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.

Spring 2015

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