan presented her paper "Familiarity of Diatonic Modes," coauthored with David Temperley of the Eastman School of Music, at the biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition in Nashville, Tennessee.

Kielian-Gilbert presents in London

On July 18, Professor Marianne Kielian-Gilbert presented her paper "Doing Things with Music: Disturbing Identity, Multiplying Connections, Performing" at the Fifth Annual Conference of the Royal Musicological Association Music and Philosophy Study Group at King's College, London.

Spring 2015

Article by Sherrill and Boyle published in JMT

The article "Galant Recitative Schemas," by PhD candidates Paul Sherrill and Matthew Boyle, has been published in the Journal of Music Theory, volume 59, no. 1 (spring 2015), pages 1–61.

IU theorists active at MTMW

Despite an inconvenient schedule that conflicted with IU's final exams, several students and faculty of the music theory department were able to attend the twenty-sixth annual conference of Music Theory Midwest at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, on May 8–9.

Those participating at the conference included the following:

  • PhD student Nathan Beary Blustein presented "Stepwise Modulation as a Dramatic Device for Tonic Return in Musical Theater Songs."

  • Professor Christopher Brody chaired a session titled "Magic, Style, Authorship."

  • PhD student Nicole DiPaolo presented "Hearing Stylistic Lateness in the First Movement of Mozart's Final Piano Concerto, K. 595."

  • PhD student Nathan Lam presented "Chant Accompaniment after 1857."

  • PhD candidate Paul Sherrill presented "Susanna's 'Deh vieni.'"

  • Professor Daphne Tan chaired a session titled "History of Theory."

Papers were also presented by IU alumni Melissa Hoag (PhD 2008) and Andrew Wilson (MM 2009).

In the recent MTMW elections, PhD student Devin Chaloux was elected Student Representative to the MTMW Executive Board, representing Areas II and IV. Professor Daphne Tan continues her term as Representative to the Board for Area II.

Blustein wins Wennerstrom AI Fellowship

The theory department is pleased to announce that PhD student Nathan Beary Blustein is the 2015 winner of the Wennerstrom Music Theory Associate Instructor Fellowship.

Hook speaks to IU Math Club

On April 22, Professor Julian Hook presented a talk "Graph Theory and the Musical Tonnetz" to the IU Mathematics Club.

Adams article published in Spectrum

Professor Kyle Adams's article "What Did Danger Mouse Do? The Grey Album and Musical Composition in Configurable Culture" appears in Music Theory Spectrum, vol. 37, No. 1 (Spring 2015), pp. 7–24.

Tan presents at MTSNYS

On April 12, Professor Daphne Tan presented her paper "Was Kurth a Dualist? Or, Three Responses to Riemann" at the meeting of the Music Theory Society of New York State in Binghamton, New York.

Kielian-Gilbert presents paper in Ann Arbor

On April 9, Professor Marianne Kielian-Gilbert presented her paper "Unbecoming Acts: Music Identity at a Crossroads" as part of the Carrigan Lecture Series in Music Theory at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Abrahamyan wins Fulbright Scholarship

Congratulations to MM student Knar Abrahamyan, who has been named the winner of a Fulbright Scholarship for 2015–16. Knar will spend the academic year in Russia, where she will work on integrating Russian and North American theoretical approaches to the study of Russian opera. 

DiPaolo fugue performed

PhD student Nicole DiPaolo's Fugue for Saxophone Quartet has been performed twice this year, on January 3 and April 4, at Outpost 186 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

McClimon presents at MTSE

On March 28, PhD candidate Michael McClimon presented his paper "Diatonic Chordal Spaces in Jazz: A Transformational Approach" at the Music Theory Southeast conference in Greenville, North Carolina.

Hamm, Chaloux present at Rocky Mountain conference

Two graduate students in the music theory department presented papers at the 2015 Regional Music Scholars Conference, a joint meeting of the Rocky Mountain Society for Music Theory, the Southwest Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology, and the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the American Musicological Society, in Fort Collins, Colorado, on March 27–28:

  • PhD candidate Chelsey Hamm presented "Charles Ives's Democratic Dissonances."

  • PhD student Devin Chaloux presented "Tonal Spaces in Victoria's Gradual from Missa pro defunctis à 4; or, Is Mode à la mode Anymore?"

Kielian-Gilbert participates in conference in honor of Severine Neff

On March 21, Professor Marianne Kielian-Gilbert presented a short paper "Listening beyond Chronology" for a plenary panel on the future of modernist studies at the conference Contemplating the Musical Idea: A Conference in Honor of Severine Neff at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Sommer presents at Music and Meaning Symposium

On March 21, PhD student Jessica Sommer presented her paper "Flowing like a Fountain: Musical Motion Redefined" at the Music and Meaning Research Symposium in Gainesville, Florida.

Lam presents at MTSMA

On March 14, PhD student Nathan Lam presented his paper "Jean Langlais's Sharpwise Inflections" at the annual meeting of the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic at Princeton University.

GTA presents annual symposium

The Graduate Theory Association presented its 21st Annual Symposium of Research in Music Theory on February 20–21. GTA president Nathan Blustein and more than fifteen other graduate students were involved in planning, chairing sessions, hospitality, technological assistance, and publicity for the symposium.

Those presenting papers at the symposium included several IU students, faculty, and recent alumni:

  • Professor Blair Johnston delivered a featured presentation titled "The Bells, the 'Ghosts,' and the Other 'Weird Sounds' in Rachmaninoff's Last Work."

  • Professor Daphne Tan delivered a feature presentation titled "Was Kurth a Dualist? Or, Three Responses to Riemann."

  • PhD student Nathan Lam presented "Jean Langlais's Sharpwise Inflections."

  • PhD student Craig Duke presented "Three Composers' Approaches to the 'English' Dorian Mode."

  • Alumna Alyssa Barna (MM 2014) presented "Surface and Structural Analytical Techniques in Two Late Songs of Milton Babbitt."

Jedlicka presents paper in London

On February 14, PhD student Jason Jedlicka presented his paper "Exploring Augmentation in Steve Reich's Double Sextet" as part of the Minimalism Unwrapped concert series at Kings Place in London. The day was devoted specifically to research on Reich's music.

Adams receives grant

Professor Kyle Adams, in collaboration with Giuliano Di Bacco and the Center for the History of Music Theory and Literature, is the recipient of a $13,000 Collaborative Research and Creative Activity Funding grant from the IU Office of the Vice President for Research, announced in February 2015. The grant will assist in producing translations of ancient, medieval, and Renaissance Latin sources for Professor Adams's book, tentatively titled Theories of Chromatic Music from Antiquity through the Eighteenth Century.

Lam wins composition competition

In January 2015, PhD student Nathan Lam's anthem for choir and organ, "We Plow the Fields and Scatter," won first prize in a composition competition sponsored by the Bloomington chapter of the American Guild of Organists. The anthem received its premiere performance in Auer Hall on January 30.

Fall 2014

Mead article and composition published in Perspectives

Professor Andrew Mead's article "Cultivating an Air: Natural Imagery and Musical Understanding (for Robert Morris on His 70th Birthday)" appears in volume 52, no. 2 of Perspectives of New Music, pages 91–118. Professor Mead's Sonata No. 5 for Solo Violin is published in the same issue.

Johnston article published in MTO

Professor Blair Johnston's article "Modal Idioms and Their Rhetorical Associations in Rachmaninoff's Works" appears in volume 20.4 of Music Theory Online, published in December 2014.

Cubero defends dissertation

On November 14, Diego Cubero successfully defended his dissertation, "Brahms the Autumnal and the Romantic Aesthetic of Dissolution," advised by Professor Frank Samarotto. Congratulations, Dr. Cubero!

DiPaolo article published online

PhD student Nicole DiPaolo's article "Form and Deformation in Two Late-Romantic Italian Piano Concerti" was published in November 2014 in volume 3 of Mosaic, an online journal published by graduate students at the University at Buffalo.

IU theorists participate in SMT–AMS conference

The IU theory department was very well represented at the joint meeting of the Society for Music Theory and the American Musicological Society in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on November 6–9, with at least ten faculty, 27 current graduate students, and numerous alumni in attendance.

Faculty and students who presented at the conference included the following:

  • Professor Christopher Brody presented "The Second-Reprise Medial PAC and the Form of Bach's Binary Dance Movements."

  • PhD candidate William Guerin presented "The Concept of Musical Meaning: New Peircean Perspectives."

  • Professor Julian Hook presented "Key-Color Invariance" in a meeting of SMT's Mathematics of Music Analysis Interest Group.

  • Professor Eric Isaacson gave a presentation in "Interactive Presentations: A Poster Session on Empirical Approaches to Music Theory and Musicology." Professor Isaacson also completed a four-year term as Treasurer of SMT.

  • Professor Marianne Kielian-Gilbert presented "'Compassion with the Abyss': Sensory Estrangement in Britten's Late Works Death in Venice, Op. 88, and Phaedra, Op. 93."

  • PhD candidate Michael McClimon presented "Jazz Harmony, Transformations, and ii–V Space."

  • Professor Andrew Mead led a Peer Learning Workshop, "Writing About Hearing and Making Aggregate-Based Music." Professor Mead also chaired a session titled "American Modernisms."

  • MM student Nathaniel Mitchell presented "Sharp as a Tack, Bright as a Button: Timbral Metamorphoses in Saariaho's Sept papillons."

  • Professor Frank Samarotto presented "The Urlinie, Melodic Energies, and the Dynamics of Inner Form."

Many alumni of the department also presented at the conference, including recent alumni Michael Baker (PhD 2007), Stephen Grazzini (PhD 2014), Jonathan Guez (MM 2008), Jason Hooper (MM 2005), Stanley Kleppinger (PhD 2006), Simon Prosser (MM 2012), Abigail Shupe (MM 2009), and Andrew Wilson (MM 2009).

Guerin book review published

PhD candidate William Guerin's review of the book John Adams's Nixon in China: Musical Analysis, Historical and Political Perspectives by Timothy A. Johnson appears in vol. 36, no. 2 of Music Theory Spectrum (fall 2014), pages 340–44.

Johnston article published in Music Analysis

Professor Blair Johnstons's article "Off-Tonic Culmination in Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" appears in Music Analysis, vol. 33, no. 3 (October 2014), pages 291–340.

GTA presents annual recital

On October 17, the annual Graduate Theory Association Recital took place in Auer Hall. Performers included theory graduate students Nikolas Bauchat (piano), Matthew Bilik (piano), Nathan Blustein (tenor), Clifton Boyd (viola), Stephen Komer (piano), Katelyn Kozinski (violin), Nathan Lam (organ and piano), Rogerio Shieh (cello), and Jessica Sommer (oboe); theory Associate Instructors (and former AIs) Edward Cho (cello), Kurt Tseng (viola), and Cole Tutino (cello); and Professors Julian Hook (piano) and Andrew Mead (organ).

Hook article published in Oxford Handbooks Online

Professor Julian Hook's article "Generic Sequences and the Generic Tonnetz" was published in Oxford Handbooks Online in October.

New Mead composition performed

On October 7, Professor Andrew Mead’s Partita for Solo Flute, written earlier this year, was premiered by Tamara Thweatt at a concert in Indianapolis. Professor Mead also spoke to composition students at the University of Indianapolis.

Ivanovitch chapter published in Oxford Handbook

Professor Roman Ivanovitch's chapter "The Brilliant Style" appears on pages 330–54 of The Oxford Handbook of Topic Theory, edited by Danuta Mirka and published by Oxford University Press in October 2014.

Abrahamyan speaks on Russian opera

On September 22, MM student Knar Abrahamyan spoke in the lecture series On Russia in Russian sponsored by IU's Russian and East European Institute. Her lecture, delivered in Russian, was titled "Russianness in the Operas of Musorgsky, Tchaikovsky, and Prokofiev."

ITR to be listed in JSTOR and RILM

The Indiana Theory Review announced in September that contracts have been finalized with JSTOR and RILM that will soon enable the journal to be accessed through both databases, a move that will increase the visibility of ITR in the music theory community. Congratulations to ITR editor Devin Chaloux for his hard work in bringing these contracts to fruition.

IU Faculty and students present at EuroMAC

Several faculty and students from the music theory department presented papers at the Eighth European Music Analysis Conference (EuroMAC 2014) in Leuven, Belgium on September 17–20:

  • PhD student Matthew Boyle presented "Textual Rotations and the Two-Tempo Rondò."

  • Professor Christopher Brody presented "The Independence of Structural Parameters in Schenkerian Accounts of Tonal Form."

  • PhD candidate Chelsey Hamm presented "Musical Stagnation and Expressive Failure in Smetana's Piano Trio in G Minor."

  • Professor Roman Ivanovitch presented "The Brilliant Style: Illuminations, Revelations, and Force."

  • Professor Frank Samarotto presented "The Urlinie, Melodic Energies, and the Dynamics of Inner Form."

Blustein presents paper in Amsterdam

On September 5, PhD student Nathan Beary Blustein presented his paper "Erwin Schulhoff's Cinq études and European Jazz in the 1920s" at the conference Jazz Beyond Borders in Amsterdam.

New students welcomed

In August 2014, the music theory department welcomed new students into our MM and PhD programs.

New MM students:

  • Clifton Boyd (West Bloomfield, MI). Clifton holds a BM in viola and music theory from the University of Michigan. His interests include the keyboard works of J.S. Bach, orchestration, Schenkerian analysis, and rock music. A huge Arcade Fire fan, he enjoys arranging their music for string ensembles in his spare time.

  • Gabrielle Gaudreault (Montréal, Québec). A pianist, Gabrielle received a BMus from McGill University. At IU she is pursuing a dual MM in music theory and choral conducting. Her musical interests include Brahms piano works, form, serialism, and the Classical symphony. She also loves baseball and Broadway musicals.

  • John Heilig (Cooper City, FL). John received a BM in music theory from Florida State University. As a saxophonist, he is classically trained but also enjoys playing jazz. Besides the saxophone repertoire, his other interests include minimalism, text setting, and "all things pasta."

  • Katelyn Kozinski (DeKalb, IL). A violinist, Katelyn received her BM, MM, and Performer's Certificate from Northern Illinois University. Her interests include composition, music perception and cognition (especially in conjunction with the phenomenon of absolute pitch), and pedagogy. She is also fascinated by the modal system and rhythmic patterns of Middle Eastern music, which she has had opportunities to perform alongside Syrian musicians.

  • Jinny Park (Tallahassee, FL). Jinny received a BM in cello from Florida State University. Her interests range from Renaissance viol consort music to music of the twenty-first century. She also enjoys drawing and rock climbing.

  • Rogerio Shieh (São Paulo, Brazil). Rogerio received a BM in cello from Mercer University. A firm believer in the value of integrating theory and performance, he is pursuing a dual MM in Baroque cello and music theory. In addition to Baroque music, he is also interested in French late Romantic music, particularly that of Fauré. He also loves photography, traveling, and learning languages.

New PhD students:

  • Calvin Peck (Milwaukee, WI). Calvin received a BM in double bass and music theory from the Eastman School of Music and an MM in music theory from IU. He is interested in philosophical approaches to musical analysis as well as in music theory pedagogy.

  • Jessica Sommer (St. Louis, MO). Jessica holds a BA in music from Truman State University, an MM in oboe from Florida State University, and an MM in music theory from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She enjoys teaching and is interested in post-Romantic and Impressionist music, performance and analysis, rhythm and meter, and metaphors.


Previous years

Activities and Accomplishments 2013–14