All posts by illinoismusicology

Gabriel Solis Named Dean’s Fellow

Gabriel Solis 01

Musicologist Gabriel Solis has been named a dean’s fellow of the College of Fine and Applied Arts.

Please see Interim Dean Peter Mortensen’s announcement below:

Dear Colleagues,

It is my pleasure to announce that Gabriel Solis will join the dean’s office as a fellow in the new year. A professor of music, anthropology, and African American studies, Gabriel’s scholarly work explores the ways people engage the past, performing history and memory through music.

As dean’s fellow, Gabriel will serve an important role in the implementation of the new college strategy, ensuring timely and inclusive realization of established goals. A primary area of focus for this work will be the planning and realization of a new research hub for the college, including the establishment of infrastructure to support faculty-driven research themes in interdisciplinary performance, community partnerships, and arts research. The fellow will coordinate the exploration and establishment of a new center according to university statutes and processes, and work to devise and realize measurable goals for related efforts with attention to staffing, space, and fiscal stability.

While serving the college, Gabriel will retain his faculty appointment. Last year, he was named an NEH fellow, and this year, began a three-year digital jazz studies project funded through the Trans-Atlantic Platform for Humanities and Social Sciences. His previous awards include the Wenner Gren Foundation’s Hunt Fellowship, the Arnold O. Beckman Fellowship for distinguished research, the Madden Fellowship for research in technology and the arts, an IPRH fellowship, and a Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory senior fellowship.

Please join me in welcoming Gabriel to his new role within the college.


Peter Mortensen
Interim Dean



Professor Donna A. Buchanan Awarded Prestigious NEH Fellowship

Donna A. Buchanan has received a 2017 National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor Fellowship for her project “Bells in the Music and Culture of Bulgaria.” The award will support the preparation of Buchanan’s new book, The Girl in the Bell: Audible Cosmologies of Bulgarian Belief, which considers how the gendered “voices” of pastoral and ritual bells make audible contemporary Bulgarian beliefs about nature, the universe, spirituality, and society. Whether pealing from the belfries of Orthodox cathedrals, jingling from the necks of herd animals, or clamoring thunderously from the costumes of participants in Carnival masquerades, bells serve as powerful sonic metaphors of community belonging and musical beauty, their timbres informing both women’s singing and men’s instrumental practices. By attending to how bells resonate meaningfully for Bulgarians across diverse sociopolitical contexts and expressive media, this study demonstrates that we experience, know, and inhabit our world not just visually, but aurally.

Donna Buchanan
Photo credit: Joyce Seay-Knoblauch

Buchanan’s fellowship is one of six received by Illinois faculty this year. A campus announcement describing the awards can be found here.


Alejandro Madrid (Cornell), Nettl Distinguished Lecture in Ethnomusicology

Please join us for the annual Bruno and Wanda Nettl Distinguished Lecture in Ethnomusicology. 4-6 pm, September 22, in the Music Building Auditorium

Nettl Lecture _ Madrid

Alejandro Madrid (Cornell)

Diversity and Inclusion: Ghostly Gimmicks and the Relevance of Contemporary U.S. Music Academic Institutions

Diversity has been a buzzword in U.S. academia for several decades. However, in many cases, calls for diversity have translated into tokenist instances that often reproduce oppressive social structures within and outside of academia. The current political climate in the United States has forced disciplinary fields in the humanities to become more aware of their social relevance. By taking musical mementoes of Americana that conceal a Mexican heritage as points of departure this lecture explores what diversity would mean in a socially and intellectually relevant music academia.

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)

Emily Wuchner (Thesis Coordinator, UIUC Graduate College)

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.