Society for American Music
41st Annual Conference, Sacramento, California, 4–8 March 2015

It has been more than twenty years since the Society has met in California, and now the time is ripe to “Go West.” The 41st Annual Conference will take place in downtown Sacramento, hosted by the nearby Davis campus of the University of California. As the state capital and seat of one of the world’s largest economies, Sacramento is made for meetings, lying where the Sierra Nevada foothills bump up against the agriculture of the Central Valley and the wine country. The city sits at the intersection of the cross-country Lincoln Highway (I-80) and I-5 and, rather more picturesquely, at the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers, whose combined delta reaches the San Francisco Bay less than 90 miles away.

Our hotel, the Sheraton Grand, is an historical building, originally designed by architect Julia Morgan as a public market; the open atrium bears witness to this history as do meeting rooms named for the original vendors. From the Sheraton, it is an easy walk to the Capitol Building and rose garden; the restaurant-studded “midtown” area where government workers enjoy both fine dining and eating on the cheap; and the jazz clubs and honky tonks of our very own “wild west” district, Old Sacramento.

Sheraton Grand
The Sheraton Grand

Northern California has a rich cultural history, stretching back to the days of the Franciscan missions, through the earliest days of the Gold Rush and the growth of concert and educational institutions, including the Crocker Art Museum. More recently, it has played key roles in “new” music, West Coast jazz, Hispanic and Latin American genres, California Indian cultural revival, and the envisioning of the U. S. as part of the larger Pacific Rim. The program committee, led by Leta Miller of UC Santa Cruz, has assembled a roster of papers that matches the cultural, class, and religious diversity of the region, with presentations ranging from queer studies to Native American music, jazz and gender, and a healthy dose of film and television music. Seminar sessions will focus on disability studies and on music and childhood; and a Plenary Session is devoted to “Putting Scholarship into Practice.” We are especially pleased that the Sacramento conference will also celebrate SAM’s newest honorary member: prize-winning composer and scholar of African American music, Olly Wilson, who will be present on Friday to receive the award and share with us a performance of his Piano Trio by the Bay Area’s Delphi Trio, sponsored by UC Berkeley, where Wilson was on the faculty for more than thirty years.

Crocker Museum
The Crocker Art Museum

Our four Friday afternoon excursions, three of which lie within reasonable walking distance of the hotel, will give conference attendees the chance to explore varied aspects of regional history and culture, including Sutter’s Fort State Historical Park, where children and adults alike can explore California history. Some may choose instead a guided tour of the Crocker Art Museum, the oldest continuously operated art museum in the West, situated in the nineteenth-century home of judge and railroad magnate Edwin Crocker. For real railroad devotees (and their children), the California State Railroad Museum offers a full afternoon of informative and interactive exhibits. And for those eager to experience California viticulture, one excursion (limited to thirty adults) will ride south of Sacramento to The Old Sugar Mill, now converted to a showroom for local vintners; a tour of the Clarskburg Valley Wine Company will culminate in a sampling of local wine and cheese.

Olly Wilson
Olly Wilson, 2015 SAM Honorary Member

Friday night, all are invited to visit the UC Davis campus’s Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, where Anonymous 4 (now in its penultimate season) will perform with singer and multi-instrumentalist Bruce Molsky. Their program, “1865,” celebrates music associated with the U.S. Civil War and forms the final installment in their acclaimed Americana trilogy of CDs. Buses will leave the hotel in time for attendees to catch the pre-concert talk, given by our very own Dale Cockrell, past-president of the Society. Surely an evening not to be missed!

Served by a major airport [SMF, 10 miles from the hotel], Sacramento is accessible by almost every major airline, including frequent Southwest flights, and often with cheaper fares than the Oakland and San Francisco airports, which are roughly 1.5 hours away by car. Amtrak arrives directly to Old Sacramento, and the Greyhound station is not far away. Weather in March is usually pleasant—we enjoy an early spring with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s. On behalf of the entire Local Arrangements Committee, we hope to see you in Sacramento!

Beth E. Levy
Chair, Local Arrangements Committee

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From the Program Committee

The conference in Sacramento is shaping up to be most exciting and diverse. The Program Committee members hope that you will join us for this stimulating event. To judge by the number of submissions, interest in SAM is higher than ever. The committee evaluated more than 350 proposals (280 individual papers, 13 panels that included an additional 46 papers, 15 proposals for lecture-performances, and 16 submissions for seminar papers). Because the number of submissions was so high, and the quality of these submissions was so strong, the committee decided to make room for more papers than originally envisioned. In all, the committee accepted 45 percent of the submissions by adding additional sessions on Friday and Saturday, and one evening session on Thursday (when there are no other activities taking place).

As usual, the session subjects are widely varied. To cite only a few of them: two on native American music, one on Mexico and Mexicans, one on San Francisco, five involving issues of race, three on jazz, three on music and politics, three on music and technology, two on music and dance, two on music and film, and three on music and war. There will literally be something for every interest in the Society.

On Saturday just before the business meeting, we will hold a plenary session featuring three of our most prominent members (Carol Oja, Mark Katz, and George Lewis) who will talk about their work in taking musicology outside the academy. All three are reaching the general public in meaningful ways that serve in some ways to demystify musicological research for non-specialists.

Four lecture-recitals will take place during the noon hour on Thursday and Saturday, but have been scheduled to leave room for lunch as well. Interest group meetings and an exciting special event sponsored by the Committee on Cultural Diversity will also take place during the noon hour.

All of the four-paper panels have been scheduled for the special Thursday evening session, which will offer a sumptuous smorgasbord of topics: Modernism in the Screen Media, Music and Advertising, a panel on Carlos Chávez, and the Political Economy of Jazz. The two seminar topics for this year are Disability in Musical Theater and Childhood and American Music. Seminar papers will be posted on the SAM website several weeks prior to the conference.

With this dizzying array of activities, we hope you will not be able to resist a trip to Sacramento in early March. See you there!

Leta Miller
Chair, Program Committee

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From the President

Judy Tsou, President of SAM
Judy Tsou, SAM President

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

The Society ends the year with much good news and an exciting program for the upcoming conference (March 4–8) in Sacramento. SAM/2.0 is doing well; as of December 16, the total pledges and donations stand at $805,708. Among the major donations this quarter is a second grant from the Virgil Thomson Foundation ($20,000); together with the $20,000 donation from the Aaron Copland Fund earlier in the year, we created the Vivian Perlis Fund to support the performance of contemporary American music during conferences. SAM received its first $50,000 from the NEH Matching Grant this fall, and the Board of Directors approved the use of the money to create a Diversity Fund to help increase diversity in the Society. We are closer to our campaign goal with these donations, but we will still need $117,887 to obtain the full $175,000 NEH matching grant and to reach our $1 million goal. As I said in my email message last month, only 27% of the membership participated in the campaign thus far. The initiatives to obtain fiscal stability and research support of the Society came from the members of the Society; if only 50% of the members each donate $250, we will meet our goal. Please read bruce mcclung’s Development Committee Report elsewhere in this Bulletin for details on how to donate to your favorite fund. We need your help to finish the campaign!

Thanks to the Program Committee (Leta Miller, chair, Lydia Hamessley, chair for the Boston meeting, Tara Browner, Carol Hess, Charles Sharp, and Jessica Sternfeld), the Sacramento conference is shaping up to be a stimulating meeting. The sessions cover a wide variety of topics: race (e.g. “Racial Tension” and “Race and Transformation”), war (“Music Identity and War” and “Responses to War”), music in media and marketing (“Listening to TV,” “Game Music,” and “The Sights and Sound of Marketing”), politics (“The Cold War”), technology (“Native Music and Technology” or simply “Technologies”), jazz (“Political Economy of Jazz,” and “Duke Ellington”), gender (“Jazz and Gender,” and “Queer Frameworks”), geographic specific music (“Nashville,” “San Francisco,” and “Russian ballets through American eyes”), identities (“Black/White,” “Southern Identities”), different genres (“Minimalist Opera,” “Rock and Folk”), and traditional topics (“American music manuscripts,” “Finding the Notes”). There are two seminars, one on disability in musical theater and the other on childhood and American music. There are noontime concerts on Thursday and Saturday. And on Friday morning (10:15–11:15), we will bestow the Honorary Membership on Olly Wilson, composer, educator, and scholar. There will be a short concert of his Piano Trio (played by the Delphi String Trio) during the session.

The conference, sponsored by the University of California, Davis with support from other UC campuses, is under the able organization of Beth Levy, the chair of Local Arrangements Committee. The social programs include a concert given by Anonymous 4, with singer/instrumentalist Bruce Molsky, on a program entitled “1865,” of Civil War Music. This will be held at UC Davis campus’s Mondavi Center for Performing Arts, and our own Dale Cockrell will give the pre-concert talk. Beth has also arranged a variety of Friday afternoon tours that revolve around local history, art, railroad, and viticulture. The meeting is not to be missed!

On September 16, 2014, SAM lost another of its founding members and longtime supporter, Margery Lowens. She passed away after a long illness in Scranton, PA. Margery was a scholar of the music of Edward MacDowell and taught at Peabody Institute of Music and the Johns Hopkins University. Her husband, Irving Lowens, was also a founder of our Society. Douglas Bomberger’s obituary of Margery is elsewhere in this Bulletin.

Lastly, as in the previous year, I plan to fill most vacant committee positions in January so that new committee members can meet with the current members during the Sacramento meeting to ensure continuity. If you are interested in serving the Society, please contact Charles Hiroshi Garrett, the chair of the Committee on Committee Governance, at The function of this committee is to nominate committee members for the President’s consideration.

See you all in Sacramento!

Judy Tsou

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Voices Across Time Celebrates Its Sixth NEH Summer Institute

The Center for American Music at the University of Pittsburgh is getting ready to host another Summer Institute for Teachers supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to be held June 29 to July 31. In these times when the NEH is under scrutiny and in danger of significant cutbacks, it is perhaps appropriate to reflect on “Voices Across Time: Teaching American History Through Song” and how SAM’s involvement has shaped it. This five-week program has brought together 23–25 teachers almost every other year since 2004, leaving an indelible mark on their teaching and changing the way their students learn.

The impetus of the Voices Across Time Institute was a request to the Center for American Music by the board of SAM at its 1995 meeting in Madison, to create a program for training K–12 teachers in the results of research into American music history, and thereby bring America’s music into more classrooms across the country. We consulted with teachers nationwide to devise a strategy, focused on using music as a part of core curriculum classes in English Language and Social Studies, and conceived a summer teaching institute modeled on the series offered by the Folger Shakespeare Library. The strategy was simple: spend five weeks instructing teachers in how to integrate historic American music into their classrooms, based on the print guide we created. Yet in the early years we struggled with how to best present this material with the assistance of scholars. Initially we invited historians to lecture on important events and episodes of American history, while we then connected those events to historic songs from the period. We quickly realized, however, that the educators who attended the Institute were already fairly well versed in history; what they wanted was more knowledge of the music. Cultural historian Scott Sandage of Carnegie Mellon University showed us the way through his dynamic lectures on music of the world wars. We followed his lead; focusing on how songs were conceived and perceived in their time, and allowing the songs, rather than the events of the time, to guide us through our history.

With this shift in approach we invited members of the Society to participate in these institutes, as lecturers or performers. John Koegel addressed German and Latin American immigration and how it is reflected in music; Norm Cohen brought his extensive knowledge of the railroad industry and its history; Barbara Tischler presented the music of the Civil Rights movement and brought it to life with an activity focused on the lunch counter sit-ins. Susan Cook opened everyone’s eyes to the many layers of gendered history available in Anglo-American balladry, while Dale Cockrell inspired us with his mining of songs and history from the Little House series. More recently Andy Flory has been helping our educators understand hip-hop, and Jim Davis has shed new light on how to approach the Civil War through its songs and provided teachers with an array of materials to assist in that endeavor.

There have also been many memorable performances courtesy of SAM members. Bob and Kate van Winkle Keller danced us through colonial history, while the late Mike Seeger offered his inspiring renditions of Appalachian music. In recent Institutes David and Ginger Hildebrand performed and lectured at the Fort Pitt Museum, evoking the authentic sounds of the era amidst the sights of the French and Indian and Revolutionary wars.

The educators who attend the Voices Across Time institute have learned much from SAM members. Yet we have also learned from them. K–12 classrooms are changing, students are changing, and teachers are challenged like never before. When we first began we looked forward to hosting mostly history teachers and perhaps some language arts educators. However, teachers who specialized in English as a second language (ESL), special education, early childhood, art, and media librarians also joined enthusiastically. We were also not anticipating multi-lingual educators from Puerto Rico or second grade teachers from Alaska. Teachers with 30 years experience and those just starting out their careers enlivened our learning environment with new and seasoned approaches. At the most recent institute in 2013 we were delighted to have five music teachers participate. This was the largest group of music educators we have had participate to date. Their insights about the melodies and arrangements, as well as their different ways of understanding the musical styles, were illuminating to the other teachers.

From immigration to work and from wars to life at home, songs are like tiny time capsules, as Institute co-director Deane Root describes them. They help us understand the lives of the people who created, performed, and consumed them. Songs help us understand our history and each other. As we look forward to our next Institute we thank everyone who has helped us make them such wonderful experiences.

We ask you to encourage any K–12 educators of any discipline or ability to apply. Information is available at

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Society Receives $20,000 from the Virgil Thomson Foundation for Vivian Perlis Fund—SAM/2.0 Passes $800,000!

Vivian Perlis Fund Endowed
In late September Mariana Whitmer, the Society’s Executive Director, received a check for $20,000 from the Virgil Thomson Foundation for the Vivian Perlis Fund. This was the result of a special grant proposal that President Judy Tsou and President-Elect Charles Garrett had submitted to the Foundation in mid-March. This donation, together with the $20,000 that the Society received from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc. in February, has fully endowed the Vivian Perlis Fund.

This fund recognizes Vivian’s sustained contributions to our understanding twentieth-century American composers through the Oral History of American Music project, as well as her publications on Copland and Ives and numerous recording and television productions. The proceeds from the Vivian Perlis Endowment will pay for professional performances of contemporary American music during our annual conferences beginning with next year’s meeting in Boston.

The SAM/2.0 Campaign To Date:
Total bequests, donations, and pledges: $812,154
Members who are donors: 253
Total membership: 942
Percentage of total represented: 27%

Endowment for Diversity Initiatives
Another exciting development in the Campaign resulted from the fall Board of Trustees meeting. The Board voted to create an Endowment for Diversity Initiatives from the initial $50,000 we received from the National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant. The proceeds from this endowment will help to increase the presence of minority scholars, teachers, librarians, and composers within the Society by providing a travel grant to a student from an historically underrepresented group or by underwriting a session of the Cultural Diversity Committee.

$3,000 Match for Eileen Southern Fund
At the November AMS/SMT meeting in Milwaukee, an anonymous donor began a $3,000 match for the Eileen Southern Fund. He will be matching new donations or pledges dollar-for-dollar until his gift is exhausted. So far, the donor has matched $650 in donations but still has $2,350 to give! When endowed the Eileen Southern Fund will support research on music of the African diaspora.

This fund recognizes Eileen’s pioneering career as the first black female professor to be given tenure at Harvard University, her seminal publications on African American music, and her cofounding of Black Perspectives in Music, the first musicological journal devoted to African and African American music. In 2001 President George W. Bush presented Southern with a National Humanities Medal for having “helped transform the study and understanding of American music.”

Status of $175,000 NEH Challenge Grant and SAM/2.0 Campaign
With the Virgil Thomson Foundation donation and end-of-the-year contributions by twenty-two wonderful SAM members, the Campaign has passed the $800,000 mark! Although we have raised $812,154 towards our $1 million goal, only $380,780 of that amount can be counted towards the NEH Challenge Grant (donations received prior to December 1, 2012, bequests received at any time, and federal donations are ineligible under the conditions of the challenge program). So we still need to raise $121,441 in order to receive the full Challenge Grant amount of $175,000.

We are the close to finishing the Society’s first-ever endowment campaign, but we need you! Just as the funds raised from the SAM/2.0 Campaign will support members at every stage of their careers, so we need the help of all members to reach our goal. Following the lead of SAM pioneers Adrienne Fried Block, Wiley Housewright, and Irving Lowens, let’s work together to finish the SAM/2.0 Campaign by the time of our 42nd annual conference in Boston. Please take a moment to go to today and make your donation or pledge. And do stop by the SAM/2.0 booth in Sacramento to purchase your raffle ticket!

bruce d. mcclung
Chair, Development Committee

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Student Forum

It’s that time of year again! Time to begin thinking about what you can donate to the 2015 Silent Auction. New or used, any items of interest to the SAM membership will be accepted. Books, which tend to increase revenue substantially, are especially welcome. All donations are tax deductible, and all of the auction’s proceeds benefit the Student Travel Endowment. Items should be brought with you to the conference in March. Contact Megan Murph ( or SAM Executive Director Mariana Whitmer for more information.

The annual meeting in Sacramento is fast approaching! The Student Forum organizes several events, and we are always looking for volunteers to help. We will also hold a Student Forum Business Meeting to elect a new co-chair and discuss student ideas and issues. Check the program for the time and location. After the meeting, we will all relax at an informal Student Forum dinner. We hope to see you all there! If you have questions or would like to get involved with any of these happenings, contact co-chairs Megan MacDonald ( or Megan Murph (

Students who will be presenting a paper at the conference are eligible to compete for the 2015 Mark Tucker Award. For information on where and when to submit applications, please check the society website: Submissions are due January 15, 2015.

You can also help stretch your travel budget and get to know a fellow SAM student member by participating in the Student Forum roommate search. If you would like help finding a roommate for Sacramento, check the Student Forum Facebook page, or contact the Student Forum co-chairs.

We look forward to seeing you in Sacramento in March!

Megan MacDonald and Megan Murph, Student Forum Co-Chairs

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Journal of the Society for American Music

Volume 9, Number 1 (February 2015)


The Poetic Mingus and the Politics of Genre in String Quartet No. 1
Vilde Aaslid

Mexican Folk Music and Theater in Early Twentieth-Century Southern California: The Ramona Pageant and the Mexican Players
Kenneth H. Marcus

Edward MacDowell’s Original Program for the Sonata Eroica
Paul Bertagnolli

Música de la Independencia a la Revolución
Arias de opera para soprano. By Melesio Morales. Introduction by Karl Bellinghausen. Edited by Sonia Machorro
La ópera en México: De la Independencia al inicio de la Revolución (1821–1910). By José Octaviano Sosa
200 años del espectáculo: Ciudad de México. Edited by María Cristina García Cepeda, Déborah Holtz, and Juan Carlos Mena
Puntos de vista. Ensayos de crítica. By Alba Herrera y Ogazón. Introduction by Yael Bitrán Goren
Álbum de Ricardo Castro: Investigación iconográfica y documental. By Gloria Carmona
José Rolón: Músico. By Ricardo Miranda
Canto roto: Silvestre Revueltas. By Julio Estrada
Silvestre Revueltas en escena y pantalla: La música de Silvestre Revueltas para el cine y la escena. By Eduardo Soto Contreras
La música en los siglos XIX y XX. Edited by Ricardo Miranda and Aurelio Tello
La música en México: Panorama del siglo XX. Edited by Aurelio Tello
John Koegel

Marion Jacobson, Squeeze This! A Cultural History of the Accordion in America
The Accordion in the Americas: Klezmer, Polka, Tango, Zydeco, and More! Edited by Helena Simonett
Larry M. Timm

Joseph Horowitz, Moral Fire: Musical Portraits from America’s Fin de Siècle
Matthew Mugmon

Howard Pollack, Marc Blitzstein: His Life, His Work, His World
Maria Cristina Fava

Mary Lou Williams: Selected Works for Big Band. Edited by Theodore E. Buehrer
Tammy Kernodle

Yellow Power, Yellow Soul: The Radical Art of Fred Ho. Edited by Roger N. Buckley and Tamara Roberts
Eric Hung

Justin A. Williams, Rhymin’ And Stealin’: Musical Borrowing in Hip-Hop
Loren Kajikawa

Frederick Converse, American Sketches, Song of the Sea, and Festival of Pan
George W. Chadwick, Adonis, Cleopatra, A Pastoral Prelude, and Sinfonietta in D Major
Aaron Ziegel

Kirsten Johnson, Arthur Foote (1853–1937): Complete Piano Music
Marilynn Jean Smiley

Derek Bermel, Canzonas Americanas
Robert Fallon

John Cage Unbound: A Living Archive
John Cage: Official Website
Sabra Statham

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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:

Alfred Lemmon, New Orleans, LA
Miles Fish, Bentonville, AR
Justin Brauer, Champaign, IL
Daniel Fister, Cincinnati, OH
Paul J. Edwards, Jamaica Plains, NY
Matthew Reese, Silver Spring, MD
Jude Thomas, Sunnyside, NY
Madison Heying, Santa Cruz, CA
Bonnie Gordon, Charlottesville, VA
Marion MacLeod, Chicago, IL
Erica Fedor, Tallahassee, FL
Amanda Scherbenske, Brooklyn, NY
Terry Klefstad, Nashville, TN
Daniel Blake, Brooklyn, NY
Erica Rumbley, Lexington, KY
Jennifer Cable, Manakin Sabot, VA
Juliana Hall, Simsbury, CT
Susan Wageman, Oakland, CA
Cesar Leal, Sewanee, TN
Anthony Rasmussen, Claremont, CA
Deanna Yerichuk, Toronto, ON CANADA
Molly Cryderman-Weber, Lansing, MI
Lacey Golaszewski, East Amherst, NY
Robin Fisher, Carmichael, CA
Ellyn Washburne, Evansville, IN
Elizabeth Stoner, Bloomington, IN
Julia Simon, Davis, CA

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Are you a graduate advisor with the perfect student to review a new book? Or, are you a graduate student who wants to review a book but could use some help through the process? As part of a new initiative from the SAM Publications Council, the SAM Bulletin actively seeks “mentored” book reviews for a large number of recent titles. Experienced authors will guide newer reviewers through the process of evaluating an American Music-related text and crafting their observations into a substantive, informative, and concise essay. The initiative also offers an opportunity for faculty to incorporate the book review experience into coursework for graduate students, transforming a typical book-review assignment into an authentic publishing opportunity.

The work of the Publications Council on this venture is already bearing fruit. Matthew Mugmon, author of the first review below, took up the Publications Council’s challenge and mentored three of his students at the University of Arizona through the process; their collaborations resulted in the three fine reviews following Mugmon’s. Interested advisor/advisee duos, as well as those with an interest but without a pairing (such as faculty at undergraduate-only institutions), are encouraged to contact the Bulletin Reviews Editor Ryan Bañagale ( for a list of currently available books.

Charles Ives in the Mirror: American Histories of an Iconic Composer, David C. Paul, University of Illinois Press, 2013. 312 pp. ISBN-978-0-252-03749-8. Cloth.
   Matthew Mugmon

Upon picking up David C. Paul’s compelling new study, Charles Ives in the Mirror: American Histories of an Iconic Composer—even before you read a single word—you may find yourself recalling a scene from the Coen Brothers’ 1998 cult comedy The Big Lebowski. There, the underachieving Jeffrey Lebowski (known as “The Dude”) visits the home of the other Jeffrey Lebowski (the millionaire) in search of compensation for a ruined rug. On the wealthier Lebowski’s wall, alongside his “various commendations, awards, the citations, honorary degrees, etc.,” is a mirror made to resemble the cover of Time magazine’s “Man of the Year” issue, along with the question “Are you a Lebowski Achiever?” diagonally at the bottom. Peering in, the Dude catches a momentary glimpse of himself as the “achiever” he could never become.

If the Time mirror dares the Dude to see a bit of his namesake’s achieving spirit in himself, the starkly beautiful cover of Paul’s book, designed by Alex DeArmond, challenges you to see some of yourself in Charles Ives. Faced with an image of Ives’s signature hat on mirror-coated paper, viewing at just the right angle might allow you to envision yourself as an eminent composer who also managed a successful career as a life-insurance executive. But the point is a bit different from the Time cover; rather than inspiring you to be more like Ives, the cover drives home a central point of the book itself: if you ever think you’re getting a good look at Charles Ives, you’re really just taking a look at yourself. In the process of demonstrating that point, Paul’s book makes a significant contribution to American music historiography and becomes crucial reading for anyone venturing a study of American musical culture.

Charles Ives in the Mirror traces the reception of Ives from the composer’s own life into the twenty-first century. But far from a simple cataloguing of responses to Ives music, or a laundry list of events that helped Ives reach his current status as one of the most important figures in music history, Paul’s book uses Ives’s reception as a lens into something much larger. As he writes, “the history of Ives’s reception is not simply a series of portraits of an unusual composer, it is also a series of mirrors that reflect the way Americans have viewed themselves. It is the restive, fractured story of nation in miniature” (2). In previous work on Ives’s reception that has appeared in full-length studies of his life and music, “the spotlight can never rove far from the central subject—Ives—and, as a result, the advocates and detractors that have shaped conversations about him are necessarily confined to supporting roles” (2). For Paul, however, these figures are the protagonists. Taken together, they reveal a fascinating interpersonal network that has defined not just Ives’s many legacies, but the priorities and intellectual contexts of those who have created those legacies as well.

Proceeding chronologically, these contexts begin in Chapter 1 with Ives himself and his admiration for Ralph Waldo Emerson and the transcendentalists, as reflected in Essays Before a Sonata. As it turns out, by the times Ives mailed out copies of the “Concord” Sonata and his Essays, in 1921, transcendentalism was passé; what actually made some take notice of his music in the 1920s was “its deployment of novel techniques: the dissonances, microtonal experiments, spatial effects, and unusual schemes for pitch organization” (32). Aware of this new climate, “technical matters” became “his main preoccupation” in writings from the late 1920s and early 1930s (33). As Paul suggests, invoking the mirror metaphor, Ives “was responding to his own reception, mirroring the public persona that his devotees had created for him” (36).

With chapters 2 and 3, Paul turns to the husband-and-wife team of Henry and Sidney Cowell, whose biography of Ives, published in 1955, continues to resonate today. Chapter 2 begins with Henry’s early writings on Ives, from the 1920s and 1930s, where the composer is painted both as a musical ethnographer and as a nurturer of performer freedom and creativity. “Together,” Paul writes, “these two themes convey a fundamentally social image of Ives, crediting him with an attentiveness to performance practice unprecedented in music history” (41). In this case, the well-known picture of Ives as a composer who drew on the sounds of New England is revealed as a reflection of Henry Cowell as admirer of the work of Béla Bartók. Paul offers context by venturing into literary history, one of the many interdisciplinary turns in his study. He explores the relationship between the legacy of Van Wyck Brooks’s “usable past” and the return of transcendentalism to fashion in the work of Lewis Mumford. Mumford, Paul writes, took note of the “blending of local experience and tradition” in transcendentalism (64)—an idea that connects fluidly to Henry Cowell’s interest in Ives’s local resonances.

By contrast, Sidney Cowell’s work on Ives, which found its way into the biography and is discussed in Chapter 3, helped create a new image of Ives—one as “a Cold War icon, a champion of the liberating powers of individualism” (73). She shaped the biography so that “the importance of transcendentalism waxed from draft to published version” while “the significance of folk-music practice to Ives’s accomplishment waned” (86). This reflected a new world that valued individual autonomy, and transcendentalism “was readily absorbed by the discourse about autonomy characteristic of the early Cold War period” (88). Ultimately, “Ives’s life, as related by the Cowells, was a variation on a staple liberal apologia. It was a testimonial to the artistic freedoms that could be had in the United States” (92). And that view became dominant just as Ives was turning into a household name; a special focus on the work of Leonard Bernstein as an Ives advocate reveals that the “Ives who shouldered his way into the canonical repertory in the fifties and sixties was the Cold War icon of American freedom of expression” (106).

The story could well have ended here. As Paul aptly notes in considering Ives’ reputation today, “In many respects, it is the Cowellian conception of Ives that persists” for classical audiences, “and the composer is still celebrated for his individualistic gumption, transcendentalist spiritualism, and the technical innovations that these traits made possible” (106). But starting with Chapter 4, Paul turns the mirror on another category Ives commentators: scholars who think about American music. Here the story of Ives becomes the story of intellectual history, American Studies, and musicology—enlightening reading for students and faculty in those fields. As Paul notes, “The ascendancy of intellectual history was closely entwined with the emergence of American Studies in the forties and fifties,” and the “assumption about the cultural centrality of intellectuals… was transferred to the first generation of American Studies scholars, whether their pedigree was literary or historical” (119). Within the new discipline of American studies, a sense of American culture as “a single entity” (122) led to scholars drawing connections between Ives and his contemporaries (most notably in terms of progressivism) and, in turn, unsettling the picture of the autonomous Ives from the early Cold War. But in the 1970s, “belief in the singularity of American experience was becoming superseded” in American Studies “by the conviction that plurality was the defining feature of the peoples inhabiting the United States” (143). With these changes, it became more of a challenge to position Ives within a static, elevated artistic and intellectual context.

In Chapter 5, musicologists take center stage. In addition to highlighting the pioneering work on Ives by such figures as Vivian Perlis and Peter Burkholder, Paul provides a useful history of musicology as a discipline from its beginnings with Guido Adler through the dislocations of the New Musicology. This summary—a must-read for any incoming musicology graduate student—provides crucial context for the burgeoning of recent interest in Ives. The field’s longstanding emphasis on early music and unity of style presented a challenge to music scholars hoping to investigate the work of a twentieth-century composer who employed diverse materials in seemingly haphazard ways, but figures such as H. Wiley Hitchcock, Larry Starr, and Burkholder took on the task—and in a way that reflected their concerns as representatives of a discipline “that made style a priority and unity its essential condition” (185).

Chapter 6 reveals the newest Ives, who “was no longer simply the icon of American individualism and lone pioneer of musical modernism, but the patriarch of a lineage of composers linked by their penchant for experiment” (187). Before addressing that, Paul helpfully summarizes recent musicological explorations of Ives, from Maynard Solomon’s earthshaking claims about Ives’ composition dates to the illuminating work of Gayle Sherwood Magee and Judith Tick. Turning again toward the public, Paul then connects the popular image of Ives as the first of many American “mavericks” to the recent interest in experimentalism among mainstream institutions of art music. This reflection of Ives, as Paul reminds us, is “a view that essentially updated the earliest conception of Ives as a modernist” (221).

Rather than passing judgment on any particular view of Ives’s significance, Paul elucidates the cultural conditions that gave rise to those ideas and opinions with both an unassuming tone and an impressive command of a wide terrain of material from different disciplines. That the various views of Ives—or, rather, the various reflections of Ives’s listeners—have depended on specific contexts does not make any of them invalid, and Paul is careful not to favor any one picture of the composer over another. Instead, his study, whose success invite similar work on the reception of other figures, serves as a valuable reminder for all scholars to step back and consider their biases even when they are not immediately obvious. Chapter 6 ends, though, with an even starker reminder—that because of economic pressure, academia—and, in turn, work on Ives—“stands in jeopardy” (222). Despite that warning, Paul’s own careful and insightful research bodes well for the future of scholarship on Ives and on American culture.

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Lotte Lehmann in America, Kathy H. Brown, The College Music Society, 2012. 300 pp. ISBN: 978-1-881913-60-3. Paper.
   Kimberly Prins Moeller

Born in Germany, Lotte Lehmann immigrated to the United States in 1938 as a result of the Nazi occupation. In a memoir published that same year, Lehmann stated, “I cannot serve politics. I can only serve that which has always been, still is, the mission of my life. I want to be an artist—nothing else” (4). Germany’s loss was the United States’ gain, as Lehmann passionately embodied her artistic mission as a performer, a pedagogue, and an advocate for the arts. She left a continuing musical legacy through the founding of the Music Academy of the West, an annual summer festival and training program for outstanding young vocal and instrumental artists held in the Santa Barbara area.

One of the more recent icons of opera and song, Lehmann was renowned for her remarkable acting skills as well as her innovative master classes. Lehmann’s vocal career unfortunately preceded the development of recording technology, to the disappointment of twenty-first century teachers and singers. However, the written documentation remains extremely relevant, as do audio recordings of Lehmann’s master classes. In Lotte Lehmann in America, Kathy H. Brown has collected and drawn from written, audio and visual resources, assembling a comprehensive and compelling volume on Lehmann’s life and enduring legacy as a singer and a teacher. Far from being a simple biography, Brown’s book also serves as both a pedagogical manual and a repertoire guide, preserving and systematizing Lehmann’s techniques and approaches.

Drawing on the resources of the Lotte Lehmann Collection in the Davidson Library of the University of California-Santa Barbara, Brown presents Lehmann in three sections: biography, instruction, and performance. The book travels systematically from general details of Lehmann’s life, through examples of her approach to teaching, and ends with fine points on specific repertoire, offering music historians, teachers, and performers an engaging context as well as a practical manual on Lehmann’s work.

Details of Lehmann’s career before she moved across the Atlantic reveal some fascinating connections, some with political implications. Her singing was not technically perfect, as she herself admitted (5), and Lehmann was somewhat infamous during her career for her personalized approach to rhythms and tempi, which German musicians refer to as “swimming” (15). Reactions to this practice were mixed, but Lehmann had a strong supporter in Richard Strauss, who declared of her role as Christine in his opera Intermezzo, “If you think Mme. Lehmann is not singing exactly what I wrote, you are correct. But when Lehmann ‘swims,’ it is still far others who may sing absolutely correctly” (27). Lehmann was also a particular favorite and friend of Arturo Toscanini, who referred to her as “the greatest artist in the world” (31). She made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Sieglinde in Die Walküre in January 1934, returning to Europe in March after an American tour. Her performance as Tatiana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin became her final role in Vienna due to harassment by Nazi official Hermann Göring, who pressured Lehmann to sign a contract with the Berlin Opera that would require her to sing exclusively in Germany. Lehmann refused in a candid letter seen by Hitler himself. The Reich subsequently blacklisted her and she never sang in Germany again (35). Lehmann eventually settled in Santa Barbara, Calif., after the death of her husband, Otto.

As monumental as Lehmann’s accomplishments in opera were, her interests and contributions as an artist were not limited to the operatic stage. Following her operatic retirement in 1946, Lehmann pursued other artistic outlets in sketching and painting, acted in a few films, and wrote several books on vocal literature and interpretation, mostly drawing on specific experiences in operatic roles (45). As colleagues from the Met began to solicit Lehmann’s wisdom and expertise as a teacher and coach, Lehmann dreamed of establishing an American “Salzburg Festival,” a summer showcase like the famous event in Austria where the Von Trapp Family Singers were discovered (upon Lehmann’s recommendation!) (33). With the support of both notable musicians such as Yehudi Menuhin and Bruno Walter and Hollywood personalities including Walter Pidgeon, the Music Academy of the West celebrated its first season in 1947, residing at the Cate School near Santa Barbara (48–49). Lehmann’s last public performance was a recital in 1951. She passed away in 1976, and her epitaph displays a quote from Richard Strauss: “Sie hat gesungen, daß es Sterne rührte (When she sang, she moved the stars)” (53).

The biographical portion of the book—which includes an appealing assortment of photograph’s from Lehmann’s life—provides context for the second part, which addresses Lehmann’s instructional methods in both private lessons and master class settings. Instead of simple summaries, Brown utilizes an important primary source: quotations from Lehmann’s students. Master classes in which a renowned teacher worked with performers on the spot were not a common practice, and the format of a public class with an audience became popular largely because of Lehmann’s classes at the Music Academy of the West (60). From the recordings and transcripts, it is clear that Lehmann focused on interpretation rather than technique, using verbal imagery rather than pedagogical terminology (64–65). Among Lehmann’s instructions were such colorful phrases as “the whole body should speak the language of the song” (66) and “the middle register is the root of the whole voice. If that is shaky, then the house will fall down one day” (68).

Lehmann believed that interpretation could not be taught, and she instead tried to “awaken the imagination” (83). Brown summarizes Lehmann’s approach to interpretation in two goals: “the equality of text and melody and the pursuit of singing beyond technical perfection” (84). As Brown sees it, Lehmann focused on five main factors of singing including the relationship between the text and the score, interpretive devices such as gestures and tone color, and the collaboration of the singer and the pianist (86), providing an excellent outline and guide for both students and teachers in approaching repertoire. Among the quotations dealing generally with interpretation, Brown includes several aria- or song-specific notes from Lehmann that are interesting for the music audiences and instructional for the singer and teacher. For example, in discussing Brahms’ “In Waldeseinsamkeit,” Lehmann reminded the student, “The wind doesn’t walk, it soars...One must feel how the wind moves through the branches of the trees. Very legato” (87).

This sampling of Lehmann’s notes is an appropriate transition to the third portion of the book, which deals with Lehmann’s approach to performance. For Part Three, Brown divides Lehmann’s quotations into two sections: art songs and arias. This section of the book resembles guides such as Pierre Bernac’s The Interpretation of French Song and Carol Kimball’s Song: A Guide to Art Song Style and Literature, with songs and arias listed alphabetically by composer.1 The entries contain various types of insights, drawn from Lehmann’s personal translations of songs and aria texts, anecdotes and quotations. Of particular note are anecdotes and performance notes related to Hugo Wolf, Arturo Toscanini, Bruno Walter, and Richard Strauss, such as Lehmann’s memory of performing Strauss’ “Heimliche Aufforderung” in recital with the composer at the piano (224). The singer or teacher primarily interested in Brahms, Mahler, Richard Strauss, Wolf, and the song cycles of Schubert and Schumann will find the section on art song particularly helpful and enlightening.

As useful as these notes are, however, what sets this interpretive guide apart from others is the inclusion of Lehmann’s own paintings about the songs. Schubert’s song cycle Winterreise and Schumann’s Dichterliebe appear to have been especially inspiring for Lehmann, and the paintings printed in the book further illustrate Lehmann’s approach to these works. Lehmann’s depiction of “Im wunderschönen Monat Mai,” the opening song of Dichterliebe, features the poet penning his texts under a tree, seated on a boulder next to a stream, but in place of the flowing water is a transcription of a portion of Schumann’s melody (199).

The second half of Part Three focuses on arias, and captivating photographs from her stage career and her classes at the Music Academy of the West accompany Lehmann’s guidance on operatic repertoire. Brown summarizes Lehmann’s approach to opera:

Lehmann’s method of learning and teaching an opera role was to begin with the score as a foundation of the interpretation...In the final analysis, however, despite technical questions or production problems during rehearsals, Lehmann forgot all technicalities during actual performance. (245)

Reflecting Lehmann’s career, this portion of the book is most useful for the singer or teacher approaching Der Rosenkavalier and other Strauss operas, as well as works by Verdi, Wagner, and Weber. However, arias for every voice type are represented in the chapter, and all of the songs and arias are indexed alphabetically at the end of the book for easy reference. But Lehmann herself gets the last word; appendices contain essays by Lehmann that round out this multi-faceted study, including an autobiographical one published in House Beautiful in October of 1961, and a collection of three unpublished essays from her early years in the United States.

With Lotte Lehmann in America, Brown has crafted a broad and thorough representation of Lehmann as a singer, pedagogue, and artist. Taken separately, her collection of quotations, and her attention to Lehmann’s personal history and personality, provide a fascinating new lens through which to appreciate her life and career. Taken together, they will do much to preserve Lehmann’s legacy and to inform the current and future practices of generations of singers, teachers, and music enthusiasts.

1 Pierre Bernac, The Interpretation of French Song (W.W. Norton & Company, 1978); Carol Kimball, Song: A Guide To Art Song Style And Literature (Hal Leonard Corporation, 2006).

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Saying it With Songs: Popular Music and the Coming of Sound to Hollywood Cinema, Katherine Spring, Oxford University Press, 2013. 256pp. ISBN: 978-0-19-984221-6. Cloth.
   Daniel Linder

A growing body of literature is shedding new light on the history and economics of media convergence in the twentieth century.1 In the Sounds of Commerce, for instance, Jeff Smith uses the modern shopping mall to illustrate the multifarious cross-promotion of film products:

The “one-stop shopping” concept makes the mall a haven for film promoters with soundtrack albums available at record stores, novelizations purchasable at bookstores, posters on display at video stores, T-shirts on sale in department stores, and the film itself playing at the mall multiplex.2

In other words, the modern Hollywood film does not simply stand alone. It is one component of a web of related cross-promoted products including individual songs and whole soundtrack albums, novels and print materials, posters, clothing, toys, and other items.

And while it is easy to perceive the effects of media convergence in the Information Age, a narrower body of scholarship has traced its roots back to the early days of Hollywood.3 This includes Steve Wurtzler’s 2006 book, Electric Sounds: Technological Change and the Rise of Corporate Mass Media, which uses innovation in electrical sound technology as a lens to chart the evolution of media corporations in the 1920s and 1930s and to analyze changing patterns of media production and consumption.4 Additionally, a 1992 essay by Alan Williams points out that synchronized sound did not become widely used in mainstream film until approximately thirty years after its invention. Williams argues that corporate interests, led by Warner Brothers, pushed the widespread conversion to sound which occurred in the transitional period of 1927–1931 for financial gain.5

Katherine Spring has joined the discussion of early media convergence and technical issues in early sound film with a monograph published by Oxford University Press. In Saying It With Songs: Popular Music and the Coming of Sound to Hollywood Cinema, Spring explores the heterogeneity of form among films of this transitional period in which “talkies” quickly replaced silent film as the normative mainstream cinematic format. The most ingenious component of her theory is a toolkit for song analysis in film that consists of three categories of song integration within narrative: star-song attraction, strained integration, and plausible integration. Through the analysis of transitional films with this toolkit and exploration of trade and popular press articles from the 1920s and early 1930s, Spring attempts to show that the restructuring of the film and music industries as well as the commodification of songs themselves influenced the form of early sound films in Hollywood.6 Because her survey is selective rather than exhaustive, this argument becomes difficult to support. As a result, Spring’s discussion raises more questions than it definitively answers.

Chapter 1 surveys popular song and film music from 1880 through 1920 and locates the roots of musical cross-promotion in Tin Pan Alley at the turn of the century. Tactics similar to those used to promote late 1920s transitional films had developed among song pluggers who aggressively promoted their products in order to create hits. Spring notes that “mass demand for popular songs did not arise spontaneously; it was created through the implementation of careful marketing strategies” in both turn-of-the-century and late 1920s America (17).

Chapter 2 helpfully clarifies the complex legal relationships between music publishers and film studios precisely but without employing dense legalese. It provides a history of the Music Publishers Protective Association and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), and describes how composers, lyricists, and publishers organized to collect licensing fees guaranteed by the Copyright Act of 1909 about fifteen years before mainstream cinema’s conversion to sound. In order to gain control of the production and distribution of songs, which were essential for their films, the major Hollywood studios gained control of music publishers to varying degrees (54). This media convergence gave the film studios access to songs without licensing fees, and also created new streams of revenue through sales of musical scores and phonograph records.

Spring’s central argument is that these changes to the relationships between film studios and music publishers influenced the form of transitional Hollywood films. In chapters 3, 4, and 5 she attempts to support this argument by delineating her three models of song use in transitional-period films. These categories elucidate the heterogeneity of form and style that existed in the transitional period, and they also serve as a map for charting the evolution of song use in transitional period film.7

The first category, star-song attraction, is a technique for song integration consisting of repeated presentation of a song by a star performer. These presentations might or might not be logically related to the film’s narrative but inevitably are the raison d’être of the film. The plots of films such as White Shadows in the South Seas (1928), Applause (1929), Weary River (1929), and Loose Ankles (1930) were engineered around the repeated presentation of one or more theme songs. Star-song attraction cultivated an independent musical product ripe for cross-promotion: the songs plugged in these films were played on the radio and sold as recordings and musical scores. Furthermore, articles in the trade and popular press emphasized the songs around which these films were built, which compounded profits for the new media conglomerates.

Spring cites the 1929 Warner Brother’s film Weary River as a paradigm of star-song attraction. The film is built around performances of the title song “Weary River,” which appears four times in full, each time as a discrete performative event within the film. Cinematography aids the association of the song with the star, Richard Barthelmess, in the minds of audience members as each performance is filmed in long takes with close-ups of the singer (91). “Weary River” was also plugged à la Tin Pan Alley both in print and radio outlets. The Film Daily praised Barthelmess’s “rich voice,” and recordings of the song by crooners Rudy Vallee and Gene Austin enjoyed generous radio play in 1929.8

It could be argued that the film Weary River existed only as a shell for its two theme songs, but it nonetheless adhered to classical norms of narrative as the song performances made logical contributions to the development of a believable plot. Not all transitional-period films had such rational presentations of star-song attractions; some filmmakers forced elaborate set-ups to justify song performance in what Spring calls strained integration. Strained integration is a subset of the star-song attraction method of song use that is viewed as less successful. Although both methods disrupt narrative flow, strained integration is more awkward in its attempt to integrate song performance through stretched plots.

Spring’s examples of strained integration feature an often-humorous “confluence of coincidence” that motivate song performance (105). One such example is Marian’s performance of “How Long Will It Last?” at the climax of the 1931 film Possessed. This film depicts Marian’s growth from humble, rural beginnings into a sophisticated, cosmopolitan lady over the course of three years. At a dinner party toward the end of the film, Marian sits at the piano and accompanies herself as she sings the three verses of “How Long Will It Last?” in German, French, and English. As in Weary River, the lighting and editing choices present Marian as a star performer. Spring notes that while a song performance like this would not necessarily be out of place at a dinner party, the circumstances motivating the performance do not really make sense, as the viewer is asked to believe that Marian has miraculously learned to play the piano well and proficiently speak two foreign languages in a short period of time (114).

With references to numerous popular and trade press articles from around 1930, the opening of the final chapter demonstrates that as movie theatres were flooded with films chock full of songs-as-advertising-products, audiences and critics were growing tired of the “promiscuous” theme song (122). Spring argues that in response to these negative reactions, filmmakers moved toward a more subtle use of song in film. Plausible integration—Spring’s third category—stands in opposition to strained integration and star-song attraction in that this approach does not require molding the plot for the purpose of justifying song performance. Instead, song performance is a discreet element of the film and typically serves the plot (rather than the plot serving moments of song performance). Plausibly integrated song performance is less likely to be presented by a star performer and is more likely to be incomplete and casually presented within the world of the film. Spring cites In Old Arizona (1929) as prototype of this type of song use. In this Western, song performances are generally incomplete and occur “not as carefully motivated and discrete presentations but rather as haphazard performances that crop up inconspicuously, and usually as a means for expressing character attributes with narrative efficiency” (129). Spring goes on to posit a general trend toward more diffuse and subtle use of song in films, citing the 1931 films Safe in Hell and Arrowsmith as two further models of this practice.

Ultimately, Spring has created a novel system of defining song use in film that is valuable for scholars and critics who write about film music. However, these categories are not unproblematic. First, Spring charts trends by applying her novel method of analysis to a select group of films in great detail, but supplementing this analysis with a broader sampling of film examples would offer more convincing evidence for her viewpoint. The critical reader might reasonably wonder, given the vast array of films from this period, whether the eight primary cinematic examples she selected for detailed analysis tell the whole story. Second, the categories of star-song attraction and strained integration acknowledge the inherent unrealistic quality of characters breaking into song within a filmic world, but plausible integration also requires a suspension of disbelief in defining certain uses of song as realistic. These categories, then, belie a tacit acceptance that singing in a filmic world can in fact be realistic, which is by no means a given. Finally, the use of strained integration as a catch-all term for song use that seems drastically out of place to modern eyes and ears perhaps undercuts the author’s attempt to showcase the heterogeneity of film forms utilized in the transitional period. Moreover, the “strained” label, with its negative aesthetic connotations, suggests a bias against the engineering of artistic endeavors, in this case songs in films, for financial gain. Spring tiptoes around this issue but never explicitly addresses the elephant in the room: can true art be created for financial gain, and do financial stakes around a work of art cheapen it? With luck, more scholars will follow in Spring’s footsteps and tackle these thorny questions—and, in the process, shed even more light on a crucial moment in the history of music and media.9

1 Some studies of note are: Erik Barnouw, Conglomerates and the Media (New York: New Press, 1997); Jeff Smith, The Sounds of Commerce: Marketing Popular Film Music (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998); and Steve J. Wurtzler, Electric Sounds: Tehnological Change and the Rise of Corporate Mass Media (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007).
2 Smith, The Sounds of Commerce, 2.
3 Two studies of note are: Ross Melnick, American Showman: Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment Industry, 1908–1935 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012); and Wurtzler, Electric Sounds.
4 Wurtzler, Electric Sounds.
5 Alan Williams, “Historical and Theoretical Issues in the Coming of Recorded Sound to Cinema,” in Sound Theory/Sound Practice, ed. Rick Altman (New York: Routledge, 1992) 126–38.
6 An earlier article by Spring presents the main argument of this monograph in a more condensed form: Katherine Spring, “Pop Go the Warner Bros., et al.: Marketing Film Songs during the Coming of Sound,” Cinema Journal 48:1 (Fall 2008): 68–89.
7 See also, Katherine Spring, ““To Sustain Illusion is All That is Necessary”: The Authenticity of Song Performance in Early American Sound Cinema,” Film History 23:3, Beyond Vitaphone: The Early Sound Short (2011): 285–99.
8 Spring, 91–92; from Film Daily (8 January 1919), 4.
9 Special thanks to Professor Matthew Mugmon for helping me shape many of my ideas and for guiding me through the process of writing this review.

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Philosophizing Rock Performance: Dylan, Hendrix, Bowie, Wade Hollingshaus, Scarecrow Press, 2013. 204pp. ISBN: 978-0-8108-8404-5. Cloth.
   Frederick Evans

“[Jimi] Hendrix’s death was ultimately a result of electrocution,” writes Wade Hollingshaus in the second chapter of his recent book, Philosophizing Rock Performance: Dylan, Hendrix, Bowie (44). At first glance, such a statement is perplexing, as there is ostensibly no dispute that his death in 1970 was drug related. But Hollingshaus’s odd assertion is not meant to revise history. He makes it clear early in the chapter: “I do not claim that the resulting [electrocution] narrative is in fact the ‘real reality’” (43). Instead, Hollingshaus’s concern is historiography. By presenting a conspicuously fictitious account of history, in this case that Jimi Hendrix was killed by an electric shock from the sky, and by illustrating how such an account can be generated, Hollingshaus hopes to “evidence that any writing of history—scientific, mystical, or otherwise—is subject to a procedure of fictionalization” (43). In other words, the author is focused less on the content of any particular history, and more on how a history is formulated. This idea is the overarching theme of Philosophizing Rock Performance.

Hollingshaus begins his study with the claim that positivistic historiography emergent from academe is antithetical to the ethos of rock, which is traditionally associated with rebellion against institutions at large. Thus, “if rock was about rebellion and resistance, then rock’s purposes would be better served through a historiographic approach that does not reinscribe the conservative logic of the Establishment” (xii). Hollingshaus’s solution is to incorporate the concepts and theories of certain twentieth-century Continental philosophers that he classifies as “anti-Establishment,” such as Jacques Ranciére, Jean-François Lyotard, Guy Debord, Giorgio Agamben, and others. By drawing on their ideas to reinterpret rock history, Hollingshaus hopes to produce “a historiographical practice more ethically appropriate for an exploration of rock” (xiv).

Significant to this methodology is the concept of “play.” In the introduction, Hollingshaus describes his book as “picking up, tossing about, and turning historical propositions inside out. Historiography, like rock and like philosophy, can be a resistive act of play, challenging the heterodoxies of the Establishment” (xv). The book is not meant to present a watertight intellectual argument to the reader, nor is it meant to tear down positivistic historiography (although it certainly tries to challenge it). In fact, the author would probably agree that each chapter is rife with tenuous analyses and frequent tangents that stray from the central arguments. But perhaps this is partly the point, as the main purpose of Philosophizing Rock Performance is “to play with conventional historiographies of these figures [Dylan, Hendrix, and Bowie] and attempt to bring to the surface ways of thinking ‘otherwise’ about them” (xv). Although Hollingshaus does try to present his ideas with the same rigor of any serious academic work, he is also willing to have some fun along the way.

The first chapter begins with a discussion of the role of protest in Bob Dylan’s identity. Hollingshaus asserts that how Dylan protests (whether through his music, through press conferences and interviews, or through his changing personas) is more pertinent to an understanding of his identity than what exactly he is protesting (be it social injustice, the Establishment, or labels). This separates Dylan from other politically minded folk figures of the time, like Joan Baez, where protest is a means to a specific end (i.e., social change). Hollingshaus is careful not to deny the possibility that Dylan too sought social change, but he argues that “Dylan’s protest was about the gesture itself,” or protest for the sake of protest (9). This is why Dylan’s identity has been so dynamic throughout his career, from the changing style of his music to the evolution of his dress and look. Dylan protested against categorization as much as he involved himself in political and social protest, and hence “Dylan’s work...engaged in a process of creating a reality in which he was always new” (17).

The crux of the chapter centers on Dylan’s famous, or infamous, performance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival where the crowd booed him off stage, apparently for performing with loud electrically amplified instruments. Rock aficionados refer to this as the moment Dylan “went electric.” Hollingshaus describes it as Dylan’s most “profound” gesture of protest—one that took the form of Dylan moving away from the folk roots for which he had been known up to that point and toward the genre of rock ’n’ roll (18). But more than just a mere change of style, Hollingshaus argues that, in Dylan’s work, a shift had taken place both in the nature of the artistic object (what a song actually is) and how such an object is meant to be perceived by the listener. Concerning the artistic object, the change from folk to rock signified a change in the nature of a song from something that is performed and that can subsequently be documented via recording to something that is a recording and that can be replicated via performance. An example of the latter is Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” which was performed at the Newport Festival. It is one of Dylan’s first songs ever to be written exclusively in a recording studio and “pieced together from various parts of a number of the twenty takes” (29). In other words, the song is the recording. This change in the nature of the artistic object also changes the way the artistic object is perceived. Hollingshaus explains that when a recording is interpreted as the definitive version of a song, as is the case in rock music, then the listener perceives the live performance as being “measured against the authoritative recording” rather than being its own complete and independent artistic object (31). At Newport, the audience had not yet heard the recordings of Dylan’s “electric” songs, such as “Like a Rolling Stone,” and therefore could not perceive the music appropriately (as recreations of the recording). This perceptual misunderstanding, argues Hollingshaus, is the real reason Dylan was booed at Newport—not because Dylan was performing with electric instruments. And “not until audiences had had the opportunity to hear the song multiple times on the radio did they really begin to hear the song, enjoying it for what it truly was” (32).

In the second chapter, Hollingshaus sets out to create a historical narrative that explains Jimi Hendrix’s death as a result of electrocution. This narrative is derived from Hendrix’s own spiritual understanding of the world—or, as Hollingshaus describes it, “the cosmology that was the foundation of Hendrix’s thinking about his music” (44). The goal is to “demonstrate how Hendrix’s death can be understood in the context of that same cosmology” (44). Integral to this “cosmology” are the ideas of the soul and electricity. For Hendrix, music was a force that could awaken an individual’s soul, or true self; and electricity, in a more spiritual sense, was the mystical force behind that process (64-67). In fact, Hendrix referred to his own music as “Electric Church Music.”

Hollingshaus’s reinterpretation of Hendrix’s death within this spiritual framework begins with a discussion of Hendrix’s belief that drugs could be used as a means toward greater spiritual awakening, or a “a way to open up the soul” (88). By 1968, growing success and popularity threatened to stifle Hendrix’s soul as demanding audiences became more interested in his celebrity than the atmosphere and spirituality of his music. As these outside pressures continued to escalate, so did Hendrix’s drug usage, and eventually “the charge just kept building up until it was too much for him to handle” (91). Hollingshaus concludes: “Hendrix’s voltage was so high that there occurred an electrical breakdown. The result was a blast of lightning that struck right through Jimi Hendrix” (91). The energy that fed into Hendrix’s music and lifestyle was also the energy that eventually caused him to burn out.

The idea that drives the chapter is an intriguing one: to generate a fictional narrative for the sake of illustrating how “any writing of subject to a procedure of fictionalization” (43). But Hollingshaus never follows through with this idea. In the fictional narrative he provides, Jimi Hendrix is said to have been electrocuted to death. But the term “electrocution” is used symbolically to describe Hendrix’s death, which, even in the fictional narrative, is attributed to increasing pressures and drug use. Notice Hollingshaus’s description of Hendrix’s demise: “Hendrix was a cloud...that kept building up charge until its voltage was so high that the dielectrics of the air between the cloud and the earth below were no longer strong enough to hold back the charge” (91). This is simply a metaphor, and one that does not offer a true alternative or fictional narrative. Instead, Hollingshaus retells the same story using different language and, as a result, he reaffirms the traditional narrative that he had promised to challenge.

In the third and last chapter, Hollingshaus argues that David Bowie embodies and expresses an explicit democratic political ideology even though he avoids overt political statements and associations in his work. This democratic ideology can be extrapolated from both the breadth of Bowie’s work (the vast number of artistic mediums he has participated in) and his dual relationship to rock culture (as both an “insider” and an “outsider” of rock) (95–96). The first point, regarding the breadth of Bowie’s work, is laid out in the first half of the chapter, where Hollingshaus highlights Bowie’s involvement not only in music, but also in painting, sculpture, theatre, film, and computer-based mediums (like CD-ROMs and the internet). Bowie seems to treat all art forms as equally valid, and has even stated that “once you have the tools then all the art forms are the same in the end” (97). This tendency towards inclusivity of art forms is, by nature, a democratic one. And thus, says Hollingshaus, “Bowie is able to conceive of all his activities in all the arts as one single democratic ‘flux of doing stuff’”(116).1

The second half of the chapter presents a more abstract argument. Hollingshaus places Bowie “between the Establishment and rock” and, in turn, as “politically emancipated demos”—supposedly free from the political constraints of either camp (141). He claims that “on the one hand, Bowie makes rock music and unabashedly challenges the heteronormativity of the Establishment. On the other hand, Bowie paints, sculpts, ‘sells out,’ and embraces alienation, thereby veering from and even against the heteronormativity of the rock order” (140–41). For Hollingshaus, Bowie is a figure “both authentic and inauthentic. He is both a rocker and a sellout...and because he is both, Bowie is able to succeed in emancipating himself politically and to demonstrate a commitment to democracy” (139). But Hollingshaus never satisfyingly explains why Bowie’s in-between status is necessarily a liberating, and not restrictive, condition. Moreover, Hollingshaus’s vague argument comes in the service of a rather unremarkable conclusion: “Art is inescapably political. And Bowie, as prolific as he is, as promiscuous with mediums as he is, and as unconventional as he is, cannot thus avoid being political” (141). Far from encouraging the reader to think “otherwise” (xv) about David Bowie in particular or rock history in general, Hollingshaus’s broad final claim seems to merely rehearse a well-worn idea about the inherently political nature of artistic creation.

Although readers may ultimately disagree about the extent to which this study changes the way they view rock history or the overall nature of historiography, two aspects of Philosophizing Rock Performance deserve to be highlighted. The first is Hollingshaus’s playful approach. He may or may not always be successful in “picking up, tossing about, and turning historical propositions inside out” (xv) in a way that yields intellectually stimulating results. Nonetheless, Hollingshaus’s attitude of “play” is certainly a welcome and refreshing one. Academe need not always be filled with heavy polemics and solemn inquiry, as playfulness can often enliven intellectual discourse (just think of the tradition of the thought experiment). Hollingshaus’s enthusiasm for rock is an additional highlight of this book. It is clear that the author writes not from the position of an outsider, but as a true fan of the music and culture. The book is filled with details, facts, and stories about each rock figure that only a devotee of the culture will truly appreciate. And in the end, Hollingshaus’s palpable love for the subject becomes Philosophizing Rock Music’s greatest feature.

1 The internal quotation is from the film Inspirations, directed by Michael Apted (Argo, 1997).

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Bulletin Board

Dedicated to the idea that music criticism can be both literate and fun to read, The Avid Listener (TAL) features weekly essays about popular, world, and Western art music written by both established and rising scholars from all over the English-speaking world. This up-to-the-minute accompaniment to Norton’s renowned music list gives readers the skills to analyze and discuss some of their favorite tunes while learning about practicing musicians, the industry, and new trends. With TAL, students discover how to listen broadly and deeply, to approach music with a curious spirit and a sense of adventure. Current and upcoming topics include modes of listening (avid, structural, spiritual, and distracted); hip-hop and cultural diplomacy; Ruth Crawford Seeger and the question of gendered music; musical signification in Casablanca; authenticity and interpretation in various repertories from the early music performance tradition; and essays highlighting recent books by Norton authors.

Instructors can integrate The Avid Listener ( into their music history and appreciation courses in a variety of ways; please contact the Co-Editors, Felicia Miyakawa <> and Andrew Dell’Antonio <>, for specific suggestions. The Avid Listener welcomes contribution proposals; please contact the Co-Editors for submission guidelines.

Felicia Miyakawa and Michael Fauver, Managing Editor of TAL, will be presenting about the project at the conference “The Past, Present, and Future of Public Musicology” at Rider University on January 31, 2015. (

Michael Ochs has been awarded a 2015 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for research toward his critical full-score edition of Joseph Rumshinsky’s Yiddish operetta, Di goldene kale (The Golden Bride), to be published in the American Musicological Society’s series, “Music of the United States of America” (for more information, see A concert performance with piano by the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene took place in New York on May 27, 2014. The same group will reprise its performance at Rutgers University on August 5, 2015, this time with a stage band.

E. Douglas Bomberger, Professor of Music at Elizabethtown College, has been awarded a grant from the Presser Foundation to write an article on the benefactor of the foundation, music publisher Theodore Presser (1848–1925). He would be grateful to hear from scholars or collectors with relevant source materials that they would be willing to share (sorry, no more issues of the Etude Magazine are needed at this time). Please contact him at

Deborah Schwartz-Kates was awarded a 2015 NEH Fellowship to 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. She is a Contributing Editor at the Handbook of Latin American Studies, an international reference source on Ibero-American scholarship that is produced at the Library of Congress. Recently, she was appointed to the Advisory Board of Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart.

Candace Bailey has been selected for a NEH Award for Faculty at Historically Black Colleges and Universities to pursue her project “Music and the Performance of Women’s Culture in the South, 1840–1870.” This award provides support for twelve months research and writing, similar to the more familiar NEH Fellowship in the Humanities. The book project is a follow-up to her 2010 Music and the Southern Belle: From Accomplished Lady to Confederate Composer.

Roger Hall has released an updated 6th edition of A Guide to Film Music (PineTree Press, 2014) as part of a multi-media DVD-ROM, which also includes 50 music examples and a half-hour video program. Hall, a respected film music historian and critic, member of the International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA), and Managing Editor of Film Music Review, is also a composer, and music examples from his one-act play, The Musical Telephone, are included. For more about this multi-media DVD-ROM go to

The Stanford Music Department and Archive of Recorded Sound has acquired the Denis Condon Collection of Reproducing Pianos and Rolls, a collection of over 7500 rolls and ten players. With this significant acquisition, Stanford is announcing a major initiative in paper music rolls and players that aims to bring attention to this important historical medium. Leading figures in the field of rolls and players are working along with Stanford faculty and staff on the project. The initiative will include cataloging the collection, roll preservation through scanning and digitization, restoration of instruments for playback, and research into under-represented or rare systems and rolls. Plans for the collection include making images and the sound of the recordings available online to the public at large.

This roll project follows on from established efforts at Stanford in historical performance research under the banner Reactions to the Record, which have established Stanford as a leader in the field. The roll collection will be housed at the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, a leading music archive with over 400,000 items in its permanent collection. The archive is located on the campus of Stanford University with its world-class music facilities including the newly opened Bing Concert Hall, where a concerto performance featuring rolls from the collection accompanied by the Stanford Symphony Orchestra is planned for Spring 2015.

Many of the rolls in the collection were recorded by major composers playing their own works, starting as early as 1904 and extending to 1941. Composers represented include Saint Saëns, Busoni, Bartók, Mahler, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Ravel, Scriabin, Stravinsky, Gershwin, Joplin, and Zez Confrey. In addition, many of the rolls are extremely rare and may be the only copy in existence, such as Franz Liszt’s Sonata in B minor played by Liszt’s protégé, Eugen d’Albert. The collection includes a wide selection of systems and rare rolls by Hupfeld, Art Echo, Welte (Red, Green, Licensee), Ampico (A,B), and Duo-Art. The instruments include a keyboardless Red Welte Steinway, two Ampico grands (Chickering and Marshall and Wendell), Hupfeld Animatic Phonoliszt, Behning Art Echo, and four Vorsetzer players (Ampico, Duo-Art, Welte Red, and Welte Green).

Following cataloging of the collection, announcements will be made regarding the collection’s public availability. Stanford is also interested in adding more reproducing piano rolls to its collection and is accepting donations of rolls that complement the collection. To make a donation or to inquire about other ways to assist in this important project, visit the project website at:

Conference News
For the latest informtion on the 41st annual conference in Sacramento, including a draft version of the conference program, please click here.

SAM members are encouraged to periodically check the Golden Pages website ( for updated information about additional forthcoming conferences in musicology.

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Margery Lowens (2 December 1930, Scranton, PA; 16 September 2014, Scranton, PA)

Judith McCulloh
Margery Lowens

Dr. Margery Morgan Lowens passed away on September 16, 2014, at the age of 83 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the city where she was born on December 2, 1930. A founding member of the Sonneck Society for American Music, her contributions of time and labor were instrumental in establishing the society in its early years, and her financial contributions were vital to its growing reputation in later years.

As a high school student in Scranton, Margery had already developed strong interests in music and autograph collecting. She founded the Eileen Farrell fan club by writing to admirers of the soprano throughout the country and gathering memorabilia related to her career. She earned a B.A. in organ performance from Syracuse University and an M.A. from Union Theological Seminary in New York. As a doctoral student in musicology at the University of Michigan in the mid-1960s, she began research on Edward MacDowell. Through her work with the extensive MacDowell materials in the Library of Congress she became acquainted with the assistant head of the Music Division, Irving Lowens. The two were married in 1969, and her groundbreaking dissertation on MacDowell’s New York years was completed in 1971. She wrote the MacDowell article for the 1980 edition of the New Grove Dictionary.

Irving Lowens resigned his position at the Library of Congress in 1966 to devote full time to his position as chief music critic at the Washington Star, a position he held until 1978. During those years Margery accompanied him to innumerable concerts, forging friendships with the leading performers and music scholars of the day. He became dean of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore in 1978. She also taught at Peabody, continuing her work there long after his untimely death in 1983. She was known as a tireless reader of dissertations, serving as advisor to numerous Peabody students and on committees at other institutions as well. When I asked her to sit on the committee for my 1991 dissertation at the University of Maryland, she devoted generous amounts of time to reading and commenting on the drafts, pointing out errors and suggesting avenues for further research.

In the early 1970s, with the bicentennial of the United States approaching, Margery and Irving recognized that American music scholarship was still held in low regard in the musicological community. He proposed creating the Sonneck Society during the 1973 “Music in Colonial Massachusetts” conference, and as Dale Cockrell noted in his citation for Margery’s 1997 SAM Distinguished Service Award:

It was she who personally addressed and sent 161 letters to people she believed interested in American Music, inviting them to meet at the Iron Gate Restaurant in Washington in 1974. More than 100 expressed interest, and 75 came. Irving Lowens, her husband, was elected chair pro tem, and the Society was born. Irving was elected president at the first membership meeting of the new Society in 1975, and served until 1981. During all those years, the First Lady was not only a constant supporter, but amanuensis, gofer, publicist, exhorter, organizer, and companion.

She subsequently served as first vice president (1983–1987), book review editor (1985), and archivist (1987–1993). She proudly told me last year that she had missed only two of the Society’s forty conferences. She could be seen in the audience of nearly every session on nineteenth-century music, and she was an active participant in the silent auction bidding, where she could never resist an esoteric item related to her broad scholarly interests. Friends remember her infectious laugh and her incisive sense of humor. According to Garo Yellin, son of the late Victor Fell Yellin, “She and Irving were friends of my parents since I was a child and after Irving and my mother died my father, Victor Yellin, and Margery had a long, dynamic romantic relationship.”

Margery will also be remembered for her philanthropy. Following Irving’s death, she established memorials to him in the form of an annual award for the best book in American music (first awarded to Charles Hamm in 1983), the best article in American music (first awarded to Scott DeVeaux in 1991), and the best student paper delivered at the spring meeting of the Capital Chapter of the AMS (starting in 1987). She donated Irving’s personal collection of early American songsters as well as his music commonplace book collection to the American Antiquarian Society. She endowed the Irving and Margery Lowens Reading Room of the Michele Smith Performing Arts Library at the University of Maryland-College Park. Starting in 1986, she began transferring to the library the peerless collection of books, manuscripts, and other research materials that she and Irving had accumulated through two lifetimes of avid collecting.

Margery Morgan Lowens exemplifies the small group of scholars who committed themselves to establishing the Society as a means to promote American music. Her loyalty to the Society and the scholarly discipline it represents was unwavering, a reminder of the debt of gratitude that we owe to these pioneers.

E. Douglas Bomberger

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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 2015 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.

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.

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.

Graziano Fellowship
This fellowship, endowed by John and Roberta Graziano, shall be given to support scholarly research in all genres of music that originated in the United States in the nineteenth century, as well as other music performed in North America during that historical period.

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.

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.

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