Recent PhD grad news!

Congratulations to musicology students who completed their PhDs this past year:

Jessica Hajek (Visiting Lecturer, University of Cincinnati Department of Spanish and College-Conservatory of Music)

Paul Hartley (Executive Director, Institute for Human Futures; Sr. Resident Anthropologist, Idea Couture)

Holly Holmes (Operations Manager, Lead Guitar; Assistant to the Director, University of Arizona College of Fine Arts Outreach)

Priscilla Tse (Visiting Lecturer of Musicology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)


And congratulations to other recent PhD alumni on their new jobs:

Rick Deja (Lecturer [equivalent to assistant professor], Ethnomusicology, University of Cape Town)

Catherine Hennessy Wolter (Visiting Lecturer, Music and Theater Arts Department, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)

Ioannis Tsekouras ( Adjunct Faculty, Oakton Community College, Department of Humanities and Philosophy, and Department of Anthropology; Adjunct Faculty, Columbia College Chicago, Department of Music)

UIUC Musicology at the Library of Congress

Members of musicology faculty and alumni will give an American Musicological Society Public Lecture, titled “Johnnies, Tommies, and Sammies: Music and the WWI alliance,” at the Library of Congress on May 18th, 2017 at 7 p.m. in the Madison Bldg., Montpelier Room. (See abstract below.)

Participants will include Christina Bashford (Associate Professor of Musicology, UIUC), William Brooks (Professor Emeritus of Music, UIUC; Professor of Music, University of York, UK), and Gayle Sherwood Magee (Associate Professor of Musicology, UIUC).  They will be joined by two graduates of the SoM’s Doctor of Musical Arts program: Laurie Matheson (currently Director of the U of I Press) and Justin Vickers (Assistant Professor of Voice, Illinois State University), and also the pianist Geoffrey Duce, who is Assistant Professor of Piano at Illinois State University.


Johnnies, Tommies, and Sammies: Music and the WWI alliance

 Throughout World War I, musical cultures in Britain, Canada, and The United States were deeply entangled in the formation of “The Allies.” As the war evolved, popular music exchanged and performed in all three cultures —filtered increasingly through US publishers—provided remarkable insights into their changing views of each other, themselves, and the conflict. In 1914, Britain was directly involved and directly threatened; Canada, still a British colony, owed allegiance to the Crown but was three thousand miles removed; and the United States was officially neutral but in practice supported the allies and (after the Lusitania incident) was increasingly inclined towards engagement. By 1917 all three countries had become part of “The Allies”; music, as this presentation demonstrates, played a central role in binding the three countries together.

Drawing primarily on the Library of Congress’s recently digitized copyright deposits from the period, and contextualized by a study of the newspapers in Chronicling America, recordings from National Jukebox, and other materials from American Memory, six participants—musicologists Christina Bashford, William Brooks, and Gayle Magee, and performers Justin Vickers, Laurie Matheson, and Geoff Duce—offer an integrated lecture-performance that manifests in its design the process of alliance that occurred a century ago. Bashford, Brooks, and Magee are from Britain, the United States, and Canada, respectively; and they will each speak about and through their respective country’s musics. The presentation is not a series of papers but rather a single, collaboratively authored text, partitioned among the speakers in a series of scripted encounters, and illustrated with slides, films, period recordings, and live performances of sheet music.

Musicology Grad Student Wins Fulbright to Russia

Congratulations to Illinois musicology doctoral candidate Thornton Miller, who has been awarded a Fulbright IIE Fellowship to conduct research in St. Petersburg and Moscow for the 2017-18 academic year.

See Miller’s abstract below.

Thornton Miller

My research is on Anglo-Soviet cultural exchange during the early Cold War. The work focuses on the relationship between the state institutions and the music professionals–such as composers (including Benjamin Britten and Dmitri Shostakovich), impresarios, performers, and publishers–who were involved in these exchanges. My preliminary archival research in the United Kingdom and Russia has indicated that the British and Soviet governments depended on these professionals to carry out Anglo-Soviet exchange, that these professionals were able to circumvent the economic and legal differences between the two countries, and that they were able to shape their own participation in these exchanges to suit their own creative, financial, and political interests. My current research strives to answer the question: why did the British and Soviet governments entrust these music professionals with this much agency?

UIUC Musicology Graduate Student Emmanuel Joshua Stokes on CBS Christmas Eve Special



On Christmas Eve at 11:30pm ET/10:30 CT and 10:30MT/11:30PT, CBS Television will present “Listen: A Celebration of Christmas at Berea College.” This event will spotlight the Willis D. Weatherford Campus Christian Center and the Berea College Music Department. Among other Berea ensembles, the concert will feature the Black Music Ensemble, for which Emmanuel Joshua Stokes is Assistant Director and soloist.

Stokes, a current doctoral candidate in Musicology at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is Visiting Professor of Music History and Literature and the Assistant Director of the Black Music Ensemble at Berea College.


15400997_897959360963_5836487866897492579_nPhoto credit: Jessica Greene


Photo credit: Steve Greene

Jessica Hajek wins Honorable Mention for the LACSEM Student Paper Prize

Congratulations to UIUC Musicology doctoral student Jessica Hajek, who received Honorable Mention from the 2015 LACSEM Student Paper Prize hajek_headshot(sponsored by the Latin American and Caribbean Music Section) for her paper “‘¡Y Ahora! ¿Y Ahora?’: Alibabá in Santo Domingo Carnival and the Emergence of a Performance Genre,” presented at the 60th Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology at the University of Austin, TX.

Research travel awards for Musicology students

Congratulations to musicology students Tara Hatfield and Thornton Miller, winners of recent Graduate College research travel competitions!

tara-take-2Tara, who is working on the intersections between hip-hop, environmentalism, and social identity in Tanzania,  has been awarded a Graduate College Masters Project Travel Grant to pursue thesis research in Arusha, Tanzania.




Thornton is working on a PhD dissertation on  cultural exchange between the USSR and the UK during the Cold War, with special attention to the work and agency of Benjamin Britten.  He has been awarded a Graduate College Dissertation Travel Grant to pursue doctoral research in Moscow and St. Petersburg.


The School of Music was one of only two units on campus to receive two research travel awards from the Graduate College this fall.

2016 Nettl Lecture: Dr. Portia Maultsby — “Performing Blackness: Black Gospel Music in the Netherlands”

▪The Bruno and Wanda Nettl Distinguished Lecture in Ethnomusicology▪

Performing Blackness: Black Gospel Music in the Netherlands

Portia K. Maultsby, Laura Boulton Professor Emerita of Ethnomusicology
Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology
Indiana University


Since the 1990s, African American gospel music has become a global phenomenon. Its popularity across national, cultural, racial, ethnic, and religious boundaries has resulted in the proliferation of gospel choirs throughout the world. In this new context, Black gospel music is used in diverse ways and serves multiple functions, giving rise to localized meanings and performance expectations. Although African American expatriates occasionally serve as choir directors, many choirs are led by non-African American musicians.   With varying success, some directors strive to preserve “original” performance aesthetics and, often, the rituals associated with African American worship settings. Yet others reference black gospel music as inspiration to create localized religious expressions.

As a case study, my presentation will focus on Edith Casteleyn, the Euro-Dutch director of four choirs in the Netherlands performing what she describes as “authentic” Black American gospel music. Specifically, I will examine the processes for translating and negotiating differences in the musical values, cultural practices, religious orientations, and social conventions distinguishing African American and Dutch societies, and the way these differences impact the teaching, performance, and reception of gospel music in this new context.

4:30 PM

Friday, September 16, 2016

Music Building Auditorium
1114 W. Nevada St., Urbana, IL 61801

Free and open to the public

Sponsored by:

Center for Advanced Study
Department of African American Studies
Department of Anthropology
School of Music
European Union Center (Title VI Grant, Dept. of Education)


Spanish and Portuguese Colloquium: Mike Silvers – “Brazilian Carnauba Wax at the Dawn of Recorded Sound”

Thursday, September 15 (4 PM, Lucy Ellis Lounge – FLB 1080)
Mike Silvers (Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, UIUC) 

Brazilian Carnauba Wax at the Dawn of Recorded Sound 

Music scholars have, in recent years, begun investigating the sustainability of natural materials used in the construction of musical instruments and other music technologies. In this talk, I narrate a commodity biography of carnauba wax from northeastern Brazil as it was used in the fabrication of wax cylinders and 78 RPM records in the early years of sound reproduction. I suggest the story of the exploitation of (sustainably grown) natural resources for mass-produced music technologies is one of labor and trade relationships within the Brazilian Northeast and, above all, between the Global North and the Global South.
For the full calendar and updates you can check:

Putu Hiranmayena: Best student paper at ICTM Study Group on the Performing Arts of Southeast Asia meeting

Congratulations to musicology doctoral student Putu Hiranmayena for being awarded the best student paper at the 4th Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on the Performing Arts of Southeast Asia! See the abstract below.

“Putting the “game” in Gamelan: Improvising Gamelan as Praxis in Public Charter Schools

For the past seventeen years, the Museum School of San Diego has incorporated Balinese gamelan into their core curriculum. In 1999, Dr. Alex Khalil and the late Robert E. Brown of the Center for World Music, designed courses for students in America to experience music as children do in Bali: within their daily lives. The school has housed gamelan angklung, gender wayang, gong kebyar, and occasionally “tarian” or dance. Guest artists such as I Nyoman Wenten (CalArts) and I Made Lasmawan (Colorado College) have participated in residencies at the museum school among other established artists. While students learn gamelan by the traditional “maguru panggul” or teaching through the mallet, teachers have utilized other methods to accommodate the diverse learning styles. I began as instructor in fall of 2013 and have employed improvisatory methods (Conduction) in search of a way to engage kindergarteners through game, not as a critique to traditional methods but as augmentation of such practices. This paper discusses the utilization of shared experiences across established cultural processes as the conduit for artistic praxis and preservation of creative agency. I argue that improvisatory “games” in the context of American kids gamelan not only stimulate creativity, but offer students a multi-sensorial experience that equips them with tools for which the pedagogical methods of gamelan are based upon. In doing so, I hope to highlight problems with my own positionality and advocate for improvisation in classrooms, as byproducts of cross-cultural contact.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign