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. Also see this page for past Jacobs School of Music news releases involving the theory department.

Fall 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.

Summer 2014

Alumni contribute to essay collection

Three recent alumni of the music theory department are among the contributors to Volume 2 of Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy, a web-based collection of short essays on the subject of student-centered learning. The articles by IU alumni are:

Johnston article published

Professor Blair Johnston’s article “Salome's Grotesque Climax and Its Implications” appears in Volume 36, No. 1 of Music Theory Spectrum (pages 34–57).

Adams book review published

Professor Kyle Adams's review of the book Rhymin' and Stealin': Musical Borrowing in Hip-Hop by Justin A. Williams appears in Volume 36, No. 1 of Music Theory Spectrum (pages 167–70).

Hook article recognized

Academic publisher Taylor & Francis has designated Professor Julian Hook's article "Contemporary Methods in Mathematical Music Theory: A Comparative Case Study" the Mathematics and Statistics Article of the Week for the week of May 26, 2014. Professor Hook's article, published in the Journal of Mathematics and Music in 2013, is the first publication in JMM and the first music-related article to receive this recognition. UK-based Taylor & Francis publishes hundreds of scholarly journals, about 95 of which are related to mathematics or statistics. Current and past Articles of the Week are freely accessible at the link above.

Spring 2014

IU theorists active at MTMW

IU was well represented at the 25th annual conference of Music Theory Midwest, which took place at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, on April 25–26.

Those presenting papers at the conference included the following:

  • Professor Christopher Brody presented "Three Apparent Recapitulation Forms from Bach's Keyboard Suites and Their Generic Origins."

  • PhD student Devin Chaloux presented "The Q–LW Generated Loop Progression and Hermeneutical implications in Elliott Smith's 'Between the Bars.'"

  • PhD candidate William Guerin presented "The Concept of Musical Meaning: A Reality Check."

  • PhD student Lucy Liu presented "Inner Form/Outer Form, and Questions of Ambiguity in the Adagio of Brahms's Op. 111."

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

Recent alumni presenting papers at the conference included Victoria Malawey (PhD 2007) and Andrew Wilson (MM 2009).

In the recent MTMW elections, Professor Daphne Tan was elected Area II Representative to the MTMW Executive Board.

Tan presents paper at University of Chicago

On April 2, Professor Daphne Tan gave an invited presentation at the University of Chicago's Music History/Theory Workshop. She shared her paper, "Ernst Kurth on Form and Erformung."

Mead continues composition activities

Professor Andrew Mead's Twelve More Caprices for solo soprano saxophone were premiered by saxophonist Daniel Glaser at the North American Saxophone Alliance conference in Urbana, Illinois, on March 22. Mead also traveled to the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where on April 1 he participated as the outside member of a doctoral committee and offered a master class in composition.

Barna presents paper at CCM

On March 29, MM student Alyssa Barna presented her paper "Associative Polyphony and the All-Partition Array in the Unaccompanied Music of Milton Babbitt" at the conference "Approaches to Analysis and Interpretation," sponsored by the Music Theory and Musicology Society at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Brody presents paper at MTSMA

On March 21, Professor Christopher Brody presented his paper "The Second-Reprise Medial PAC and the Form of Bach's Binary Dance Movements" at the twelfth annual meeting of the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia.

Hamm wins research award

PhD candidate Chelsey Hamm is the recipient of a Research Award from the IU Graduate and Professional Student Organization, enabling her to pursue archival work at Yale University's Charles Ives collection in the summer of 2014.

GTA presents annual symposium

The Graduate Theory Association presented its 20th Annual Symposium of Research in Music Theory on February 21–22. GTA president Jason Jedlicka and more than a dozen 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 Andrew Mead stepped in on short notice to deliver the keynote address, "Fuzzy Edges: Notes on Musical Interaction in the Music of Elliott Carter," and also led a workshop on Carter's music.

  • Professor Christopher Brody delivered a featured presentation titled "Parametric Interaction in Tonal Repertoires: A Meta-Theory of Form and Structure."

  • Professor Julian Hook delivered a featured presentation titled "Generic Sequences and the Generic Tonnetz."

  • PhD candidate Steve Grazzini presented "In Defense of Rameau's Theory of Supposition."

  • PhD student Ryan Taycher presented "Schenker, Brahms, and the Phrygian 2."

  • Alumna Abigail Shupe (MM 2009) presented "Rameau, Voltaire, Castel, and the Stakes of Enlightenment Music Theory."

  • Alumnus Calvin Peck (MM 2013) presented "Concerning the Limits of Aural Skills Pedagogy."

Taycher presents paper at Mannes

On January 26, PhD student Ryan Taycher presented his paper "Schenker, Brahms, and the Phrygian 2" at the Third Graduate Student Theory Conference at Mannes College in New York City.

Cubero paper read in Estonia

PhD candidate Diego Cubero's paper "In the Process of Dissolving: Examining the Interaction of Syntactic and Statistical Form in Brahms" was presented at the Seventh International Conference on Music Theory at Tallinn-Pärnu, Estonia, on January 10. Unfortunately the infamous polar vortex and associated brutal weather in the U.S. disrupted Diego's travel plans; his paper was read in his absence by Professor L. Poundie Burstein of the CUNY Graduate Center.

Fall 2013

Wennerstrom book review published

In December, Professor Mary Wennerstrom's review of Matthew Bribitzer-Stull's Anthology for Analysis and Performance (Oxford University Press, 2014) was published in Music Theory Online.

Kielian-Gilbert essay published

Professor Marianne Kielian-Gilbert's essay "Listening in Film: Music/Film Temporality, Materiality and Memory" has appeared in the Oxford Handbook of Film Music Studies, published by Oxford University Press in December.

Kielian-Gilbert speaks at Notre Dame

On November 21, Professor Marianne Kielian-Gilbert presented an invited lecture at the University of Notre Dame. Her talk was titled "Stravinsky's Masks of Abstraction: Russian Orthodox Bell Ringing, Ostranenie, and Aesthetic Distance in The Rite of Spring and Symphony of Psalms."

Mead performs on organ

Professor Andrew Mead played the organ part in Saint-Saëns’s Organ Symphony in two concerts with the Jackson (Michigan) Symphony Orchestra on November 16–17.

IU theorists participate in SMT conference

Ten faculty, fourteen current graduate students, and many alumni of the music theory department attended the annual meeting of the Society for Music Theory in Charlotte, North Carolina, on October 31–November 3.

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

  • Professor Kyle Adams presented “When Does the Present Become the Past? A Re-examination of ‘Presentism’ and ‘Historicism.’”

  • PhD student Devin Chaloux presented “The Synthetic Scale, Space S, and Sonata Form in Charles Griffes’s Piano Sonata.”

  • Professor Eric Isaacson, former editor of Music Theory Online, gave a presentation entitled “Riding Technology’s Leading Edge” in a session on the history and future of MTO. Professor Isaacson also serves as treasurer of the society.

  • Professor Blair Johnston presented “Texture, Partitioning, and Formal Dynamics in Schoenberg’s Fourth String Quartet.”

  • Professor Andrew Mead chaired a session titled “Twelve-Tone Techniques.”

  • PhD candidate John Reef presented “Subject-Phrase Interactions in Bach’s ‘Fortspinnungstypus’ Fugues.”

  • PhD student Paul Sherrill presented “Binary Form as Moral Philosophy in the Da Capo Aria.”

  • Professor Daphne Tan presented “Beyond Energetics: Gestalt Psychology and Harmony in Ernst Kurth’s Musikpsychologie (1931).”

Numerous IU alumni also presented at the conference, including recent alumni Daniel Arthurs (PhD 2011), Timothy Chenette (PhD 2013), Garrett Michaelsen (PhD 2013), Mitch Ohriner (MM 2007, PhD 2011), and Andrew Wilson (MM 2009). 

Alumnus Mitch Ohriner was named the winner of the SMT’s 2013 Emerging Scholar Award for his article “Grouping Hierarchy and Trajectories of Pacing in Performances of Chopin’s Mazurkas,” published in the journal Music Theory Online in 2012. The Emerging Scholar Award is given for publications within seven years of the author’s completion of a PhD. Previous recipients of the award include two current IU faculty, Andrew Mead and Julian Hook. This year’s award represents the first time the Emerging Scholar Award has ever been given for an online publication.

Mead publishes Carter essays

Two essays by Professor Andrew Mead appear in the collection Hommage à Elliott Carter, published by Delatour in 2013. Professor Mead’s contributions, translated into French by Max Noubel, are titled “Tempo, polyrythme et mètre: méthodologie et observations concernant le rythme dans la musique d’Elliott Carter” and “Abords indistincts: quelques considérations sur l’interaction musicale chez Elliott Carter.”

A new face in the office

In October, the theory and musicology departments bade a fond farewell to Shauna Peatross after her more than five years as our administrative assistant. We wish her well in her new life in Chicago. We are happy to welcome Alice Corey as our new administrative assistant.

Hook article published

In October, Professor Julian Hook’s article “Contemporary Methods in Mathematical Music Theory: A Comparative Case Study” was published in Volume 7, No. 2 of the Journal of Mathematics and Music (pages 89–102).

Rowell honored in concert

On Sunday afternoon, October 20, a concert in Auer Hall celebrated the 80th birthday of Lewis Rowell, Professor Emeritus of Music Theory. The concert featured five of Dr. Rowell’s compositions, ranging chronologically from 1956 to 2013. The performers included Professor Emeritus Allen Winold, viola, and Professor Julian Hook, piano.

Kielian-Gilbert presents work on Britten

Professor Marianne Kielian-Gilbert presented a paper at Benjamin Britten, A Century of Inspiration, a multidisciplinary symposium of performances, lecture-recitals, and academic presentations held at Texas Tech University on October 17–19. Her paper was titled “Perilous Sweetness: (De)Ciphering Subjectivities in Britten’s Late Works Death in Venice, Op. 88, and Phaedra, Op. 93.”

Hamm publishes chapter in conference proceedings

PhD student Chelsey Hamm's essay "A Critical Examination of Verbula in the Berkeley Manuscript" appears as the first chapter of Histories and Narratives of Music Analysis, edited by Miloš Zatkalik, Milena Medić, and Denis Collins and published in October by Cambridge Scholars Publishing. The volume is the proceedings of the Music Theory and Analysis Conference held in Belgrade, Serbia, in 2011. Chelsey's chapter (except for the endnotes and bibliography) can be read online as part of a free sample provided by the publisher.

Mead compositions performed

On October 10, two of Professor Andrew Mead’s compositions were performed in a concert entitled “Working without a Net” at the Wheeler Arts Community in Indianapolis. The pieces were Let the Air Circulate, written in the early 2000s for soprano, on a text by Amy Clampitt; and Rhapsody for Solo Flute, a work from 1983. Professor Mead also gave a talk to undergraduate students at the University of Indianapolis that afternoon.

Jedlicka presents paper

On October 4, PhD student Jason Jedlicka presented a paper entitled “Exploring Augmentation in Steve Reich’s Double Sextet” at the Fourth International Conference on Music and Minimalism at California State University–Long Beach.

GTA presents annual recital

On October 4, the annual Graduate Theory Association Recital took place in Auer Hall. The program included works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Grieg, Ravel, Prokofiev, and Reger. The performers included theory graduate students Alyssa Barna (clarinet), Devin Chaloux (piano), and Nathan Lam (clarinet); theory faculty Julian Hook (piano) and Andrew Mead (organ); and theory Associate Instructors Madoka Asari (piano) and Jonathan Rudy (organ).

DiPaolo composition performed

On October 3, PhD student Nicole DiPaolo’s Divertimento for String Quartet was performed by the Cuarteto Internacional de Cuerdas de Yucatán in Mérida, Mexico.

Brody book review published

In September, Christopher Brody, Postdoctoral Resident Scholar in Music Theory, published a review of the book Engaging Bach by Matthew Dirst in Volume 19.3 of Music Theory Online, the online journal of the Society for Music Theory.

New students welcomed

In August 2013, the music theory department welcomed new students into our MM and PhD programs.

New MM students:

  • Knar Abrahamyan (Cleveland, TN). A pianist, Knar received BM, BA, and MM degrees at Lee University. She speaks Russian, Armenian, and Romanian (and English!), and enjoys drawing and painting. Her musical interests include Baroque counterpoint and the evolution of style in Scriabin’s piano sonatas.

  • Matthew Bilik (Granger, IN). A film enthusiast, Matt received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from IU. His musical interests include 19th- and 20th-century French and Spanish music, popular song, early 20th-century music, composition, and orchestration. (He adds “And I love roller coasters.”)

  • Ethan Edl (Rochester, MN). Ethan writes “I consider myself a connoisseur of bad Chinese food and bad movies.” He holds a BA from Grinnell College in Grinnell, IA. He is interested in transformational theory, 20th- and 21st-century music, and the philosophy of music.

  • Stephen Komer (Chesterfield, MI). A squash player and stamp collector, Stephen received a BM degree from Oakland University in Rochester, MI. His interests include Renaissance music, Baroque counterpoint, Romantic piano music, and Schenkerian analysis.

  • Nathaniel Mitchell (Bristol, VA). Nate holds a BM degree from Furman University in Greenville, SC. His interests include timbral analysis, spectralism, form, music cognition, and bluegrass music. (“Interesting fact: I have double-jointed toes.”)

  • Zachary Zinser (San Diego, CA). Zack received a BM in piano from IU. His interests include Renaissance and Romantic music, chromaticism, Motown, and jazz. He reports being “obsessed” with James Jamerson’s bass playing, and adds “I can be talked into just about anything if a Chipotle burrito is involved.”

New PhD students:

  • Nikolas Bauchat (Fayetteville, GA). Nik holds a BA from Florida State University, an MM from the University of Georgia, and an MM in music theory from IU. His interests include Webern, hermeneutics, analysis of popular music, and text-music relations.

  • Craig Duke (Atlanta, GA). Craig holds a BM from Florida State University and an MA from the University of British Columbia. He is interested in early 20th-century tonal music and folk-influenced modality, as well as early music and postmodern music.

  • Nathan Lam (Brisbane, Australia). Nathan received a BM from Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. He is a clarinetist, an avid cyclist, and an amateur astronomer, and as far as we know, he is the first IU theorist to play the didgeridoo. His musical interests include the symphonies of Malcolm Arnold, the hymns of Vincent Persichetti, and Schenkerian analysis.

  • Michael Schnitzius (Fort Worth, TX). Michael holds BA and MM degrees from the University of North Texas. He is interested in pre-serial music of the Second Viennese School, phenomenology, and deconstruction.

  • Ryan Taycher (Neenah, WI). Ryan holds BM and MA degrees from the University of North Texas. His interests include Schenkerian analysis, chromaticism, German Lieder, and Renaissance music. Additionally, he notes “I am a bibliophile, collecting especially first (English) editions of theory books, and one of my hobbies is bookbinding.”

  • Matthew Voglewede (Rockville, MD). Matt holds a BS in computer science from the University of Maryland–Baltimore County, and an MA in music theory from the University of Oregon, where he wrote a master’s thesis titled “Toward a Perceptual-Cognitive Account of Double-Time Feel in Jazz.” His interests include music theory pedagogy, music perception and cognition, and music informatics.

New faculty join the department

Three new faculty joined the theory department in 2013: