SAM/2.0 Campaign Steams Past $700,000 Mark!

At the Society’s 40th Annual Conference in Lancaster, PA, members donated $40,789 in just four days! The conference represented the halfway point of the SAM/2.0 Campaign, which began in 2012 and will wrap up in 2016. In the month before the conference, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music made a donation of $20,000 in honor of Vivian Perlis. The Development Committee is grateful for such a generous gift to recognize one of the Society’s founding members. We began the conference with a Campaign total of $697,190 and left Pennsylvania Dutch Country with a new balance of $737,979—well on the way to our $1 million goal!

The funds raised in Lancaster came from several initiatives. Conference attendees bought over 225 raffle tickets to support SAM/2.0 and for the chance to win some great prizes. Congratulations to those lucky members whose tickets were drawn at the Saturday evening banquet: Sherrie Tucker: 1st Prize—The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, 2nd ed.; Jessica Sternfeld: 2nd Prize—a free week in a Naples, Florida condominium; Trudi Wright: 3rd Prize—$150 of books from the University of Illinois Press; Anne C. Shreffler: 4th Prize—$150 of books from the University of Indiana Press; and Jon Alan Conrad, Roger Lee Hall, and John Hasse: 5th–7th Prizes—CDs from The Star Spangled Banner Foundation. Thanks to the publishers, foundation, and individuals who donated these prizes.

The Development Committee is very grateful to those conference attendees who supported SAM/2.0 in other ways: by pre-paying for drink tickets to the opening reception, by filling out pledge cards, by increasing the duration of previous pledges, and by making cash donations. During the conference John and Roberta Graziano endowed a specialized fund to support research in nineteenth-century American music. We look forward to being able to award the first John and Roberta Graziano Fellowship next year in Sacramento.

The National Endowment for the Humanities will be matching Campaign donations at a rate of one-to-three. If, for example, you pledge $900 to SAM/2.0, the NEH will match your contribution with an additional $300, making your total donation $1,200! For us to receive the full amount of the $150,000 NEH Challenge Grant, we must submit $450,000 in non-federal donations. Although we have raised $737,979 to date towards our $1-million goal, only $357,649 of that amount can be counted towards the NEH Challenge Grant. This is because donations received prior to December 1, 2012 and bequests received at any time are ineligible under the conditions of the challenge program. We are still in need of $92,351 in order to receive the full match amount.

As we look towards the Society’s 41st Annual Conference, let’s remind ourselves of what the NEH Challenge will do. First, it will help to fund short-term research residencies at major archives and libraries, such as the Library of Congress Music Division (Wayne Shirley Fund) and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (Judith McCulloh Fund). Second, American music scholars will benefit from endowments for specialized research, such as the Anne Dhu McLucas Fund, which will support graduate students pursuing research or fieldwork in traditional or Native American/First Nation music, or the Eileen Southern Fund, which will support research on music of the African diaspora. A full listing of these funds is available at The Hampsong Fund, Judith Tick Fund, and Virgil Thomson Fund are already providing research assistance to scholars.

If you have yet to make a donation, please consider making a pledge. Join your SAM friends and colleagues who have already contributed and help us support research in the diverse fields of music in the Americas. Spreading a manageable monthly contribution over the next thirty-six months can yield a significant donation. Donations or pledges may be made at Help bring the NEH Challenge Grant home by acting now!

bruce d. mcclung
Chair, Development Committee

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The Expansion of Stephen Foster Songs in Japan: from their reception in the Meiji period to their acculturation in our digital age

By Kazuko Miyashita (Professor Emeritus at National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya, Kagoshima)

Foster Conference poster
Foster Conference poster <click for PDF>

On December 7, 2013, Japan’s first ever lecture-concert and symposium on Stephen Collins Foster was held at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, its sponsor. Invited scholars and artists from the United States were Dr. Deane L. Root, Dr. Sondra Wieland Howe, Joe Weed, and Marty Kendall. As a Foster scholar, I’d been dreaming of holding such an event in Japan, where Foster songs have been loved for 150 years. I’m pleased to briefly report on the event along with the poster and a newspaper article covered by a reporter who was among the audience.

The songs of Stephen Foster are the earliest examples of Western songs that the Japanese have come to appreciate after the country opened up to the Western world in the late nineteenth century. Since then, Foster songs have been well loved by the Japanese people. Even in 2013, young people learn them in their music lessons during both elementary school and junior high school years. The academic study of the history of Foster songs in Japan, however, is not fully recognized. While excellent individual studies exist, the background of the original songs and the acceptance of them are not widely known to the general audience. The lecture-concert-symposium on the theme of “The Expansion of Stephen Foster Songs in Japan” is, therefore, an ambitious and significant attempt at examining this subject. It looks at the history of song reception in the Meiji era and predicts the future of the adaptation of Foster songs through digital media in a global context.

Moderator: Prof. Kazuko Miyashita
Opening Addresses:
Prof. Masaki Sakiyama (Director of International Institute of Language and Culture Studies)
Prof. Shigemi Nakagawa (Dean of the Graduate School of Letters, Ritsumeikan University)
Keynote Speech: “Foster Songs as American Vernacular,” Deane L. Root (Editor in Chief, Grove Music, Professor of Music and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Music, and Director and Fletcher Hodges Jr. Curator, Center for American Music, University of Pittsburgh)
Foster Concert: Opening Instrumental Fiddle Medley performed by Marty Kendall and Joe Weed. Includes “My Old Kentucky Home,” “Oh, Susanna,” “Camptown Races,” and “Angelina Baker.”

Foster Conference program
Foster Conference program <click for PDF>

Moderator: Prof. Keiko Wells
Foster Song Workshop
Songs performed by Marty Kendall, Deane Root, and Joe Weed

  1. “Oh, Susanna”
  2. “Old Folks at Home”
  3. “My Old Kentucky Home”
  4. “Angelina Baker”
  5. “Old Black Joe”
  6. “Hard Times Come Again No More”
  7. “Camptown Races”
  8. “Gentle Annie and Little Annie/When the Springtime Comes Again”
  9. “Beautiful Dreamer”
  10. “Nelly Bly”
Dr. Sondra Wieland Howe, “American Music in Meiji Era in Japan”
Prof. Kazuko Miyashita, “Rediscovering Stephen Foster” (in Japanese)
Prof. Deane L. Root, “Predicting the Future of Foster Songs” / Commentary to the symposium lecture

Olly Wilson named Honorary Member for 2015

Olly Wilson, 2015 SAM Honorary Member
Olly Wilson, 2015 SAM Honorary Member

I am very pleased to announce that Olly Wilson will be our Honorary Member at the Sacramento Meeting in 2015. Olly Wilson has distinguished himself in multiple fields. He is currently emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught composition between 1970 and 2002. He held many important and prestigious positions at Berkeley, including chair of the Music Department (1993–97), the Chambers Endowed Professorship (1995–98), and Assistant Chancellor for International Affairs (1986–90). Previously, Wilson taught at the Florida A&M University (1960–62, 1964–5), and Oberlin College Conservatory of Music (1965–70). He cofounded the Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players to perform contemporary music in 1970 and received commissions from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. His awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship (1971–72), the coveted Elise Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center (1992), the Rome Prize (2008), and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1995), among many others. He was Resident Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation Center in Bellagio, Italy (1991), and served as the Fromm Foundation Composer in Residence at the American Academy in Rome in 2008. As a composer, Wilson’s style was marked by the innovative synthesis of modernist techniques and African American traditional music. His music has been published by Gunmar Music (a division of G. Schirmer) and recorded by major labels such as Columbia, CRI, New World, Desto, and Turnabout.

As a scholar, Wilson published groundbreaking work theorizing the relationship between African American music and West African music. His detailed knowledge of both types of music, combined with a composer’s sensitivity to sound and musical style, enabled him to make significant advances on the earlier work of scholars. His articles are still cited frequently and considered foundational in the scholarship of African American music.

Judy Tsou, President

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2014 Conference Reports

Report on the Annual Business Meeting (March 8, 2014)
Submitted by Neil Lerner, Secretary

The Society for American Music held its Annual Business Meeting on Saturday, March 8, 2014, at the Marriott Hotel at Penn Square, site of our fortieth conference, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. SAM President Judy Tsou welcomed everyone and asked any of the founding members of the Society in attendance to stand and be recognized, a request that was met with much standing and applauding. In her opening remarks, she reported on some of the good news from our SAM/2.0 Campaign, including our success in earning an NEH challenge grant (which means, she observed, we all have to step up to the challenge). Tsou announced the results of our recent election, welcoming new Members-at-Large Leta Miller and Sherrie Tucker, returning Secretary Neil Lerner, and President-Elect Charles Hiroshi Garrett.

After approving a motion from Michael Ochs (seconded by Michael Broyles) to approve the Minutes from the 2013 Annual Business Meeting, we then shifted to memorial tributes for two members who passed away during the previous year: Dena Epstein and Trebor Tichenor. Making her first report as Treasurer, Sabine Feisst shared the positive news on the financial report that was distributed at the meeting: our endowment income has led us to a surplus for 2013. Feisst also explained how President Tsou has revised our accounting procedures in order to create more line items and thereby give us a more detailed picture of our finances.

Mark Katz, the editor of the Journal for the Society for American Music, thanked the outgoing members of the editorial board (David Brackett, Carol Hess, Kim Kowalke, and Sherrie Tucker) along with the departing Recording Review Editor Juanita Karpf and Multimedia Review Editor Jessica Sternfeld; he then welcomed the incoming Recording Review Editor (Marta Robertson) and Multimedia Review Editor (Trudi Wright) as well as the incoming members of the Editorial Board: Danielle Fosler-Lussier, Jim Lovensheimer, Felicia Miyakawa, and Steve Swayne. Katz also thanked his editorial assistant, Will Robin, the Book Reviews Editor, John Koegel, and our outgoing liaison with Cambridge University Press, Melissa Good. Katz expressed particular pleasure and delight in welcoming the incoming editor, Karen Ahlquist. He announced two upcoming special issues (on 19th-century music and film music) and shared that there has been a robust stream of excellent submissions and that for each issue of 2014, there will be four instead of three articles. He ended what would be his final report as editor of JSAM with an encouragement for all of us to take advantage of the online accessibility to the journal afforded to us by Cambridge University Press.

Conference picture
The Banquet Floor at SAM

Next, the editor of the Bulletin, Laura Moore Pruett, announced that the Bulletin has now ceased print publication and will be accessible digitally through the SAM website. The online version may be downloaded as a PDF for those who may wish to print out their own hard copy of the Bulletin. She shared two recent changes decided upon by the Publications Council: first, that instead of compiling and publishing an index, there will be a search box added to the SAM website that will allow one to search the entire site, including all online issues of the Bulletin; and second, that there will no longer be a listing of conferences and calls for papers in the Bulletin, and instead she encouraged everyone to join the Sonneck listserv in order to get the most current and up-to-date announcements. She closed by inviting submissions and for potential book reviewers to contact the Book Reviews Editor of the Bulletin, Ryan Bañagale.

The chair of the Development Committee, bruce mcclung, brought to our attention more news of our successful SAM/2.0 Campaign, including the $38,379.00 raised during the first four days of the Lancaster conference. He graciously thanked the companies and individuals who donated incentive items in the raffle (Oxford University Press, University of Illinois Press, Indiana University Press, the Star Spangled Banner Foundation, and Mariana Whitmer) and especially the generous donations, pledges, and bequests that so many have already invested in the future of the society.

The chair of the Long Range Planning committee, Vice President Kay Norton, gave us an update on the strategic planning process that began in 2010 and that has already generated the 2011 membership survey and a town hall discussion at the Cincinnati conference. Norton explained the seven key initiatives that represent what we do and that will enable us to fulfill our mission: infrastructure, financial stability, research support, outreach, publication and communication, membership, and the conference. A draft of the strategic plan that contains these seven initiatives will be posted to the website, and there will be a post-conference survey from the Committee on the Conference to gather more input for possible new directions. The chair of the Public Relations committee, John Spilker, described some changes his committee is developing for the website, including the addition of more event photos and video from conferences. Most exciting was the announcement of an initiative from Vice President Norton to have a section of the website called “Hats Off” that would recognizing the work of those who were doing American music outreach across the country. The co-chairs of the Student Forum, Megan MacDonald and newly-elected co-chair Megan Murph, thanked outgoing co-chair Sarah Suhadolnik before relaying how they had had over 40 students at their business meeting, where they talked about several issues relevant to students. Next, Dana Gorzelany-Mostak and Dan Blim of the Forum for Early Career Professionals thanked outgoing co-chair Trudi Wright and described their meeting, which had around 30 in attendance. The chair of the Nominating Committee, William Everett, thanked the members of his committee and congratulated the newly elected officers. Speaking on behalf of the Membership Committee, Jessica Sternfeld and Trudi Wright encouraged SAM members to spread the good word about SAM to all potential new members before Wright was joined by Jonas Westover for a skit involving creative uses of bananas and role-playing of famous SAM luminaries.

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Ellen Taaffe Zwilich accepts her Honorary Membership Award

A lengthy round of applause greeted 2014 Local Arrangements Chair Douglas Bomberger, who thanked the many institutions and individuals who supported this year's conference. Speaking on behalf of 2014 Program Committee Chair Christopher Wilkinson was Dale Cockrell, who thanked the Program Committee for their work and shared that 147 papers had been accepted from the 313 submitted (an acceptance rate of 45%). Turning to future conferences, 2015 Local Arrangements Chair Beth Levy described some of the attractions awaiting us in Sacramento, and 2015 Program Committee Chair Leta Miller shared that the deadline for paper submissions would be June 1. She also noted that the committee will either accept or reject a full panel instead of potentially breaking it up by accepting only parts of it. Also, Miller announced that the seminar topics for 2015 would be “Childhood and American Music” and “Disability in Musical Theater.” Updating us on the work of the Conference Site Selection committee, Andrew Granade told us that the 2016 meeting will be in Boston and that for future years, if you’re asked to host, we hope you will agree to it.

President Tsou next thanked for their service a number of committee chairs whose terms were ending: James Deaville, Melissa de Graaf, William Everett, Larry Hamberlin, Richard Mook, Michael Ochs, Michael Pisani, Nancy Rao, Steve Swayne, Judith Tick, Lloyd Whitesell, Christopher Wilkinson, Graham Wood, and Trudi Wright. She next thanked the members of the Board who were rotating off as of this Business Meeting: Members-at-Large Renée Camus and Paul Machlin, and Past President Katherine Preston. All received a warm round of applause.

The meeting then turned to the announcing of several honors and awards from the Society. The Sight & Sound Subvention, presented by Will Cheng for committee chair Brian Thompson, goes to Iain Quinn for his project The Organ Works of Vincent Persichetti. On behalf of chair Lloyd Whitesell, Beth Levy presented the H. Earle Johnson Publication Subvention to two projects: Ryan Bañagale, Arranging Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue and the Creation of an American Icon (Oxford University Press), and Sherrie Rucker, Dance Floor Democracy: The Social Geography of Memory at the Hollywood Canteen (Duke University Press). Graham Wood, chair of the Cambridge University Press Award, announced that this year’s award to an international scholar who has written an outstanding paper for delivery at the conference goes to Mario Dunkel for “German Jazz Diplomacy in the Cold War Era.” Larry Hamberlin announced that the Mark Tucker Award for a student who has written an outstanding paper for delivery at the conference will go to Hannah Lewis for “Love Me Tonight (1932) and the Development of the Integrated Film Musical.”

The committee for the Wiley Housewright Dissertation Award, chaired by Nancy Rao, selected Glenda Goodman’s “American Identities in an Atlantic Musical World: Transhistorical Case Studies.” Judith Tick, chair of the Adrienne Fried Block Award, announced that Kate Galloway’s “From Cityscapes to Landscapes: Collaborations and Collisions between Natural and Built Environments in Hildegard Westerkamp’s Soundscape Compositions” was this year’s recipient. Steve Swayne presented the Irving Lowens Article Award to Mark Burford for his article “Sam Cooke as Pop Album Artist—A Reinvention in Three Songs.” The chair of the Irving Lowens Book Award, Patrick Warfield, recognized as runner-up Jeffrey Magee’s Irving Berlin’s American Musical Theater (Oxford University Press) before announcing that the winner was Beth Levy for Frontier Figures: American Music and the Mythology of the American West (University of California Press).

Treasurer’s Report—Calendar Year 2013
Submitted by Sabine Feisst, treasurer


Total Revenue from Dues:$52,115.00
Conference Revenue:$48,091.18
Conference Surplus (previous year):$4,700.00
Sales and Other Income:$13,898.18
Interest Earned on Endowment Funds:$47,529.78
TOTAL INCOME:$166,334.14


Management Expenses:$40,438.05
Publication Expenses:$31,345,07
Conference Expenses:$41,087.15
Awards & Subventions:$12,976.46
TOTAL EXPENSE:$125,846.73

TOTAL (gain/loss): $$40,487.41

Endowments (as of 12/31/13)
Principal: $572,646.01

We have three new fellowships this year. The Judith Tick Fellowship supports topics that have been the focus of Professor Tick’s distinguished career: women’s music-making across time and musical genres, musical biography, and source studies in American music. Gillian Rodger, reading on behalf of chair Melissa de Graaf, announced that the inaugural recipient of the Tick Fellowship would be Kendra Preston Leonard in support of her work on a scholarly edition of the complete solo vocal works of Louise Talma. The Hampsong Education Fellowship in American Song is awarded to SAM members to develop curricular or co-curricular projects that utilize materials from the Song of America database and Voices Across Time, as well as other sources in American song. Deane Root announced that the first recipient of this fellowship will be Marcella Calabi. The Virgil Thomson Fellowship supports research on the history, creation, and analysis of American music on stage and screen, including opera. Carol Oja presented the first Thomson Fellowship to Alice Miller Cotter for her project “John Adams’s Political Operas.”

Finally, Michael Ochs presented the Distinguished Service Award to Michael Broyles before posthumously presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to Pete Seeger, whose postcard accepting the award had been reproduced in the Conference Program. Immediately following this Business Meeting would be a celebration of the lives of Pete Seeger and Dena Epstein.

As we reached the New Business part of the agenda, nothing arose from the floor, but there was an announcement from President Tsou explaining that President-Elect Garrett has taken over the Committee on Committee Governance and that if anyone was interested in serving on a committee, they should contact him. Next R. Allan Lott and Dianne Eiland playfully promoted the Silent Auction with a skit about the variety of Sonneck and SAM ephemera that could be bid on and purchased in support of student travel funds, including magical boas, tiaras, wands, and rose-tinted glasses deployed by a range of past and future SAM presidents. In seeming unison, everyone in the room moved for adjournment, and most of us then offered a second; with everyone in favor, President Tsou adjourned the meeting at 5:33.

Conference picture
The SAM Band jams

Award and Interest Group Reports
The Judith Tick Fellowship committee was delighted to receive and review many outstanding proposals this inaugural year. We were impressed by the very high quality of a number of these proposals, which made our task both challenging and extremely rewarding. There were a number of projects we wished we could fund. After careful consideration, our committee unanimously selected Kendra Preston Leonard as the first recipient of the Judith Tick Fellowship. Her proposal, for support of her work on a scholarly edition of the complete solo vocal works by Louise Talma, impressed us all very much. Many of Talma’s songs are currently available only in manuscript. The end result of this project will make her vocal works widely available and will offer musicologists, performers, and audiences original and compelling settings of American, English, and French poetry and prose. Talma’s earlier songs are frequently autobiographical. This project therefore also invites us to hear Talma’s musical interpretation of events in her life—as Preston Leonard notes, “a kind of musical life-writing.” The committee believes that this project has significant value and practical implications for performers and scholars alike and will promote a wider knowledge and appreciation of the life and works of this important American composer.
   Melissa de Graaf

At the annual meeting in Lancaster, the Society was pleased to announce the winner of the 2012 Irving Lowens Book Award. The Lowens committee (Scott DeVeaux, Rob Haskins, Leonora Saavedra, Larry Stempel, and Patrick Warfield, chair) received forty-six submissions from nineteen different publishers in the United States and abroad. From this impressive selection, the committee recognized two books.

The first, as runner-up, is a study of a Russian immigrant who donned a “Top Hat, White Tie and Tails,” began “Reaching for the Moon,” and was soon puttin’ on the hits: Jeffrey Magee’s Irving Berlin’s American Musical Theater (Oxford University Press). This study shows how one prolific songwriter impacted the most important sites of American musical entertainment from Tin Pan Alley to Broadway to Hollywood. The committee was struck by Magee’s superb use of archival research, which allowed him to create a thought-provoking reassessment of popular song, the constraints of collaboration, Broadway, and Hollywood.

Conference picture
Good friends at SAM

The winner of the 2012 Lowens book award is a remarkable musical road trip that exposes the souvenirs and simulacra of the American west by examining sheet music, radio, and cinema. The author explains that her topic lies at the crossroad of a musical frontier, a crossroad that was opened by American composers’ search for a national identity, pioneered by those seeking the roots of the American character, and enacted by those who celebrated the West’s potential for colorful and commercial exchange. The radio station that plays throughout this road trip returns repeatedly to the Dvořák debate, Turner’s frontier thesis, and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show to demonstrate how American composers wrestled with technology, political shifts, demographic change, and aesthetic revolution. Through the music of Arthur Farwell, Charles Wakefield Cadman, Lucas Foss, Virgil Thomson, Roy Harris, and Aaron Copland, the author shows how we hear a sometimes idealized, sometimes exaggerated, and very often stereotyped soundtrack of Manifest Destiny. Members of the committee described the prose with single words like “superb,” “fabulous,” and even, “riveting,” and they acknowledged that the author never shied away from the fundamental issues of cultural exchange or the uncomfortable moral weight of the American empire. In short, this book gracefully and directly challenges the ways in which we imagine both the American west and the American music it has inspired. The winner of the 2012 Irving Lowen’s book award is Beth E. Levy’s Frontier Figures: American Music and the Mythology of the American West (University of California Press).

Report of the SAM Honors and Awards Committee
Distinguished Service Citation: Michael Broyles

Michael Broyles commands respect and admiration as a scholar and colleague who has been serving American music and the Society for American Music with great distinction for decades. A recognized authority of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century music, he has given us pathbreaking scholarship illuminated by his passion for music as art and as cultural history. He brings expertise and integrity to his leadership roles as well. Within SAM, Michael served as chair of the Lowens Book Award Committee, as program chair of our national conference in 1999, and as the organization’s president, 2005–07. We are grateful to him for his wide-ranging devotion to our field and our Society.

The plaque bestowed to Michael at the meeting included the following citation: “The Society for American Music Distinguished Service Citation is awarded to Michael Broyles in recognition of his many outstanding contributions as a scholar of American music and his exemplary service to the Society.”

Lifetime Achievement Award for 2014: Pete Seeger
Over three quarters of a century, Pete Seeger has built a towering career in the American folk music scene, both through his singing and through the social causes he championed. His accomplishments are so numerous that trying to enumerate them all would be futile. Early on he worked with Alan Lomax at the Library of Congress’s Archive of American Folk Song. He cofounded the Almanac Singers, which promoted unionization and other progressive causes. He performed with the group at the White House in 1941 and returned there 68 years later to sing for President Barack Obama at his inaugural concert. In between and since, he wrote, cowrote, or contributed to many hundreds of songs, including “Talking Union,” “If I Had a Hammer,” “Kisses Sweeter than Wine,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” while suffering years of blacklisting by media outlets. In 1966 he and his wife, Toshi Seeger, founded The Hudson River Clearwater, an organization dedicated to environmental cleanup, and in 2012, at the age of 93, he released “God’s Counting on Me, God’s Counting on You (Sloop Mix)” following the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Over his remarkable lifetime he has sung thousands of songs and issued over 100 recorded albums, and his songs have been covered by innumerable artists. In 1994 he was a Kennedy Center honoree. No one in the annals of American folk music has reached such a peak of influence and importance.

The plaque posthumously bestowed to Pete included the following citation: “The Society for American Music Lifetime Achievement Award is given to Pete Seeger in recognition of his towering and multifaceted achievements in furthering progressive causes through his timeless songs, unforgettable performances, and selfless acts of character.”

Committee members: Marva Griffin Carter, Susan Cook, George Ferencz, Judith Tick, and Michael Ochs, chair

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From the President

Judy Tsou, President of SAM
Judy Tsou, SAM President

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

The 40th annual conference of the Society in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was a smashing success, due, in large part, to the hard work and leadership of Doug Bomberger (Local Arrangements Chair), Chris Wilkinson (program chair), Joice Gibson (Associate Conference Manager), and Mariana Whitmer (Executive Director). The Opening Reception, sponsored by Elizabethtown College, was attended by several local dignitaries: Mayor Rick Gray of Lancaster and Fletcher McClellan, the Dean of Faculty at Elizabethtown College.

The Opening Reception also kicked off the 40th anniversary meeting celebration. John Graziano, a founding member, delivered a short and intriguing history of the Society’s beginnings. The founding members were recognized at the Society’s Business Meeting. And at the banquet, two other founding members, Raoul Camus and Cynthia Hoover, delivered toasts with the Benjamin Franklin shrub made by Camus. Other founding members helped pick winners for our SAM/2.0 raffles. The celebration culminated in a group photograph of the founding members around a cake with founder Oscar Sonneck’s likeness on it.

Founding Members Banquet
Founding Members Banquet March 2014

The Program Committee (chair Chris Wilkinson, members Dale Cockrell, Tracy Laird, Leta Miller, Sherrie Tucker, and Graham Wood) did a wonderful job in selecting a program that included papers on diverse genres: Native American flute music, jazz, hip hop, country, gamelan music in the U.S., 19th-century parlor songs, and American art music, among many other genres. There were papers that were beyond genres, on religion, race, gender, classroom and technology, and the canon. All in all, it was an extremely rich program, and I have heard numerous positive comments on the program specifically and on the conference as a whole.

The Local Arrangements Committee did a marvelous job welcoming us to Lancaster. Other than showing us their local history and musical traditions in the Friday afternoon tours, there were also presentations of local Pennsylvanian music and history. The LAC members went beyond the call of duty and took care of the conference attendees by running a shuttle to the train station and airport at the end of the conference. They even went to Philadelphia to pick up the Honorary Member! In addition, they did a lot of fundraising to keep the conference expenses low. The opening reception was hosted by Elizabethtown College, and the Student Forum lunch was supported by Franklin and Marshall College and Lebanon Valley College. Thanks to all!

This year’s Honorary Member is Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. The Honorary Ceremony, on Friday, consisted of a short introductory talk by Denise von Glahn, followed by a concert of Zwilich’s compositions, performed by faculty members of Elizabethtown College and supported by The Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy. The session ended with a talk by Zwilich herself about her compositions, and she introduced us to an upcoming recording of her beautiful Quintet. We presented a plaque to Zwilich, which included the citation, “In recognition of your inestimable contributions to American culture through your compositions, your teaching, your advocacy, and your quiet championing of music and musicians across the nation.” The ceremony was topped off by a small luncheon given in Zwilich’s honor; it allowed our members to have a closer interaction and conversation with her.

This year’s Distinguished Service Award went to former president of the Society Michael Broyles. The Lifetime Achievement Award went to folk singer and activist Pete Seeger. Seeger accepted the award in September 2013; unfortunately, he passed away in January. Gregory Reisch and other members organized a celebration of his life (and that of Dena Epstein, a longtime member of the Society who also passed away this year) during the conference.

The SAM/2.0 Campaign was publicly launched a year ago at the Little Rock meeting. At the Lancaster meeting, the Development Committee, under the able leadership of bruce mcclung, raised an unprecedented $40,000; the campaign total now stands at just under $740,000. Congratulations! The campaign had a raffle during the conference with excellent donated prizes: A set of Grove Dictionary of American Music from Oxford University Press, a week at our Executive Director’s condo in Florida, $150 worth of books each from Indiana University Press and University of Illinois Press, and several CDs from the Star Spangled Music Foundation. Thank you! For more detail about the campaign, see bruce mcclung’s article elsewhere in this Bulletin.

Due to the successful campaign, three new fellowships were given out this year. The Judith Tick Fellowship that supports research in women’s music across time and musical genres went to Kendra Leonard Preston, who will be writing a biography on Louise Talma. The Hampsong Education Fellowship in American song “to help students and the general public understand American history and culture through the medium of song, by developing curricular or co-curricular projects,” went to Marcella Calabi, who will “research and perform the song repertory appropriate to an urban American home during the first half of the nineteenth century.” And the Virgil Thomson Fellowship, which supports research “on the history, creation, and analysis of American music on stage and screen, including opera,” went to Alice Miller Cotter, who is researching John Adams’s political operas. Next year, we will have at least one more new research fellowship: The John and Roberta Graziano Fellowship to support research in 19th-century American music. Stay tuned for more details.

On other fronts, Kay Norton, our vice-president, is working hard on our long-range plan. We have revised our Mission Statement, which included a statement to accommodate impairments. You will be able to vote on it along with your dues renewal later this year. Norton will conduct LRPC meetings, virtual and in person, during the year, and she will be reporting on the progress.

Judy Tsou

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Interest Groups and Committee News

Discussions on Personal and Professional Balance
Jeffrey Wright and John D. Spilker
The Forum for Early Career Professionals had a productive meeting and group dinner on Friday evening in Lancaster. As a group, we voted to donate as a group to support the Wayne Shirley Fund, in recognition of the breadth of his wisdom, support, and encouragement many of us have felt. We then discussed the various skills that are needed for success in the many jobs members hold, and strategized how we might better develop and market them. We also brainstormed ways to reach out to new members and reflect the inclusive mission of the group. Finally, we elected Dan Blim as the incoming co-chair; John Spilker and Dana Gorzelany-Mostak continue to serve. The FECP thanks Trudi Wright for her work over the past two years!

Forum for Early Career Professionals
This year at our national meeting, the Forum for Early Career Professionals (FECP) sought to begin a conversation on the realities of balancing personal lives with the rigors of demanding professions that may or may not be located in higher education. Although we commonly discuss balance in terms of teaching, publishing, and service, the FECP sought to expand the conversation by providing a safe space for asking questions and sharing human experiences in an effort to create sustainable and enriching lives.

The session featured two panelists (Jeff Wright and Nathan Platte) who gave brief remarks on their personal struggles and strategies for maintaining balance in their lives. The panel was originally supposed to have three speakers but in an unfortunate but germane turn of events, Susan Key could not attend the conference because of personal matters. Platte dedicated the majority of his remarks to balancing the requirements of a research institution with the needs of a family. Wright, on the other hand, focused on the challenges of balancing academic administration on top of the other demands of junior faculty, addressing the misplaced notion that those without families of their own have an excess of time and are often asked to take on additional tasks.

The heart of the session came after the panelists’ remarks, however, when those in attendance split into small groups to continue the discussion. Within these groups, participants discussed the disruptive nature of mobility required at the beginning of one’s career, the fear of letting down an advisor if one pursues a career outside of the academy, and the difficulty of creating a sense of community at a new workplace and within a new city. Groups also offered personal strategies on time management, shared alternative narratives of success, and emphasized that those we often idolize professionally have acquired their success over many years; it is important to realize a career is not made in a day, month, or year. Therefore, balance is not only a daily or monthly pursuit, but extends over one’s entire lifespan.

Issues of career and personal balance are not relegated to one profession, one gender, one race, or one age group. A balanced life needs constant recalibration and new approaches. As such it is important to continue these important conversations. We glean support and learn from our colleagues by bravely sharing our experiences. Although dedicated to the concerns of those in the beginning stages of their career, the FECP welcomes everyone to our conference panels and invites opportunities for mentorship, support, and community.

The Top 10 Ways YOU Can Help to Grow SAM’s Membership
Jane Ferencz, Jessica Getman, Jessica Sternfeld, and Trudi Wright (members of the Membership Committee)

  1. Tell your grad students (or, if you are a grad student, your grad student pals) all about SAM.
  2. Talk about SAM when you’re at other conferences.
  3. Wear a big, sparkly “ASK ME ABOUT SAM!” sticker or pin at other conferences you attend!
  4. Volunteer to help staff a SAM table at other conferences, while wearing your big, sparkly “ASK ME ABOUT SAM!” sicker or pin.
  5. Talk up the great SAM conference with its relaxed atmosphere, excellent scholarship, and fun, good-looking colleagues to anyone who will listen.
  6. Tell people about the silent auction to raise money for graduate student travel. It is a great way to give your unused books and scores a new home, while supporting a great cause.
  7. Invite non-musicologists and/or non-academics in fields related to American music, since they will likely find it stimulating and, possibly, helpful in their position. (Editors, music execs, historians, anthropologists, etc.)
  8. Encourage your students to submit papers to the SAM Conference.
  9. Volunteer to be a phone caller during the membership committee’s first annual phone drive.
  10. Be yourself. YOU are part of what makes SAM so great.

Student Forum

The Student Forum had a great conference this year in Lancaster! Thanks also to everyone who donated, volunteered, and bid on items in the Silent Auction, and to the Executive Board and the various senior scholars who sponsored subsidized student tickets for this year’s Banquet. We hope you enjoyed getting to know us as much as we enjoyed the opportunity to get to know you in a more informal setting. We’d like to give our enthusiastic thanks to Sarah Suhadolnik, and welcome Megan Murph as the incoming co-chair. If you would like to get involved in student happenings for next year’s conference, feel free to contact co-chairs Megan MacDonald ( or Megan Murph ( We invite all students to join our Facebook group, "Society for American Music Student Forum," and to sign up for the Student Forum listserv through the Society for American Music website to keep up to date on the latest news for SAM students. Looking forward to seeing you all next year in Sacramento!

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Journal of the Society for American Music

Volume 8, Number 2 (May 2014)
Special Issue on Musical Women in Nineteenth-Century America

Katherine K. Preston and Mark Katz, co-editors


American Musical Life Before 1900
Katherine K. Preston

My Business is to Sing”: Emily Dickinson’s Musical Borrowings
George Boziwick

Rosa de Vries: A Dutch Diva and Transatlantic Operatic Culture
Helen Metzelaar

Augusta Browne: A Nineteenth-Century Life in American Music
Bonny Hough Miller

“A Joyous Star-Spangled-Bannerism”: Emma Juch, Opera in English Translation, and the American Cultural Landscape in the Gilded Age
Kristen M. Turner


Candace Bailey, Music and the Southern Belle: From Accomplished Lady to Confederate Composer
Jewel A. Smith, Music, Women, and Pianos in Antebellum Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: The Moravian Young Ladies’ Seminary
Yael Bitrán Goren

David Moritz Michael, David Moritz Michael: Complete Wind Chamber Music, ed. Nola Reed Knouse
Laurie J. Sampsel
Christian McWhirter, Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War
Harry H. Hall, A Johnny Reb Band from Salem: The Pride of Tarheelia
Kenneth Kreitner

Geoffrey Baker, Imposing Harmony: Music and Society in Colonial Cuzco
D. R. M. Irving, Colonial Counterpoint: Music in Early Modern Manila
Timothy D. Watkins

The Chestnut Brass Company and Friends, The Music of Francis Johnson and His Contemporaries: Early 19th-Century Black Composers
Earnest Lamb

The American Brass Quintet Brass Band, A Storm in the Land: Music of the 26th N.C. Regimental Band, CSA
The American Brass Quintet Brass Band, Cheer, Boys, Cheer! Music of the 26th N.C. Regimental Band, CSA
Jim Davis

Noel Lester, Piano Portraits from 19th-Century America
Maria Ferrente and Lincoln Mayorga, Best Kept Secrets: A Treasury of Passionate American Song
Candace Bailey

The Music of William C. Wright: Solo Piano and Vocal Works, 1847–1893
Marian Wilson Kimber

Points of Access to Digitized Historical Newspapers
Maribeth Clark

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JSAM and SAM Bulletin Reviewers Needed

The Journal of the Society for American Music and the SAM Bulletin are always seeking reviewers for books, recordings, and multimedia publications. If you are interested in serving as a reviewer for either publication, please send your name, email address, and areas of expertise to Katherine Preston, Chair of the SAM Publications Committee, at

Calling All Multi-Media Reviewers!
Do you use any scholarly databases, websites, DVDs or other multi-media items in your research or teaching that would be of interest to our SAM community? Please share your findings in a multi-media review for JSAM! Also, if you are interested in writing a review, but do not have a particular multi-media item in mind, we have opportunities for you too! Please contact JSAM’s multi-media editor, Trudi Wright, at for more information.

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New Members

The Society is pleased to welcome these new members:

Lee Martin, Toledo, OH
Daniel Kerlee, Seattle, WA
Jeffrey Gemmell, Landisville, PA
Nicholas Rinner, Placentia, CA
Anoosua Mukherjee, New York, NY
William McNally, Rego Park, NY
Jacob Somers, Hobart, IN
Riccardo La Spina, Castro Valley, CA
Eric Davis, Los Angeles, CA
Randy Drake, La Crescenta, CA
Derek Katz, Goleta, CA
Allison Martin, Bowie, MD
Nathan Miller, Lexington, KY
Emilio Audissino, Southampton, UNITED KINGDOM
Jada Watson, Ottawa, ON, CANADA
Christopher Johnson-Roberson, Providence, RI
Brandon Robinson, Nashville, TN
Sarah Tomlinson, Skaneateles, NY
Kari Medina, Seattle, WA
Mike Esfahani, Irvine, CA
Richard Miller, New York, NY
Marcella Calabi, New York, NY
William Lee, Hixson, TN
James MacDonald, Chicago, IL
Laurel Zucker, Gig Harbor, WA
Iain Quinn, Tallahassee, FL
Alexander Stein, Hoboken, NJ
Garrett L. Johnson, Tempe, AZ
Philip Siblo-Landsman, Buffalo, NY
Sean Nye, Los Angeles, CA
Jamie Blake, Provo, UT
Edward Landin, Philadelphia, PA
Nicholas Stevens, Cleveland, OH
Joanna Bosse, East Lansing, MI
Brian Tuttle, Waterville, NY
Erin Sheedy, Ottawa, ON, CANADA
Mario Dunkel, Dortmond, GERMANY
Del-Louise Moyer, Bethlehem, PA
Peter Graff, Cleveland Heights, OH
Dustin Mallory, Norristown, PA
Daniel Weaver, Elmira, NY
Carol Shansky, Tenafly, NJ
Barbara Quilliam, Broomfield, CO
James R. Bomberger, Harrisonburg, VA
Melanie Green, Morgantown, WV
Saesha Senger, Lexington, KY
Victor Carvellas, Fremont, CA
Joel Roberts, Memphis, TN
Nicholas Gebhardt, Lancaster, Lancashire, UNITED KINGDOM
Sarah E. Bereza, Durham, NC
John Pymm, Rowley Regis, West Midlands, UNITED KINGDOM
Michele Jelley, Maplewood, NJ
Sarah Clemmens Waltz, Stockton, CA
Molly Barnes, Chapel Hill, NC
Alex Lawler, The Woodlands, TX
Trevor Nelson, East Lansing, MI
Michael Levi, Troy, NY
Marianna Wilcox, Stonington, CT
Patrick Rivers, Brooklyn, NY
Jessica Rudman, Brooklyn, NY
Francisco Javier Albo, Atlanta, GA
Elizabeth Morgan, Media, PA
Olivia Lucas, Cambridge, MA
Michael Kennedy, Cincinnati, OH
Mimi Haddon, Montreal, QC, CANADA
Stephanie Doktor, Charlottesville, VA
Lana Tyson, Ithaca, NY
Abigail Chaplin-Kyzer, Corinth, TX
Kate Sutton, Tallahassee, FL
Christopher Smith, South Lyon, MI
Alexandra Hill, Morgantown, WV
Karl Hagstrom Miller, Austin, TX
Bethany McLemore, Austin, TX
Elizabeth Rosner, Riverside, RI
Giovanni Chiriaco, Lecce, ITALY
Ryan Harper, Princeton, NJ
Leslie Simmons, Greensboro, NC
Brad Rohrer, Tallahassee, FL
Rebecca Crow Lister, Lebanon, PA
Erich Nunn, Atlanta, GA
Elaine Hayes, Redmond, WA
Alexia Smith, Lexington, VA
Tim Storhoff, Tallahassee, FL
Lytton McDonnell, New Brunswick, NJ
Sarah Kolat, Seattle, WA
Joel Hunt, Rochester, NY
Kristin J. Lieb, Boston, MA
Sarah J. Eyerly, Tallahassee, FL
Steven Lewis, Charlottesville, VA
Rachel Kelly, Somerville, MA
Karen Claman, Queens, NY
Micah Wittmer, Cambridge, MA
Nicole Robinson, Tallahassee, FL
Brigid Cohen, New York, NY
Gregory Barnett, Houston, TX
Jacques Vest, Ypsilanti, MI
Erinn Knyt, Amherst, MA
Scott Swan, Jacksonville, FL
Erin Bauer, Pomona, CA
Heather Paudler, Onalaska, WI
Ann Linnea Zeiner, San Diego, CA
George Marie, Salt Lake City, UT
George Bozarth, Seattle, WA
Virginia Lamothe, Fairview, TN
Brian Casey, Boulder, CO
Christopher Culp, Buffalo, NY

The Society is also pleased to welcome our newest non-academic Affiliate Members: American Century Music and Pendragon Press! American Century Music is dedicated to celebrating the works of 20th-century American classical composers through performance and education. Critically acclaimed conductor Scott Parkman, who serves as Artistic and Executive Director, founded American Century Music in 2010. The organization collaborates with a wide array of artists, ensembles, and cultural institutions in the United States and abroad, and since its founding, American Century Music has performed over 70 works by American composers such as Amy Beach, Charles Griffes, Roy Harris, Walter Piston, David Diamond, Elliott Carter, and Philip Glass in repertoire ranging from solo instrument to full orchestra. Visit their website,, to read more and listen to their recordings on ACM Radio (which streams 24/7 and is accessed for free)!

Pendragon Press is a small academic press specialising in books on music, musicology, and music theory. Founded in 1972, Pendragon is located in Hillsdale, New York. Visit their website to learn more about how they acknowledge “The World of Music and the Music of the World,”

Like them both on Facebook!

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The Dozens: A History of Rap’s Mama, Elijah Wald, Oxford University Press, 2012. 244 pp. ISBN-978-0-19-989540-3. Cloth.
   Sandra Jean Graham

“Your ma behind is like a rumble seat. / It hang from her back down to her feet.”
“Your mother’s so old she dreams in reruns.”1

“Yo’ mama” jokes are probably the most potent signifier of the competitive insult ritual known as the dozens. And yet the dozens is a slippery genre that has eluded close understanding since John Dollard first cast a scholarly eye on the practice in 1939. Originally a spoken-word ritual of the street, it was incorporated over the decades into musical performance, stand-up comedy, and literature, subtly morphing to accommodate each new situation. Elijah Wald, in his compelling and enlightening history of this art form, alludes to its fluid identity at the very beginning of the book, with a “half-dozen” definitions from various sources that are themselves at best “half” complete (x–xi). He then proceeds to systematically expand on those definitions over the course of a dozen chapters. If at the end he cannot claim to have fully exhausted the “meanings, permutations, or limits” (200) of the dozens, he has nonetheless greatly illuminated the practice, leaving readers with a lucid framework for thinking about the dozens and for conducting further investigation.

Wald’s book is both a history and historiography of the dozens. It is structured chronologically, with each short chapter devoted to a specific manifestation of dozens performance. Chapter 1 surveys and interprets a range of definitions and provides generous examples of dozens insults that illustrate its diversity: cursing another person with direct insults, ritually insulting another’s mother and other relatives, challenging someone to physical combat. As Wald says, “one person’s insult was another’s comic masterpiece” (15), and the invective could be interpreted as threat or friendship. The difficulty of decoding a ritual with so many local permutations was magnified in the early twentieth century by the fact that the first researchers were cultural outsiders on several levels, being white, socioeconomically privileged, and male (which prevented recognition and representations of females playing the dozens). Censorship of obscene words for publication robbed the insults of their full force and obstructed interpretation. In keeping with prevailing research methods of the time, scholars relied on collection, believing that the insults would illuminate social behavior. But trying to explain the dozens through its artifacts, Wald writes, was like “trying to stick a collector’s pin through an elusive blend of verses, jibes, and banter that floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee” (3). (It is gratifying that a book devoted to linguistic dexterity is in the hands of an agile author.) In other words, valuable as verbal examples of the dozens may be, they mean little without an understanding of the context in which they are enacted—a theme that recurs in most of the remaining chapters.

Chapter 2 provides a brief overview of the wide-ranging theories that have been advanced to explain the etymology of “the dozen(s)” (as well as “the dirty dozen”), a term first recorded as applying to a ritual insult game in 1910. These range from the improbable (e.g., deriving from the Anglo-Scottish term “to dozen,” meaning to stun or stupefy) to the plausible (e.g., the early duels consisted of twelve rounds of insults). Predictably, the theories reveal more about the scholar’s academic perspective than offer evidence clarifying the early history of this orally transmitted practice, which is likely forever lost.

Chapters 3 and 4 are devoted to the earliest known musical expressions of the dozens and cover vaudeville and the blues, respectively. We learn in Chapter 3, for example, that Jelly Roll Morton claimed to have heard a song called “The Dirty Dozen” in New Orleans in 1908, which he recorded for the Library of Congress in 1938—although how accurately it replicated the version he had heard twenty years before will never be known. A 1914 article in the Indianapolis Freeman linking playing the dozens to blackface minstrelsy suggests that the dozens is outdated. The earliest known published song about the dozens was “Don’t Slip Me in the Dozen, Please,” which African American pianist and composer Chris Smith published in 1921 and recorded two years later with his vaudeville partner, Henry Troy. The lyrics constituted an instruction manual for playing the game, presumably aimed at the duo’s white patrons on vaudeville’s Keith circuit. These early examples were sanitized representations of vernacular dozens practice. Meanwhile folklorists were taking an interest in the dozens, but their efforts were hampered by uncertainty as to its actual meaning. When Newman I. White discovered a couplet about playing the dozen for his American Negro Folk-Songs, for example, he filed it under “gambling,” believing it referenced a dice game called “shooting the dozens”—although without context, it could just as easily refer to the insult ritual.

Chapter 4 is one of the strongest in the book, enriched by Wald’s deep background in the blues and popular music (his previous books include Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues and The Blues: A Very Short Introduction). There is a thorough treatment of Rufus “Speckled Red” Perryman’s recording “The Dirty Dozen” (1929), which spawned numerous versions by other artists. Wald finds resonances of the lyrics in folklore, a traditional spiritual and a parodic spiritual, an antebellum minstrel song, and a British nursery rhyme, demonstrating that “the dozens was always part of a larger world of signifying, arguing, teasing, joking, and versifying” (61). Did dozens-related blues emerge from an already-established tradition of vernacular insult rhyming, or did it reflect and influence that practice? “We can never know which came first,” answers Wald, “the buzzard or the egg” (61). Wald’s differentiation between the blues of backwater juke joints and the euphemism-laden commercial blues includes an enlightening etymological exploration of some popular dozens vocabulary (e.g., “booty,” “cock”).

Literary representations of the dozens is the focus of Chapter 5, which offers examples culled from the verse and prose of Rudolph Fisher, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Chester Himes, and Langston Hughes. African American writers presented dozens performance as a form of social (and personal) commentary as well as an insider’s wink to readers in the know. Despite censorship these are captivating depictions—especially the exchange in Wright’s Lawd Today (written in the mid-1930s but published in 1963)—because in supplying context they reveal the relationships between the dozens players, if even they are idealized.

The focus on relationship is extended in Chapters 6 and 7, “Studying the Street” and “The Martial Art of Rhyming.” Both of these chapters stress the performative aspects of the dozens, which in one moment can be “a way of hanging out and killing time” and in the next “deadly serious” (99). After Dollard’s 1939 article—which Wald characterizes as “a kind of Galapagos Island of dozens scholarship” (82)—research on the dozens dwindled until folklorists such as Roger D. Abrahams and linguists such as William Labov resuscitated it in the 1960s. Even though multiple disciplinary perspectives opened new paths to understanding the dozens, individual projects remained hampered by disciplinary bias—which governed, for example, whether the focus was on “typical” street play or displays of comic virtuosity. In any case, researchers chose examples of insults for publication from countless hours of recording; in highlighting what they deemed the most “impressive” material, they tacitly offered it as representative practice. But the dozens was, and remains, a performance genre involving not only insults (both virtuosic and mediocre) but also gesture, intonation, voice change, rhythm, performance flow, and audience reaction, all of which are difficult to capture in print.

In Chapters 8–10, Wald situates the dozens in ritual insult traditions outside of African American vernacular life. Chapter 8 is a comparative survey of other competitive verbal dueling traditions from around the world and throughout history. (It turns out there are multitudes.) Chapter 9 focuses on Africa, where insult rituals seem to have the closest parallel to African American traditions. West African insult practices in particular “have produced myriad and varied echoes” (146) in the diaspora, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean. These echoes resist easy unpacking, however, since they have converged with or been influenced by colonial customs. Chapter 10 returns to the United States to compare how the dozens influenced white youth as they were appropriating the music, dress, language, and attitudes of 1960s soul culture. Wald gives examples of the ways in which whites mirrored black joking styles and, in the process, altered the style and content. He notes that conclusive differentiation awaits “a serious historical insult mapping of the United States” and laments that “by now it may well be too late” to sort it out, since the dozens has become a mass media phenomenon (166).

Chapter 11 attempts to explain why people play the dozens. By this point in the book it is clear that there is no unified theory or definition of this ritual. Wald briefly surveys explanations that others have offered (e.g., a puberty ritual, training in self-control) but remains ambivalent about the value of such scholarly assessments: “Teenagers enjoy talking shit in a large part because it shocks and annoys their elders, so when adult critics attack the dozens they are just playing their designated role in the performance, and when they applaud it they just sound like grown-ups trying to be hip” (180). Despite the truth in this statement, it sounds a rare note of exasperation—which is forgivable for someone tackling a genre that one writer (A. J. Liebling) defined as “on the one hand this and on the other hand that” (180). I found this the least satisfying chapter and felt that its content could have been worked into other chapters, although that would have robbed the book of its structural wit.

Chapter 12 concludes the book by examining the influence of the dozens on another art form that prizes spoken word virtuosity: rap. Wald finds the dozens influence strongest not in rap’s lyrical style but in its model of verbal combat (187), particularly freestyle rap battles. Wald doubts that the inclusion of dozens couplets into gangsta verses (like the King Tee verse quoted at the beginning of this review) is the result of the dozens, however. In fact, the proliferation of mass-mediated cousins of the dozens (e.g., joke books containing dozens verses such as the Snaps books and subsequent TV show, MTV’s trash-talking Yo Mamma competition show, and countless YouTube videos in which young people display their [decontextualized] rhyming skills) have hopelessly obscured the genealogy, making it impossible to determine direction(s) of influence. Meanwhile, observes Wald, there seem to be no heirs to Labov and Thomas Kochman’s work of the 1960s and 1970s, who might study freestyling “as a normal form of interaction between ordinary teenagers” (198).

This fascinating book left me feeling wistful. If only Victorian prudishness had not mandated the censorship of the earliest dozens-related song lyrics. If only social historians had recognized the importance of vernacular culture earlier—in all its glory and obscenity! If only refined society had not regarded the dozens as further proof of black savagery. If only the pioneering scholars, valuable though their work remains, had approached their research with an ethnographer’s methodology and a performance studies mindset. These longings are the cumulative result of the many contingencies that emerge from Wald’s attempt to construct history from fragmentary evidence. They are also a testament to Wald’s ability to convey a deep appreciation of the dozens and demonstrate his commitment to a careful history, evident on every page.

The Dozens is a pleasure to read from front to back, and Wald’s vast knowledge of blues repertory allows him to make connections between songs themselves and between blues and other genres that employ the dozens. The many quotations from dozens exchanges make for colorful reading (Wald himself censors nothing), Wald’s prose is consistently entertaining, the pace is brisk without sacrificing detail, and the breadth of sources ensures that every reader will come away with new information. The level is suitable for undergraduates, scholars, and the general public, and the book in whole or in part would be a worthy addition to college courses on popular music, Africana studies, literature, folklore, and performance studies, and even graduate courses on research methodology. No technical knowledge of music is required to appreciate the content.

There are minor quibbles with any book, and this is no different. The reductive subtitle, “A History of Rap’s Mama,” counters Wald’s argument that the dozens is so much more than mama jokes. Wald mentions the Snaps book of comedy four times before finally explaining what it is in the last chapter. The wonderful cover photograph gets a photographer credit, but I could find no explanation of its relation to the topic of the book. All of these objections (except the subtitle) evaporate in the face of Wald’s major accomplishment: a deft and substantive synthesis of dozens scholarship. In framing the dozens as performance within the larger worlds of verbal art and combat, Wald transforms its historic image as an aberrant underclass behavior into a complex social ritual embedded in African American culture and analogous to a multitude of insult rituals worldwide.

1 Quoted in Wald, pp. 83 and 187. The couplet was originally printed in John Dollard, “The Dozens: Dialectic of Insult,” American Imago 1, no. 1 (1939): 7; the second insult appeared on King Tee’s recording “Baggin’ on Moms,” Act a Fool, Capitol Records, 1988.

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Elliott Carter, James Wierzbicki, University of Illinois Press, 2011. 136pp. ISBN-978-0-252-07800-2. Paper.
Elliott Carter’s What Next?: Communication, Cooperation, and Separation, Guy Capuzzo, University of Rochester Press, 2012. 204pp. ISBN- 978-1-580-46419-2. Cloth.
   Daniel Guberman

Scholarship examining Elliott Carter’s career has rapidly expanded in recent years. This growth began with multiple publications celebrating his one-hundredth birthday in 2008, accelerated through his death in 2012, and has no sign of abating. For much of his career, Carter was skeptical of both musicologists and music theorists, who he thought missed the communicative aspects of his compositions, and were interested in pigeonholing him into categories and labels. As such, both books under consideration are firsts. James Wierzbicki’s Elliott Carter is the first English-language biography of the composer. Guy Capuzzo’s What Next? is the first monograph to explore a single piece, a surprising fact, considering that Carter gained a reputation for writing large complex works that place incredible demands on performers and listeners. Both of these scholars recognize their position at the forefront of a burgeoning scholarly community, and use their tomes to promote future scholarship. Despite these similarities, the two publications come from opposite ends of the scholarly spectrum. They reflect Carter’s own fan base, initially comprised primarily of professional musicians, composers, and theorists; and later, a vast unidentifiable public that bought his recordings in surprisingly large quantities for a contemporary American composer.

Discussions concerning a Carter biography first arose in the 1970s between Carter and William Glock, one of the composer’s champions in Great Britain. The two, however, struggled to find an author. After multiple false starts they engaged David Schiff, one of Carter’s most promising students. Schiff’s book, The Music of Elliott Carter (Da Capo, 1983), was not so much a biography as an introduction to all of Carter’s compositions. He outlined approaches to analyzing each piece using language and methods that seemed part Schiff’s and part Carter’s, often blurring the line between their individual thoughts. In the second edition, Schiff moved even further away from a biography by organizing his discussion by genre, instead of chronologically.1

Three decades after these initial attempts, an English-language biography has arrived in Wierzbicki’s Elliott Carter, part of the American Composers series by the University of Illinois Press. As expected of books in the series, this biography is short (less than one page of text per year of Carter’s life), and it is designed for general audiences (i.e. no musical examples). Working within these limitations, Wierzbicki’s biography has material to interest a wide range of audiences. For fans of his music, both new and old, Wierzbicki delivers an engaging account of Carter’s life that provides context for the different phases in his compositional career. Even for scholars, some of whom have been engaged with Carter’s music for many decades, Wierzbicki’s work sheds new light on Carter’s education and his philosophy of time and temporality that permeates many of his compositions.

Wierzbicki takes a fairly traditional biographical approach, dividing Carter’s career into four chapters. The first covers his “Foundations” from childhood and early career through the Second World War. The second chapter focuses on “Three Seminal Works,” the Piano Sonata, Cello Sonata, and String Quartet No. 1, all composed between 1945 and 1951. Wierzbicki details why different writers have pointed to each of these pieces as delineating a change in Carter’s compositional style. The third chapter, “Maturity,” covers the span from 1950 to 1980, when Carter composed the series of large works that Richard Taruskin describes as “absurdly overcomposed monstrosities” (quoted in Wierzbicki, 98). These large and complex works ensured Carter’s position in America’s cultural pantheon with his two Pulitzer Prizes (1960 and 1973), among a host of other awards and honors. The fourth and final chapter, “New Directions,” covers Carter’s most prolific period from 1980 to 2010 (the time of publication). As we have begun to see in the writings of theorists such as J. Daniel Jenkins and Guy Capuzzo (considered below), future biographies will probably divide this period of extraordinary activity in half (roughly 1980–1995 and 1995–2012).2

Many of Wierzbicki’s most fascinating insights result from a focus on Carter’s education, and the application of lessons from this education to his philosophy of time in both his mature compositions and his writings. For a long time, scholars have accepted Carter’s narrative regarding his experience at Harvard, in which he claimed to have taken the advice of Charles Ives, and refused to study music as an undergraduate because of the conservatism of Harvard’s faculty. Wierzbicki proposes, instead, that the Harvard music department’s “rigorous demands were simply over Carter’s head” (13). Wierzbicki builds on the observation by Felix Meyer and Anne Shreffler that “the bulk of [Carter’s] musical training took place initially at the Longy School of Music” (14). He re-examines a wide variety of other sources, and produces a dramatic revision of Carter’s early education and training at the Longy School. Wierzbicki’s focus on Carter’s undergraduate education outside the Harvard music department draws important connections between the teachings of Alfred North Whitehead, one of Carter’s philosophy professors, and Carter’s discussions of time and music from the 1950s through the 1970s. Carter’s humanist education was unlike that of post-World War II American Universities, and this new focus may change our understanding of Carter’s musical thought.

Wierzbicki’s biography is particularly successful in distilling a wide range of existing scholarship and sources; however, he does not seem to have interviewed Carter himself. He also does not engage with the large amount of primary materials held by the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basel, Switzerland. His close readings of documents reprinted by Shreffler and Meyer, suggest the possibility of profound insights had he accessed the thousands of other documents in the archive.3

Guy Capuzzo’s What Next? offers an altogether different approach to the study of Carter and his music by focusing on a single work. Carter’s 1997 opera, with a libretto by Paul Griffiths, depicts the interactions of six characters struggling with memory loss in the aftermath of a car crash. Capuzzo relies on a variety of analytical approaches in his study of Carter’s first and only opera. Capuzzo’s analysis is theoretically dense at times. Despite claiming that he only assumes “a knowledge of the rudiments of posttonal music theory” (2), there are many places where such a reader may struggle to follow. That said, Capuzzo’s writing is quite accessible, and even elegant, once one grasps the terminology and abbreviations (pages xi–xiv are a guide to symbols, abbreviations, terminology, and locutions). Capuzzo states from the start that he expects his readers to have a recording and score, but the book is filled with well-constructed figures that satisfy most needs with regard to a score. References to the details of the recordings are rare, although he does briefly mention differences between the available CD and DVD productions. For a reader looking for an entrée into Carter’s music on a deeper level than found in Schiff’s overviews, this would be an excellent start. Capuzzo successfully ties his close reading of the details of What Next? to a broader understanding of Carter’s music.

Capuzzo’s study is divided into two large sections. The first section includes two chapters that give an overview of important elements for studying both this opera and Carter’s music more broadly. The first chapter begins with a discussion of Carter’s vocal music, which he wrote in spurts, sometimes waiting decades between pieces. Capuzzo then describes the general structure of the opera, its plot, and the characters, drawing on statements by both Carter and Griffiths. He makes numerous connections with Carter’s construction of multiple characters in the Second String Quartet (1959). When read in parallel, Wierzbicki’s discussion of Carter’s mature philosophy around this quartet complements Capuzzo’s discussions of Carter’s narrative construction. The first chapter concludes with an outline of Capuzzo’s approach to literary analysis, including his conceptions of communication, cooperation, and irony.

While the first chapter gives an overview focusing on the story and methods of literary analysis, the second introduces methods of musical analysis. Most of the pitch analysis focuses on set theory, beginning with the three primary sets that pervade all of Carter’s music from this time period (the two all-interval tetrachords and the all-trichord hexachord). Drawing on work by numerous scholars, Capuzzo demonstrates how Carter manipulates, or reconfigures these sets, to create varied pitch content in many pieces from this era. The discussion of analytical methods continues with Carter’s use of rhythm and the relationship between text and music. The chapter concludes with a brief application of these analytical methods, focusing on episode six of the opera.

The second large section of the book contains four independent case studies. These case studies all demonstrate methods of operatic analysis, connecting music, text, and interpretation. Chapter three focuses on the opera’s opening, highlighting how Carter often uses the opening of his works to establish the musical framework of the whole piece. In a virtuosic display, Capuzzo demonstrates in 23 steps how Carter transforms a single pitch into the pitch world of the whole opera. Chapters four through six each focus on larger collections of episodes from throughout the opera, and examine modes of communication and/or lack thereof between characters.

With the detail of his case studies, sometimes it is difficult to follow a larger thread through the entire opera (large collections of scenes between the studies are hardly discussed). The conclusion consists of three paragraphs added to the last case study, and the last of those three is directed towards future topics of study within the opera. An extra chapter at the end could have done more to tie together the case studies—there is an excellent chart accompanying the last paragraphs, which shows some of these connections. There are also few, if any, connections with other contemporary operas (Wierzbicki, too, seems reluctant to draw connections with Carter’s contemporaries). This lack of larger connections within and outside the piece may diminish the appeal of the work with performers, one of Capuzzo’s stated goals, as they are probably more familiar with other contemporary operas than other works in Carter’s oeuvre.

Despite their dissimilar methods, both of these works share a common conclusion: a call for future studies. In the case of Wierzbicki, perhaps his closing is not so much a call for future additions to Carter’s biography, as a lament on what could not be included due to space limitations. He wonders what an examination of Americanism and Carter’s music may reveal. He also calls for more studies of the connections between Carter’s instrumental compositions and poetry, an effort aided in large part by Capuzzo’s ties between texted and instrumental works. For Capuzzo, there is still a great deal to be done concerning What Next? In particular, he envisions studies based on individual characters, especially Rose, a performer who sings throughout, and kid, the mostly silent character who remains on stage alone during the orchestral interlude. There is certainly a vast amount waiting to be uncovered about Carter’s life and music, and these works both break important ground, setting models for scholars in the years to come.

1 David Schiff, The Music of Elliott Carter, 2nd ed. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998).
2 J. Daniel Jenkins, “After the Harvest: Carter’s Fifth String Quartet and the Late Late Style,” Music Theory Online 16/3 (August 2010).
3 Felix Meyer and Anne C. Shreffler, Elliott Carter: A Centennial Portrait in Letters and Documents (Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 2008).

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Music 109: Notes on Experimental Music, Alvin Lucier, Wesleyan University Press, 2012. 236pp. ISBN-978-0-8195-7297-4. Cloth.
   Jay M. Arms

Whenever a composer takes the time to write about the music of his or her generation, musicologists should pause and listen. Alvin Lucier’s Music 109 is no exception. Lucier’s structuring of the book consists of the composer’s reflections on experimental works that he personally enjoys or has been directly involved with as a performer or friend of the composer. Each of the twenty chapters groups specific pieces together in various ways, ranging from broad commonalities in genre, manner of composition, instrumentation, or composer, to more unusual associations of pieces by organized groups, institutions, or technologies. Lucier also uses individual works to launch discussions about larger issues, such as tuning, the advent of new musical forms and ensembles, or connections to earlier musical styles.

Rather than read like a history of experimental music, Music 109—titled after Lucier’s course on experimental music at Wesleyan University—primarily reads like a memoir. The reader is drawn into the discussion of each piece, and the author’s voice and love for this music comes through every page. One can almost imagine sitting in Lucier’s office as he recalls distant memories as vividly as if they occurred the previous evening. Chapter 6, for example, is centered on a single concert Lucier performed with John Cage and Christian Wolff at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in 1965. The pieces discussed in this chapter are simply those performed at the concert: Cage’s 0’00” and Rozart Mix, Wolff’s For 1, 2, or 3 People, and Lucier’s Music for Solo Performer. Lucier also mentions a piece by George Brecht, Motor Vehicle Showdown, which Lucier had suggested for the performance but was omitted. The grouping of these famous pieces may seem odd, as they each function very differently and offer different examples of experimentation in music, but in the context of this book, the assemblage succeeds. Lucier’s discussion of each work comes alive as he fondly reminisces about the work of his friends, the process of planning the performance, and Lucier’s own approaches to playing these often-complex pieces. The differences in method, aesthetic, and performance practice become secondary to the communal and amicable nature of the concert familiar to anyone who has performed this kind of ensemble music.

Chapter 15, “Long String Instrument,” demonstrates how Lucier concisely and effectively navigates complex ideas in a way accessible to non-specialist audiences. The chapter is titled after Ellen Fullman’s seventy-foot Long String Instrument and her 1980 piece of the same name, but here Lucier uses it to open a broader discussion about tuning. Through Fullman’s assertion that her instrument is a microcosm of music history, Lucier discusses the Pythagorian monochord and a rather complex, yet accessible introduction to just intonation. He uses basketball superstar Michael Jordan’s ability to shift his center of gravity in midair in such a way to extend his hang-time as a means to understand how a string can simultaneously vibrate in halves, thirds, fourths, and so on; they are based on similar physical phenomena.

Lucier’s third chapter, “Graphic Notation,” is less successful than these preceding examples. Consisting of only four pages—one of which is devoted to the score for Morton Feldman’s The King of Denmark—only a single paragraph of the chapter actually discusses graphic notation. The rest of the prose is devoted to discussions of Feldman’s understated style of composition, percussion music more broadly, the programmatic title of the work, and a story about ch’in player Tong Kin-woon’s visit to Wesleyan. It seems strange to devote a whole chapter to a topic that is not thoroughly discussed therein. Why not include a few more works? Lucier might have used this opportunity to discuss several composers who evaded discussion in other parts of the book, such as Anthony Braxton, Philip Corner, Malcolm Goldstein, Eric Richards, or Wadada Leo Smith. The brevity of the chapter does more to frustrate than to inspire the reader through Lucier’s minimal discussion.

Further concerns about Music 109 emerge from its structure. Three simple and related additions would make the book much more coherent. First, an introduction defining the scope of the book, the way it is organized, and the reasoning for the book’s inclusions and omissions would give the reader a solid place to begin the journey. The book commences immediately with Charles Ives’ Symphony No. 4, providing no indication that chapters are divided into discussions of individual works. Additionally, a table of contents that lists specific compositions encountered in each chapter would make it a good reference book for students as well as a more pleasurable read for the connoisseur. Lucier’s warm and accessible prose, one of the book’s greatest strengths, lends it to casual reading. The book has no linear narrative and can easily be opened to the beginning of any piece’s discussion and enjoyed as much as cover to cover reading. However, as it stands, it is not always clear where one might find the discussion of a specific piece of music, or if that piece was included at all. Christian Wolff’s For 1, 2, or 3 People, for example, is found in Chapter 6, “Rose Art Museum,” but intuitively the reader might look in Chapters 3 or 4, “Indeterminacy” and “Graphic Notation,” respectively. Adding a few pages detailing where one can find individual works would eliminate the guesswork that takes place in the course of reading. Finally, an accompanying CD or link to website where one could listen to recordings of these works is almost a necessity. Several times throughout the book, Lucier directly invites the reader to listen to the piece, and even asks what he or she hears, as if in a classroom setting. This invitation is consistently frustrating, even when the piece is familiar. One wishes to enter the sound world of the piece being discussed in order to really hear the points made by the author.

A bigger, musicological issue with the book comes with the misconception that it is a history of experimental music. Although Lucier himself is upfront (if only on the last page of the book) that he hand-picked pieces he enjoys or was personally involved with, it is assumed by many—perhaps because of Robert Ashley’s statement in the forward—that “Music 109 is a thorough, modern history of a particular group of composers and their work” (ix) representing a conclusive history of experimentalism, when in fact it is really more exclusive. The undeniable influence of improvised music stands as one major omission; “improvisation” does not even make it into the index. This criticism may seem minute, but this absence precludes discussion of many seminal figures of experimental music, the most glaring of which being Lucier’s colleague of over twenty years on the Wesleyan composition faculty, Anthony Braxton, who is mentioned only once in passing. The few times Lucier mentions improvisation at all, his aim is to disprove its importance to, and presence in, the music he is discussing. The distancing of experimental music from techniques like improvisation is a subtle way to erode the crucial and indisputable influence of non-white and non-Western sensibilities to the development of American music in the twentieth century. In fairness, Lucier seems to have made a concerted effort to include works by female composers, specifically Ruth Crawford Seeger, Ellen Fullman, Meredith Monk, and Pauline Oliveros. This expansion, small as it is, is a welcome step in the right direction.

Although Lucier’s scope is problematic—and we, as musicologists must remain critical of such things—it does not negate the importance of the works and composers he includes. Indeed, Lucier’s omissions provide us with a lens through which to view the political and social contexts that subtly divided (and continue to divide) American experimentalism through the second half of the twentieth century. Honest recognition of these issues can provide scholars an opportunity to reflect on existing histories and develop new ones that openly acknowledge such divisions, but also represent the diversity of influence and sensibilities that make the music of the past century so vibrant. In summation, Lucier’s Music 109 is a welcome, if incomplete, addition to the existing body of writings on experimental music. The opportunity to step into the brilliant mind of this intriguing composer, glimpsing and hearing these wonderful pieces through his ears, and gaining such a personalized, first hand perspective cannot be obtained through simple scholastic investigation. Connoisseurs and scholars alike will enjoy perusing its pages.

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Big Band Jazz in Black West Virginia, 1930–1942, Christopher Wilkinson, University Press of Mississippi, 2012. 240pp. ISBN-978-1-61703-168-7. Cloth.
   Sarah Suhadolnik

Rare is the situation, or context, in which the historic mining communities of rural West Virginia are discussed as real “swinging” spots. That is, until now. Christopher Wilkinson’s Big Band Jazz in Black West Virginia, 1930–1942, shines a welcomed light on the Mountain State engagements of a broad assemblage of touring big bands, revisiting these overlooked Swing Era moments from the neglected perspective of a West Virginia audience. This extensive investigation of West Virginia jazz dances—large, county affairs in armories, high school gymnasia, and the occasional nightclub, often accompanied by high profile bands from New York and Chicago—raises important questions about the place of big band jazz in West Virginia and the place of West Virginia in the larger history of jazz. Viewing this musical activity against the parallel histories of local state politics and the local coal industry, Wilkinson seeks to understand how a “so called urban music” could become “an ornament to life in the coalfields” (176). Challenging existing preconceptions about the state’s local musical cultures, he argues that the case of West Virginia demonstrates the dangers of “unsupported assumptions about relationships between the race and social status of an audience and the choice of music it preferred to hear” (172).

Wilkinson’s findings reveal a unique economic and social environment. In spite of the economic challenges posed by a Depression Era economy, West Virginia’s coal industry was able to sustain high levels of comparatively well-paid employment. The passage of the National Recovery Act and other such favorable legislation enabled black coal miners in the state to earn wages that were “considerably higher than those earned by sharecroppers and other African American agricultural workers in the Deep South,” and “substantially more than those of blacks working in the heavy industries of the North as well” (x–xi). Wilkinson traces substantially higher levels of disposable income to the social organizations and “entrepreneurial individuals” that hosted West Virginia jazz dances—surprising exhibitions of economic prosperity—the significance of which were both compounded, and compounded by, the impact of an already distinctive regional racial climate. In this unique environment, he argues, big band jazz and dance music provided occasions in which “black West Virginians could socialize in their own company and on their own terms without fear of either intrusion by or criticism from the majority population of the state” (xi).

The book is divided into four distinct sections. The introduction, “Coal, Railroads, and the Establishment of African American Life in West Virginia,” provides a deep cultural background of the coal industry in the Mountain State. Its primary objective is to account for the state’s large population of black Mountaineers and their creation of “a lively musical culture that would come to embrace the big bands” (7). After the Civil War, large numbers of African Americans settled in West Virginia, taking jobs in railroad construction, spurring the construction of the railroad lines that connected the South’s major coalfields. Other key developments covered by this weighty chapter include overviews of the major pieces of legislation (both state and federal) that structured the West Virginia coal industry. For example, the Bituminous Coal Code is cited as the agreement that established a framework for minimum wages, work hour maximums, and a fair-market safeguard that greatly reduced the ability of one mine owner to try to undersell a competitor. Representing some of the most significant legislative developments, these provisions greatly contributed to the overall stability of the West Virginia coal industry, increasing worker incomes and greatly improving working conditions, which, as was previously explained, arguably primed the population for the proliferation of jazz dances.

The close economic connection between coal mining and West Virginia jazz dances forms the central focus of Part I, titled “The Economic Foundation of Big Band Dance Music in the Mountain State.” The section’s two chapters—“From the Coal Face to the Dance Floor: Black Miners as Patrons of Big Bands,” and “Validating Herbert Hall’s Contention: Paul Barnes’s Gig Book”—pinpoint the cultural influence of the coalfield county seats. As local centers of commerce, county seats were the hub around which the lives of hundreds of smaller mining towns revolved, making them prime locations for jazz dances. Organized by social organizations, or resident booking agents, events took place in local National Guard armories, school gyms, social clubs, and the occasional nightclub. The stable economic climate of mining in West Virginia allowed organizers to pay touring dance bands some of the highest rates per engagement in the region, the precise details of which Wilkinson is able to explore in the information provided by the gig book of saxophone and clarinet player Paul D. Barnes.

Part II—“Big Bands in Black West Virginia: 1929–1935”—examines the role of the media in the local importation of jazz, exploring the impact of radio and newspaper coverage on the highly diversified musical tastes of black Mountaineers. During the Great Depression, West Virginia’s African American communities represented the state’s largest audiences for big band jazz and dance music. Between April 1930 and August 1942, a total of 256 black public dances were reported by a variety of news outlets (61). Such accounts form the basis of the broad based media analysis undertaken by Wilkinson in the subsequent four chapters: “Newspapers and Radio Bring the World of the Big Bands to Black West Virginia,” “Local and Territory Bands in the Emerging Culture of Big Band Jazz and Dance Music in the Mountain State,” “Big Band Jazz Comes to the Mountain State: 1929–1933,” and “Comparative Prosperity Arrives, September 1933–April 1935.” An intricately woven narrative emerges about jazz in West Virginia coupled with an explanation of the larger recovery project in which it fits. Even though the lesser known territory bands considered by Wilkinson have had “little or no place in the larger historical narrative of this music,” for example, in West Virginia they served as “a constant reminder of the existence and appeal of the music for which the touring name bands justifiably earned both national and enduring reputations” (62). The early presence and success of lower profile groups laid the groundwork for the later arrival of national headliners, such as Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Andy Kirk, and Jimmie Lunceford, among many others.

In part III—“West Virginia in the Swing Era, 1935–1942”—Wilkinson interlaces many of the threads introduced in parts I and II, going after his larger point about unsupported assumptions about audience musical preferences through the assembly and discussion of a diverse dance repertory. The narrative of this section describes the West Virginia jazz dance at the height of its popularity from the perspective of the local promoters, the booking agents, and the local audiences that attended them. Over the course of four chapters—“The Place of the Mountain State on the Road Traveled by the Big Bands,” “The Big Bands’ Audience in the Mountain State,” “The Dance Repertory Played in the Coal Fields,” and “The Party Winds Down”—he reviews the engagement networks of local promoters, the individual locations and types of venues that were used, the relative size, makeup and musical preferences of extrapolated audiences, and even a broad approximation of associated repertoires (127). Here, Wilkinson pays particular attention to the documented evidence of competing musical tastes at dance events, taking note of the ways in which touring ensembles were forced to step outside the domain of jazz in these circumstances. This, he argues, works against the dominant approach, which tends to focus on evidence of the evolution of specific big band jazz styles. Similarly, of the three spheres of big band activity he identifies, namely recording, radio, and touring, Wilkinson singles out the latter as the domain in greatest need of additional academic scrutiny. Existing scholarly investigations of “the road,” according to Wilkinson, generally lack the perspective of the audience, frequently relying on musician’s memories of individual tours. Troubled by the “sketchy and vague outline” generated by this approach, he argues that West Virginia can present a comparatively detailed image of “the road.”

Wilkinson’s commitment to unearthing the largely absent perspective of the audiences of touring big bands is reflected in the breadth of primary sources he consulted while writing. These include, but are by no means limited to, personal correspondence, interviews, photographs, governmental reports, such as the annual reports of the state’s Department of Mines, West Virginia census data, a selection of local, regional, and national newspapers, transcripts of radio programs, and available information on the activities of individual booking agents and dance organizers. Furthermore, Wilkinson’s deep and comprehensive attention to cultural context makes the book’s portrayal of the jazz dance in 1930s West Virginia extraordinarily vivid.

The end result is a thorough reconstruction of a cultural space in which the black Mountaineer could be “temporarily free of the burden not only of the day’s work but also of the annoyances and inconveniences resulting from living in a segregated society of unequal opportunities,” as described by the snippets of information left behind by those who relied on it for enjoyment and comfort (171). As the author himself points out, this work also calls for the expansion and alteration of dominant constructions of swing audiences. “Counterintuitive as this may seem,” he argues, the popularity of sweet music had “an inescapable logic based on the realities of day-to-day life in the coalfields” (173). Challenging his reader to acknowledge that seemingly unlikely places, such as West Virginia, could “swing” too, Wilkinson’s book makes it apparent that there is a lot more to be discovered and learned about the dissemination and reception of big band jazz.

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Bulletin Board

Carol K. Baron will introduce a performance of Charles Ives’s Universe Symphony at the Balkan MicroFest, which will take place August 21–24 at the fortress in Knin, Croatia. This Festival will feature performances and lectures on microtonal music and new ideas of musical expression.

We are delighted to announce a conference in honor of Professor Kay Kaufman Shelemay, Out of Bounds: Ethnography, History and Music, to be held at Harvard University from October 24–26, 2014. The conference is free, but registration is recommended. For information and to pre-register, click here.
   Conference papers are organized around Shelemay’s key intellectual interests. Her work as an ethnographer in Ethiopia during the overthrow of Hailie Selassie and her publications in Falasha history have inspired panel topics as well as her work on the importance of history in ethnomusicology, her deep interests in collaborative ethnography, music and memory, and the interrelationship between the cognitive and the musical. Paper sessions will focus on ethnography, history, communities, migration, and memory. The keynote will be given by Ellen T. Harris, Class of 1949 Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The conference is free, but pre-registration is recommended.
   A concert by Debo Band, also free, will take place on Saturday, October 25 at 8pm in Sanders Theatre. Additional conference information is available at

Deborah Schwartz-Kates was awarded a 2014 NEH Summer Stipend for work on her forthcoming book, Revealing Screens: The Film Music of Alberto Ginastera (Oxford University Press, 2016). She also received a Research Fellowship from the Center for the Humanities at the University of Miami in support of this project.

On December 9 and 23, 2014, Leonard J. Lehrman’s three-act anti-war feminist Chanukah opera Hannah will receive its American premiere in New York. Please see for additional information.

Louis Goldstein will be on the faculty of this June’s Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA. SICPP (pronounced “Sick Puppy”) was started in the 1990s by Artistic Director Stephen Drury as an intensive performance seminar on music of the 20th century, and for many years enrollment was open only to advanced pianists. SICPP is now entering its 10th year as a full-blown annual chamber music festival focused on works of the 20th and 21st centuries, largely American, with a faculty that includes strings, winds, percussion, and voice in addition to piano; an electronic music workshop; and the SICPP New Works Program, a composition workshop where advanced composers have the opportunity to study with the Composer-in-Residence (this year, Lee Hyla), engage in colloquia with fellow composers, and work directly with musicians in the rehearsal and performance of their work.
   The evenings feature fabulous programs performed by the faculty and the ensemble-in-residence Callithumpian Consort. The final marathon concert (the SICPP Iditarod) is a one-of-a-kind event—described by Rand Steiger (2013 Composer-in-Residence) as “an incredible day—great music, excellent performances, and a wonderful, convivial atmosphere. I stayed the entire 9 hours and could have stayed for 9 more.” All events are free.

Di Goldene kale (The Golden Bride), a 1923 Yiddish-American operetta by Joseph Rumshinsky, will be performed in a concert version by the National Yiddish Theater - Folksbiene from a piano-vocal score edited by Michael Ochs. The performance will take place at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Avenue (entrance on East 25 St.), New York, on Tuesday May 27 at 7 PM. The event is free but tickets reservations must be made at the Center box office, (646) 312-5073. The full score will be published as part of the AMS’s MUSA series (see

Roger Lee Hall’s new book “Simple Gifts”: Great American Folk Song, is now available as a PDF with bonus documents, picture gallery, and audio and video examples on a multimedia DVD. Included are exclusive interviews with two key figures who helped to make this Shaker song better known, Shaker Sister R. Mildred Barker and Aaron Copland, and a letter from Sydney Carter, the composer of “Lord of the Dance,” which is based on the Shaker tune. Details about this book with bonus features on a multimedia DVD, are at this link:

The Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music, long regarded as the leading reference work devoted to composers and music for wind band, is now available as a website. From the original 2-volume hardback set first released in 1991 the contents have grown to the point that the current website version includes information on more than 22,000 composers and 100,000 known works from the Renaissance to the latest pieces written and published in 2014. A new feature of the website version of the Encyclopedia is the inclusion of program notes for many titles. Truly international in scope, it includes not only published works, but also unpublished titles as well. It is a veritable Grove’s Dictionary devoted to music for band and winds. Author and compiler William H. Rehrig and Paul E Bierley, editor of the original hardback volumes, have amassed information on the music bands have played from the earliest days of the 18th and 19th century until today. This information, as a whole, is unavailable elsewhere. The website is searchable by composer name, title, and within the composer biographies. The website is available in a free view, giving limited access to the contents, and an annual subscription view that makes the entire contents available. For further information, visit the site at

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Trebor Tichenor

Trebor Tichenor, one of the foremost exponents of ragtime music, died on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at age 74. For more than fifty years, he was a driving force in the ragtime revival, active as pianist, composer, historian, author, collector, mentor, and educator.

Born in 1940, his unusual name was simply a reversal of his father’s name (Robert). He developed a keen interest in ragtime as a teenager living in St. Louis and learned to play piano, in part by imitating the player piano in his family’s basement. With the help of his grandmother and other family members, he began scouring St. Louis-area antiques stores for ragtime sheet music, records, and piano rolls. At age 21, together with Russ Cassidy, he founded the quarterly RagTime Review (1961–1966), the first major newsletter to serve a bourgeoning nationwide group of ragtime enthusiasts. In each issue, Tichenor authored a detailed analysis of a selected classic rag (usually one by Scott Joplin), and the Review also published reviews of ragtime recordings and folios, offered reprints of classic rags, and shared news of ragtime performers and composers. At its peak, the Review boasted over 200 subscribers, providing an invaluable forum for ragtime scholarship in the early years of the “classic ragtime” revival.

As a pianist, Tichenor enjoyed a lengthy and successful career both as soloist and founding member of the St. Louis Ragtimers, a five-piece ensemble formed in 1961. From the mid-1960s on, he performed frequently on the Goldenrod Showboat in St. Louis, and made a number of recordings, including Mississippi Valley Ragtime (Scroll LSCR-102; 1966), King of Folk Ragtime (Dirty Shame 2001; 1973), Days Beyond Recall (Folkways FS 3164; 1979), and Tempus Ragorum (Stomp Off 1282; 1994) in addition to many discs with the St. Louis Ragtimers and the Tichenor Family Trio and Tichenor Family Five.

Not just a champion of composers from the so-called “ragtime era,” Tichenor became widely recognized—while still in his 20s—as a leading ragtime composer in his own right, cultivating a unique “folk” style that, in his own words “is bound up with the land, the river, the colorful past, the whole aura of the Mississippi Valley.” Tichenor’s compositional style (with nods to such figures as Brun Campbell and Tom Shea) has remained a potent influence on a number of notable ragtime composers over the past 50 years, including Jack Rummel, David Thomas Roberts, Terry Parrish, Kathi Backus, and Max Keenlyside. His jaunty playing style, complete with its bubbly but substantive “rolling” left hand was certainly a primary influence on me when I made my first forays into playing ragtime piano as a teenager.

For over 30 years, Tichenor taught a course in the history of ragtime at his alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis. He hosted a ragtime-themed radio program, Ragophile, on station KWMU for fifteen years and co-authored the book Rags and Ragtime with David Jasen in 1978. He compiled, edited, and annotated the landmark sheet music reprint folios Ragtime Rarities (1975) and Ragtime Rediscoveries (1979) for Dover and contributed music from his extensive collection for dozens of similar folios that appeared in the 1970s at the height of the ragtime revival. Collectively, these folios helped to establish the “core repertoire” of the revival.

Although he was a towering figure in the ragtime community, Trebor Tichenor remained a quiet, shy, and unassuming figure. In recent years he was a regular performer at the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival in Sedalia, Missouri. Despite health issues that limited his mobility, once seated at the piano, his performances were as vibrant and lively as ever. Offstage, he was quick to offer a smile and handshake, and even if he didn’t say much, he listened carefully and made time to visit with younger performers like myself.

Perhaps there is no greater tribute to his memory than in his two children, Virginia Tichenor and Andrew Tichenor, both of whom inherited his passion for ragtime. Virginia, a noted jazz and ragtime pianist in her own right, is instrumental in organizing the annual West Coast Ragtime Festival in Sacramento, California, and Andrew (Andy) holds a degree in music from Southern Illinois University and performs regularly in the St. Louis area on trumpet. Trebor Tichenor is already sorely missed, but his legacy lives on in the countless musicians and scholars who have benefitted from his research, preservation efforts, generosity, and boundless musical imagination.

Bryan Wright

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The Bulletin of the Society for American Music

The Bulletin is published in the Winter (January), Spring (May), and Summer (September) by the Society for American Music. Copyright 2014 by the Society for American Music, ISSN 0196-7967.

Editorial Board
Editor: Laura Moore Pruett (
Reviews Editor: Ryan Bañagale (
Design and Layout: Ryan Ebright (

Items for submission should be submitted to Laura Moore Pruett as an attachment to e-mail. Photographs or other graphic materials should be accompanied by captions and desired location in the text. Deadlines for submission of materials are 15 December, 15 April, and 15 August.

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Awards, Fellowships, and Subventions of the Society

Further information is available at the website ( or by contacting the SAM office [].

Student Travel Grants
Available for student members who wish to attend the annual conference of the Society for American Music and intended to help with the cost of travel. Students receiving funds must be members of the Society and enrolled at a college or university.

Mark Tucker Award
Awarded at the annual SAM conference recognizing a student who has written an outstanding paper for presentation at that conference.

Cambridge University Press Award
This award is presented to an international scholar (not a student) for an outstanding paper presented at the annual conference.

Adrienne Fried Block Fellowship
The Block Fellowship supports scholarly research leading to publication on topics that illuminate musical life in large urban communities, focusing on the interconnections and the wide range of genres present in these metropolitan settings.

Wiley Housewright Dissertation Award
The Wiley Housewright Dissertation Award annually recognizes a single dissertation on American music for its exceptional depth, clarity, significance, and overall contribution to the field.

H. Earle Johnson Bequest for Book Publication Subvention
The Johnson Subvention is given to support the costs of the publication of a significant monograph on an important topic in American Music. Two subventions of up to $2,500 may be awarded annually.

Sight and Sound Subvention
The Sight and Sound Subvention provides financial assistance to facilitate the publication of non-print material concerning American music. Such material may include film, DVD, CD and other audio/visual formats, radio programs, website development, or other projects that further the Society’s mission and goals. One subvention of up to $900 is awarded annually.

Irving Lowens Memorial Book and Article Awards
The Lowens Award is presented annually for an exceptional book and article that make important contributions to the study of American music or music in America.

Judith Tick Fellowship
This fellowship, endowed in honor of Judith Tick, is awarded competitively to scholars at any phase of their careers to support scholarly research leading to publication on topics that have been the focus of Prof. Tick’s distinguished career: women’s music-making across time and musical genres, musical biography, and source studies in American music.

Hampsong Education Fellowship in American Song
The Hampsong Fellowship supports projects developed by educators who wish to explore the repertory of American classic song as a means to understand the broader narrative of American history and culture.

Virgil Thomson Fellowship
The Virgil Thomson Fellowship is awarded competitively to scholars at any phase of their careers whose interest is focused on the history, creation, and analysis of American music on stage and screen, including opera.

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