Graduate Students

Rick Deja – PhD Candidate
B.A. with Honors, Individualized Major Program: Ethnomusicology/Jazz Studies; Certificate in African Studies, Indiana University.
M.M. with Distinction, Jazz Studies (Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute), DePaul University.
Rick’s interests include:
• Popular music and the recording industries in eastern and southern Africa especially in relation to Malawi, South Africa, and Tanzania
• Jazz in America and internationally
• Cosmopolitanism, transnationalism, nationalism, and cultural citizenship
• Communicative practice in musical performance, philosophies of improvisation, alternative models of music pedagogy.

Holly Holmes – PhD Candidate

B.M. in Jazz Studies, Western Michigan University, 2000
M.M. in Jazz Performance, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008

Holly is currently completing her dissertation following 16 months of fieldwork in Belo Horizonte, Brazil funded in part by a 2011 Fulbright Research Grant. Her work investigates interactions between regionalism, politics, and musical production during the military dictatorship (1964–85) using composer Milton Nascimento and his collaborators as a case study. Additional research interests include jazz, particularly issues of improvisation, collaboration, and pedagogy.

John Stanislawski – PhD Candidate

B.A. in Music, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, 2006.
M.M. in Musicology, University of Illinois, 2009.

John Stanislawski’s scholarship focuses on American music, and in particular, intersections between popular music genres such as rock, soul, and country. He is currently working to complete his dissertation on Gram Parsons, a central figure in the late-1960s country-rock movement and a forebear of the “alternative country” movement of the 1990s. Coinciding with his work on Parsons, John’s other interests include exploring fan culture and relationships between music and place.

Steve Wilson – PhD Candidate
B.M. University of Iowa, 2004.
M.M. Wichita State University, 2006.

Steve is currently working on his dissertation, “The Radical Music of John Zorn, Diamanda Galás, and Merzbow: A Hermeneutic Approach to Expressive Noise.” He explores applications of Lacanian psychoanalytic theory to hermeneutics with a focus on avant-garde and experimental music, and other forms of transgressive sonic art. Steve’s interests include music and philosophy, sound studies, aesthetics, film music, and noise.

Catherine Hennessy Wolter – PhD Candidate

B.A. in Music Liberal Arts, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire
M.M. in Musicology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Catherine Hennessy Wolter is a Ph.D. candidate in Musicology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work centers on the rise of mechanical musical instruments and recorded sound around the turn of the twentieth century as captured in American print media sources and their advertising, with an emphasis on the cultural advocacy and commercial promotion of the player piano and radio. Her findings draw from multi-sited archival work, which is supported by the University of Illinois Graduate College as well as Duke University. Catherine has presented her research at annual meetings of the American Musicological Society and the Society for American Music.

Emily Wuchner – PhD Candidate
B.A. in Music & Journalism and Mass Communications, Murray State University.
M.M. in Musicology, University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Emily’s research focus is Viennese music and culture during the 18th-19th centuries. Her dissertation is on the Tonkünstler-Societät (Vienna Musicians Society) from 1771-1798, which earned money for a pension fund by hosting bi-yearly oratorio concerts. My work looks at the organization itself, its relationship to the Habsburg Monarchy, concert life, and its influence in shaping the oratorio tradition.
Lucas Henry – PhD Student

M.A. Jazz History and Research, Rutgers, 2008
M.A. History, East Tennessee State, 2004
B.M. Saxophone Performance, East Tennessee State, 2000
B.A. History, East Tennessee State, 2000

Lucas is interested in 20th Century American music, particularly jazz and post-WWII art music and their intersections. Previous research includes jazz journalism trends, jazz and the Civil Rights Movement, politics in American Music, and American culture from various international perspectives.

Matt Knight – PhD Student

B.Mus., B.Ed. University of Manitoba
M.A. University of Alberta

Matt’s interests include: Vocal Polyphony, the Caucasus, Georgia, Postsocialism, Anthropology of Religion, Conflict Studies, Old Order Anabaptists (Hutterites, Amish, Mennonites), North American and World Christianities.

Ian Middleton – PhD Student

B.A. in Philosophy, University of Leeds, UK, 2005
M.A. in Philosophy, University of Leeds, UK, 2006
Mmus, University of Leeds, UK, 2010

Ian carries out research into rural music in Northern Colombia (mainly gaita and tambora) and its role in empowerment of non-dominant groups. Themes include peace, learning, racialization and ethnicization, urbanization and ruralization. At SEM 2012 Ian presented the paper: “‘Identity’, Learning and Peace through rural Music Festivals in Colombia’s Caribbean Coast”. His MA thesis was on gaita music in its rural heartlands and the city of Cartagena.

Thornton Miller – PhD Student

B.M. in Cello Performance, University of Missouri
M.M. in Applied Music (Cello), University of Houston
M.M. in Music Literature, University of Houston

Thornton Miller’s research interests include Anglo-Soviet cultural exchange during the Cold War, and Benjamin Britten’s relationship with Soviet authorities, musicians, and audiences. He is a FLAS Fellow and is pursuing a doctoral minor in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Mr. Miller has presented his research at the Benjamin Britten Stage & Screen Conference at the University of Nottingham.

Hilary Brady Morris – PhD Student

B.A. in Music and French, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, 2004.
M.M. in Musicology (Ethnomusicology), University of Illinois, 2012.

Current research interests: Tibetan and Nepalese musical and cultural practices, acoustemology, urbanization, memory, diasporic and exile communities, sacred (Tibetan Buddhist) and secular musical spaces. The Himalayas and South Asia.
Past research areas: American popular music and the internet, online musical and social networks, performance studies, Irish music collections of the late 18th century.  Founding member and Public Relations/Outreach Officer for ISAMS (Illinois Student Association of Music Scholars), 2011-2012, Midwest SEM Chapter Student Representative, 2012-present, SEM Student Newsletter Column Editor, 2013-present.

Michael Siletti – PhD Student

B.A. State University of New York, New Paltz, 2009.
M.M. in Musicology, University of Illinois, 2011.

Michael’s interests include music in the United States, music and death, music and incarceration, and biography. His dissertation will explore the complex relationships between music and capital punishment in the United States in the post-Furman era. He presented “‘One thing you must cut out’: Constructing Musical Biography and the Case of Ethelbert Nevin” at AMS Midwest in Fall 2012.

Alexander Woller – PhD Student

B.A. Music (Music and Culture) and Anthropology, University of Notre Dame, 2009.
M.M. in Musicology, University of Illinois, 2012.

Alex’s research interests include blues-rock, musical tropes, popular music, gender and masculinity. His dissertation will explore the figurative depiction of magic and gender within blues-rock, heavy metal, and related sub-genres. Alex presented a paper at the Society of American Music in 2013 on this topic entitled “The Sound of Magic: Masculine and Feminine Power Relations in Blues-Rock.”

Kyle Carmack – Masters Student

B.A. in Music (English and Music Business Minors)- Western Illinois University

Kyle is interested popular music, and especially concept albums of the past five years. In his research he inspects how narrativity, intertextuality, performativity, and marketing affect the reception and genre of these works. He is also interested in Hindustani classical music, and is currently learning to play the sitar. Kyle also provides lead male vocals for Balkanalia.

Jamil Jorge – Masters Student

B.M. in Music, Connecticut College
Mellon Mays Fellow

Jamil is interested in theories of globalization, post-colonialism and modernization, flow, semiotics, and aesthetics as they relate to creating identities in American and overseas Drum & Bugle corps and in West African music. Undergraduate research sponsored by the Mellon Mays Fellowship provided an opportunity to explore these ideas and present them during the MMUF writing and research symposium at Yale University.

Ryan McNulty – Masters Student

B.M. in Education, Drake University

Ryan’s interests include postwar jazz and American popular music, concentrating in the genres of rhythm & blues, soul, neo-soul, and baroque pop.

Tom Reeder – Masters Student

B.M. in Music Education, Western Illinois University, 2012.

Tom is interested in researching a variety of topics related to popular music. These include the impact of electronic music production on popular music from 1990 to the present, narrativity and storytelling in American folk music, the concept of cultural borrowing in American popular music, and notions of authenticity as related to methods of recording and musical style.

Nolan Vallier – Masters Student

B.M. in Music Education, Iowa State University, 2012.

Nolan is interested in minimalism/ post-minimalism, Fluxus, intermedia, and the blending of the arts from 1960 to the present. His secondary area of interest is in video game music.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign