Report on the Annual Business Meeting (March 17, 2012)
Neil Lerner, Secretary
The Society for American Music held its Annual Business Meeting on Saturday, March 17, 2012, at the Hilton Charlotte Center City, site of the Charlotte conference. SAM President Katherine Preston opened the meeting with a hearty “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” and proceeded to describe the various conference successes of the past few days, including the usual collegiality and scholarship as well as a visit to nearby Davidson College for papers and a concert, a forum of African-American composers, and the electrifying performance by Doc Watson at his Honorary Membership ceremony. Preston shared two communications the Board recently made on behalf of the Society, first with filmmaker Ken Burns, in which we offered the expertise of SAM members for future documentary projects, and a letter to the president of Columbia College urging against the serious budget cuts planned for the Center for Black Music Research. She also explained the creation of two committees: the Committee on Committee Governance, designed to coordinate our committee structure and clarify terms and responsibilities, and the Committee on the Conference, intended to examine matters related to how we organize our annual conferences; while currently ad hoc committees, the membership will be offered a chance to vote on adding these into our By-Laws at next year’s meeting. Preston ended her report by welcoming incoming Board members David Brackett and Mark Clague and then offering her gratitude to the chair of the Local Arrangements Committee (Neil Lerner) and the Executive Director, Mariana Whitmer.
After a motion from Deane Root (seconded by Anne Dhu McLucas) to approve the Minutes from the 2011 Annual Business meeting, the meeting then shifted to a moment of silence for the memorial tribute to those members who passed away during the past year: Frederick B. Crane; David Sanjek; Caldwell Titcomb; Fred Steiner; Nicholas Tawa; Ora Frishberg Saloman; Charles Hamm.
|Students perform at the opening reception. Photograph courtesy Michael Broyles|
Treasurer Douglas Bomberger’s report drew attention to two things, first, that because of the roller coast of the stock market last year, we ended the year about where we began it, and second, that the deficit on the operating budget can be accounted for with the timing of some payments and some temporary editorial expenses. The recently revised dues structure is expected to help us continue to do the things we want to do as a Society, and overall, we are in good shape.
Leta Miller, the outgoing editor of the Journal for the Society for American Music, thanked the many people who work on the journal, including the editorial board, the anonymous reviewers, and also the people who submit their work. Incoming editor Mark Katz described the strong health of the journal as reflected in an increasing number of institutional and individual subscribers as well as a remarkable 78% increase in downloads from 2010 to 2011. Katz ended his report with a plea for the broadest possible spectrum of submissions, pointing in particular to these underrepresented areas: music before 1850; music of all of the Americas; disciplines outside musicology; and recent popular music. The editor of the Bulletin, Kendra Preston Leonard, described the recent shift from print to mainly on-line publication, explaining that the change will save the Society money on printing and postage while also allowing for more space. She wants to expand the number and type of reviews as well as see more short articles, even report of works in progress.
The chair of the Long Range Planning committee, Vice President Denise von [sic] Glahn, shared the ongoing development of our future as dictated from an online survey and the members forum held at the Cincinnati conference in 2011. The LRPC has distilled a number of mandates from this feedback and continues to work towards these goals. In a related presentation, bruce mcclung, the new chair of the Development committee, spoke of how the long-range planning goals have been distilled into six tangible fundraising goals: support for research; expand resources for excellence in American Music; subventions; support for student members; support for our publications; and to ensure the financial stability of the Society.
The new chair of the Public Relations committee, John Spilker, invited the submission of relevant press releases (such as from the various award committees) and described the ongoing work with social media, while the co-chairs of the Student Forum, Jennifer Myers and Brian Jones, shared that about 125 students had attended the Charlotte conference, with about 60 of them giving presentations.
After hearing from the chairs of the Charlotte Program Committee and Local Arrangements, W. Anthony Sheppard and Neil W. Lerner, the meeting turned to future conferences, beginning with next year’s conference that will be hosted by the University of Arkansas. Local Arrangements chair Karen Bryan described several of the attractions awaiting us in Little Rock, and Program Committee chair Steven Baur announced a June 1 deadline for conference submissions along with two seminar topics: improvisation and music history pedagogy. Updating us on the work of the Conference Site Selection committee, Sandra Graham shared that the 2014 meeting will be in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, while there are hopes of having a conference in California in 2015.
The meeting next turned to the announcing of several honors and awards from the Society. The Sight & Sound Subvention, chaired by Tim Brooks, goes to Jamie C. Davidson for “How Ya Gonna Cross that Water?: New Orleans Second Lines as Experiential Media for the Visually Impaired.” Chair Lee Orr told how the H. Earle Johnson Publication Subvention will go towards two projects: Sheryl Kaskowitz, God Bless America: The Surprising History of an Iconic Song, and Carol Hess, Representing the Good Neighbor: Music, Difference, and the Pan American Dream. John Koegel, chair of the Adrienne Fried Block Award, announced this year’s recipient: Carolyn Guszki, “Race at the Opera: Artists of Color at the Metropolitan, 1916-1926.”
President Katherine Preston and Program Committee Chair W. Anthony Sheppard. Photograph courtesy Michael Broyles
Sally Bick, chair of the Cambridge University Press Award, reported that because there had been no submissions, there was no winner this year, and she explained the nature of this award for international scholars and appealed to anybody involved with scholars abroad to encourage them to apply. The Wiley Housewright Dissertation Award, chaired by Sandra Graham, read a citation for this year’s winner, Nathan Platte, with a dissertation titled “Musical Collaboration in the Films of David O. Selznick, 1932-1957.” Steven Swayne announced the winner of the Irving Lowens Article Award: Amy Wlodarski for “The Testimonial Aesthetics of Different Trains” (published in the Journal of the American Musicological Society). Recognition of the Irving Lowens Book Award, which went to Larry Stempel for Showtime: A History of the Broadway Musical Theater, was read by Judith Tick. Christopher Wilkinson announced the recipient of this year’s Mark Tucker Award: Glenda Goodman, for “A ‘Phrenzy of Accomplishments’; or, the Power of Sentimental Songs.” Finally, the Lifetime Achievement Award was read by Deane Root in recognition of Donald Krummel and the Distinguished Service Award, announced by Anne Dhu McLucas, was given to Paul Wells.
President Preston then thanked for their service those members of the Board who were rotating off: Members at Large Daniel Goldmark and Tammy Kernodle, and Past President Thomas Riis. After Preston opened the floor for any issues to be raised and then hearing none, Christopher Wilkinson moved (and Scott DeVeaux seconded) that we adjourn, which we did at 5:30 p.m.
Development Committee Report
bruce mcclung, chair
I am pleased to report that since the Society’s 37 Annual Conference in Cincinnati the Development Committee has held monthly conference calls, convened for a weekend retreat in Atlanta this past January, and exchanged copious e-mails and ideas. These discussions have resulted in the crafting of a development plan for the Society.
We began by reviewing the summary data from the Long-Range Planning Subcommittee’s 2011 SAM Online Survey. From that data, we learned what the collective membership values and how it envisions the Society’s future. Next we translated those values and aspirations into six tangible goals: (1) to initiate support for new research in American music, (2) to expand our awards for excellence in American music scholarship, (3) to increase subventions in order to reflect the diversity of modern scholarship, (4) to support the Society’s print and online publications, (5) to enhance the support for student members, and (6) to ensure the long-term financial stability of the Society.
To realize these goals, the Development Committee is planning a major initiative, and we will be sharing the details about it at the 39th Annual Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. In closing, I would like to acknowledge the dedication and esprit de corps of my colleagues on the Development Committee: Douglas Bomberger, Maribeth Clark, James Deaville, Katherine Preston, Thomas Riis, Denise Von Glahn, and Mariana Whitmer.Seminars in Charlotte
Jim Deaville and Kendra Preston Leonard
As organizers of this year’s SAM seminars, “Music and Disability” and “Music in/on Television,” we wish to thank our presenters and audience participants for their conscientious preparation and lively discussion. By all accounts (including our own), the four sessions (two per seminar) were quite successful, providing basic information about these new areas of research, specific cases for closer examination, and issues for collective discussion.
We feel that the panels afforded new perspectives on and insights into both of these topics. The papers for television music covered a variety of televisual contexts for music, ranging from the late 1940s through the present, from live classical and country music to classic—and not so classic—composed scores, from children’s programming to telenovelas and televised dance competitions. We examined in detail music in programs like Hawaii Five-O, Sesame Street, Austin City Limits and Treme, and considered such issues as a new semiotic space of television music, musical television episodes, live performance of classical music in early television and Toscanini on tv. Both sets of discussions were wide ranging, but on the first day, presenters and audience spent time reflecting on medium specificity (what makes these musical practices televisual), while the second session’s conversation focused on what might be called the “liveness aesthetic” of music on television. The animated participation of both presenters and audience reflects a general interest in this new field of serious research.
The Music and Disability seminars focused on two sub-topics: Musicians and Disability and Autism and the Musical Representation of Disability. Paper topics included disability and outsider music, music in/and Deaf culture, the disabled bodies of musicians, music in the discourse of autism, music and euthanasia, and works by autistics. Leading music and disability scholar Joseph Straus served as our respondent for both sessions, and after discussion by the panelists about their work and its intersections, we opened the floor to comments and questions from attendees. The seminars took place in packed rooms, attesting to the level of interest by SAM members in this growing and important field of research.
For those unfamiliar with the format of the seminars, here is how they work: A proposal for a seminar is sent to the program committee for consideration. Once the topic is accepted, a call goes out to SAM members to put forward a paper abstract for one of the year’s seminar topics. The abstracts are adjudicated at the same time as the open call for papers, only the seminar organizer also has a role in assessing the abstracts. The program committee assembles one or two seminar sessions from the proposals, with the understanding that the selected seminar contributors have only 5 or 10 minutes presentation time at the conference session itself. To that end seminar participants must post a completed paper well in advance of the conference (by January 15), so that all panelists (and audience members) can read it and participate in an informed discussion at the session.
The seminar format allows for focused discussion and real dialogue between scholars, and we highly recommend it to other SAM members for future meetings.
Doc Watson: Old Made New
Doc Watson is a national treasure, a musicianer of remarkable creativity and soul who drank deeply of our American song in forging a traditional music that was freely unfettered from tradition. Doc Watson absorbed the sounds of balladry, shape note hymnody, Carter Family gospel, and fiddle tunes and transformed them through his imagination, his voice, and his guitar into a fresh and vibrant new language that honored the past while embracing the future. Doc understood just how to make the old new.
Born in the rugged mountainous country of Wautauga County, North Carolina in 1923, Arthel Lane Watson grew up with music closely tied to home and hearth. Each evening a bedside verse of Bible would be washed down with singing from William Walker’s seven-shape hymnal, the Christian Harmony. Number 341 was “The Lone Pilgrim,” one of Doc’s deepest memories. One Christmas Doc’s father, General Dixon Watson, slipped a harmonica into his son’s stocking, and six-year old Doc was trying to coax fiddle tunes out of that harmonica right away.
Doc encountered ballads and lyric folk songs through his mother, Annie Greene, who sang about the house, coupling the tempo and cadence of chores with ballads like “Omie Wise,” the story of a girl seduced and killed in a nearby North Carolina community. He also learned frolic songs like “Shady Grove” from his father. When Doc was about ten years old his father built him a banjo with a maple hoop and groundhog hide—later replaced by the hide of an old family cat. Doc learned to play two-finger style—a regional technique forming a bridge between old-time frailing and more modern Bluegrass picking—by watching his father and his brother Arnold.
About this time, the family purchased a Victrola and Doc was introduced to hillbilly recordings by the Skillet Lickers from Georgia, Charlie Poole from North Carolina’s piedmont area, and the Carter Family from Virginia. Firmly rooted in his local music, Doc was gaining a larger regional perspective as country music itself began to expand beyond its local boundaries.
At age ten Doc entered the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh, where his musical horizons were expanded by radio and recordings that introduced him to classical music and to progressive musicians including Django Reinhardt, the Monroe and Delmore Brothers, and Opry entertainer Uncle Dave Macon, innovative performers who took traditional material and created something different as the emerging commercial media demanded new wine in the old skins.
|Doc Watson performs at SAM conference. Photo courtesy of Gregory N. Reish.|
Around age thirteen, Doc started playing a guitar with a school friend, Paul Montgomery. Back home for a visit, Doc was chording a guitar that his brother Linny had borrowed. Their father said that if Doc could learn a song by the end of the day he would buy him a guitar. When Doc’s father came home, his son managed to sing the Carter Family’s “When the Roses Bloom in Dixieland,” so his dad went to North Wilkesboro and brought home the Stella that launched Doc’s flatpicking style.
Doc and Linny started playing at community gatherings in the brother duet style of the Bolicks, Monroes, and Delmores. His guitar playing evolved from a Carter Family thumb-lead style to a flatpicked style influenced by Jimmie Rodgers and the Delmores. In 1947 Doc married Rose Lee Carlton, whose father Gaither was a local fiddler from whom he learned fiddle tunes and songs. By 1953 Doc was playing electric guitar with Jack Williams and the Country Gentlemen, making the old new by picking out fiddle tunes on his Les Paul electric guitar during local dances. By now, Doc had a head full of songs, fingers full of notes, and was creatively fashioning something new and unique from his treasury of tradition.
Ralph Rinzler and Doc Watson: (Re)Presenting the Folk
I’m quite pleased to see this award going to an extraordinary musician, Doc Watson, who lives some two hours northwest of here. One can only speculate about his life had Ralph Rinzler not accompanied Eugene Earl to western North Carolina in 1960 to meet and hear Clarence “Tom” Ashley. At that point Doc’s public musical persona was firmly planted in popular music—playing electric guitar in a local rockabilly/country swing band—but Ralph soon discovered the depth of Watson’s music, which ranged from ballads to fiddle tunes adapted to the guitar to sacred songs. Ralph also discovered that the Doc wasn’t the only talented member in his family; his late son Merle was an excellent guitar player while his father-in-law (Gaither Carleton) played banjo and fiddle. Rinzler encouraged Doc to explore the music associated with his family and community, and Mr. Watson is now world-renowned for his wide-ranging repertoire and high level of musicianship.
Although Ralph Rinzler “managed” Doc Watson (as well as Bill Monroe) in the early-to-mid 1960s, Ralph did more than simply set up live musical performances. He helped Watson navigate his way out of the Watuaga County, North Carolina welfare system. As Watson performed for more audiences outside of western North Carolina, Rinzler worked hard both to document and to spread Doc’s Deep Gap music. Many people, myself included, first became acquainted with songs like “Shady Grove,” “Soldier’s Joy” or “House Carpenter” due to Doc’s records and live performances from the early 1960s into the present day. In retrospect their relationship transcended that of performer/manager; rather it was a collaboration that benefited both men in many ways and remained firm until Rinzler died in 1994. We are very fortunate that Doc Watson is still playing and with us today.
Doc Watson—Personal Reflections on his Music
When I got my first guitar in 1975 at the age of ten, I wanted to play rock music. The sounds of acoustic guitars and a commercialized “folk” style could be heard in the house from my older brothers’ Bob Dylan and Neil Young records, but I was certainly not immersed in traditional American folk music at home. My first formal guitar teacher, who was neither a great musician nor an innovative pedagogue, did have a few moments of brilliance—one of which was introducing me to the music of Doc Watson. Once I heard Doc’s seminal recording of “Black Mountain Rag,” I was hooked. Although I was never able to play it as cleanly as Doc, from that moment I considered myself a flatpicker.
As I discovered more of America’s traditional musical styles through my teenage years, Doc Watson always seemed to be at the core, an entrée into both older and newer styles. Through Doc’s music I found my way to the pre-war music of the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, and the Skillet Lickers; to the first-generation bluegrass of Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs; to the classic country of Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, and Eddy Arnold; to the country blues of John Hurt and Frank Hutchison; and to the contemporary and progressive flatpicking of Clarence White, Norman Blake, and Tony Rice.
Now, years later, I approach these musics not solely as a performer but also as a scholar, with a focus on the evolution of vernacular American guitar styles; once again Doc Watson stands at the center of this astonishingly complex story. In his unassuming way, he has been a primary conduit between the older and newer styles, country and bluegrass, old-time music and folk revivalism, between tradition and innovation. Listen to Doc’s recordings from the 1960s and you will hear Riley Puckett, Alton Delmore, Jimmie Rodgers, Maybelle Carter, and Merle Travis revitalized and transformed. Listen to the music of Clarence White, Tony Rice, Dan Crary, Bryan Sutton, or any of today’s hot acoustic flatpickers showcasing their virtuosity in Nashville clubs and studios, and you will hear Doc Watson. He may not have been the first to play a fiddle tune on guitar (see Joe Maphis and Jimmy Bryant), nor the first to fingerpick accompaniment to an old-time song for urban folk audiences (see Mike Seeger and Dave Van Ronk), nor even the first to flatpick a lead guitar break in a string-band setting (see Don Reno and George Shuffler). He was, however, the man who brought all of these streams—and indeed, many others—together, changing the landscape of American music forever. Thus I am humbled and deeply honored to stand before you as a representative of the Society of American music to award Doc Watson, truly one of my lifelong musical heroes, with our honorary membership.
Report on the Early American Interest Group Meeting
Ten people attended, and seven others expressed interest, but were unable to attend due to conflicts. It would seem the group is alive and well, and, considering the very lively discussion, well on its way to productive activities.
Following a review of how interest groups function and introductions of attendees, discussion turned to suggestions that had been sent to David Hildebrand, the group’s chair:
1. Joice Waterhouse Gibson had suggested (i.) compiling an annotated resource list of archives, digital databases, etc.; (ii.) sharing research/grant-writing opportunities and calls for proposals related to early American music; and (iii.) sharing information about performances and revivals of works.
2. Elissa Harbert would like a discussion of interdisciplinary conferences that might welcome proposals on early American music issues. Glenda Goodman suggested that we reach out to other early American groups, such as the Society for Early Americanists, the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, and the Nineteenth Century Society. Action: following enthusiastic responses, Kim Pineda volunteered to develop a wiki-website covering all the above items. Once he has the mechanics worked out, he will need input from all members of the group to accomplish these goals.
3. Glenda Goodman would like to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of taking a transatlantic approach to early American music in the 17th and 18th centuries. She wondered if a seminar session would be productive. Action: since the deadline for seminars for the 2013 meeting has already passed, Glenda plans to work on such a seminar for 2014. Note: through emails following the meeting, Glenda plans to form a panel devoted to transatlanticism and submit it to the program committee for 2013. She would be very happy to hear from people who may be interested in giving papers on this topic.
4. Future Projects: the group’s next formal meeting will be in Pennsylvania in 2014. Since this will be the 40th anniversary of the Society, some discussion of the original 1976 Revolutionary supper will be considered, such as the entertainment and especially the Benjamin Franklin shrub. David Hildebrand would also like to discuss priorities for future collaborative projects.
5. Note that while the formal meeting of the interest groups is limited to every other year, there is no restriction for groups to meet informally for breakfasts, dinner or other free time.
American Band History Research and the Dance Interest Groups Hold Joint Session
Craig B. Parker
The American Band History Research and Dance Interest Groups met jointly at the 2012 SAM conference. This session, titled “Play Something We Can Dance To: Band Music and the Dance,” featured musicologist Raoul F. Camus and dancers Renée Camus Bradley and Alex Bradley. The aim of this lively session was to demonstrate many of the dances which were popular in 19th- and early 20th-century America, as well as the proper tempos used for each dance. To open the session, Renée Bradley Camus and Alex Bradley demonstrated fundamental dance steps such as the walk, run, hop, leap, jump, shuffle, skip, slide, and galop. Raoul Camus then spoke about the various social conventions in 19th-century American ballrooms as well as the proper tempos for each standard dance.
After the introductory commentary, the following dances were demonstrated, with the appropriate recorded music from the band repertoire: polonaise (Presidential Polonaise by John Philip Sousa), Viennese waltz (Sousa’s La Reine de la Mer Waltzes and Belle of the Ball by Leroy Anderson), slow [box] waltz (“Wallflower Waltz” from Suite of Old American Dances by Robert Russell Bennett), polka (Sound from the Black Hills Polka by Felix Vinatieri), galop (Sousa’s On Wings of Lightning), circus galop (Steeplechase Galop by Russell Alexander), schottische (“Rainbow Schottische” from the 1854 Brass Band Journal and Sousa’s Silver Spray Schottische), the two-step (Sousa’s Washington Post), the one-step (The Junk Man Rag by C. Luckyth Roberts), and the fox-trot (Sousa’s Peaches and Cream).
Camus stressed the importance of John Philip Sousa in popularizing new dance forms during his dozen years as conductor of the U. S. Marine Band and forty years of touring with his own professional concert band. To reaffirm Sousa’s importance in dance music in America, Camus quoted the September 10, 1899 article in the New York Times which claimed that the popularity of Sousa’s marches, which commonly accompanied the two-step, had “killed the waltz unconsciously.” At the conclusion of this joint interest group meeting, the majority of the audience joined the presenters in dancing the two-step.
Mid-April is a great time to be in Southern California, but those of us who attended the film music Symposium at California State University at Long Beach, did not have an opportunity to see much sun. However, the time spent inside the Gerald R. Daniel Recital Hall was enlightening and entertaining. Sub-titled “Musico-Dramatic Practice and Knowledge Organization,” the Symposium focused on the musical connections between nineteenth-century accompaniments to stage productions and more recent film soundtracks. As William Rosar, the principal organizer of the Symposium pointed out in the Program Introduction, “To a greater or lesser extent current practice can be seen as ‘new wine in old bottles,’ because while musical styles have changed, the same underlying musico-dramatic schema has remained relatively unchanged.”
|From L to R: SAM Members Nathan Platte, Katherine Preston, Anne Dhu McLucas, Mariana Whitmer, and William Rosar|
Our exploration of the correlation between the old and new covered a wide spectrum. The program offered a variety of anticipated topics, including Sarah Bernhardt, comparing the performance practices of her staged plays with silent films, and more than one discussion of the melodramatic clichés typically found in Westerns (both American and Mexican). A closer examination of these generic musical expressions, or melos, was approached from several different directions. Anne Dhu McLucas traced the utilization of the “hurry” across different eras and types of dramas, while Tobias Plebuch provided an overview of these “topics” from the organization perspective of Hans Erdmann. Stephen Meyer discussed the Wagnerian leitmotiv connection. There were also some surprising connections with melodrama, such as Bernard Herrmann’s modular scores (we all walked out of that presentation singing “Jeepers, Creepers”), John Williams’ Jaws and its imitators, the regeneration of Rebecca, and Elmer Bernstein’s scores. Moreover, Frank Lehman selected James Newton Howard’s King Kong and James Horner’s A Beautiful Mind to demonstrate how transformational theory can be applied to the analysis of film scores.
One of the highlights of the Symposium was the examination and performance of Ben-Hur, “Music from America’s Most Watched Melodrama.” A presentation on the history of the novel and its many adaptations was complemented by an orchestral performance of excerpts from the silent film score.
The Symposium was capped off by a discussion of sources available to researchers of film music. Led by Leslie Anderson, Arts Librarian at Cal State Long Beach, the panel featured Warren Sherk, from the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, and DeDe Burns from the Los Angeles office of ASCAP. Their presentation and discussion provided a helpful overview of their holdings and how tangential primary source materials (such as letters and production notes) can be exceedingly helpful when studying a film’s score.
Many thanks to William Rosar for organizing this fascinating and informative event, and particular appreciation to Leslie Anderson for pulling together the many logistical details that went into making this Symposium such a success! The program and abstracts can still be accessed at:
The Archive of Recorded Sound has completed the processing of four significant collections under the sponsorship of the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation which are now ready for use by researchers, students, musicians, and the public. The creators of all four collections have California connections, but their work and influence extended far beyond state borders to distant regions of the world. The four collections that have been organized, arranged, and described in finding aids, which can be viewed on the Online Archive of California, are the Yehudi Menuhin, the Jascha Heifetz, the Lawrence Tibbett, and the Ambassador Auditorium Collections. (http://www.oac.cdlib.org/institutions/Stanford+University::Stanford+Archive+of+Recorded+Sound)
|Privately produced Leopold Auer recording, signed by the artist on June 7, 1920, from the Jascha Heifetz Collection|
Located in the City of Pasadena, the Ambassador Auditorium hosted many of the most highly regarded concert musicians and popular entertainers in the world. From its opening night on April 7, 1974 to its closing in May, 1995, the Ambassador, often called “the Carnegie Hall of the West,” presented a veritable who’s who of luminaries in the world of music, dance, and popular entertainment. Among those who performed there were Artur Rubinstein, Leontyne Price, Victor Borge, Andrés Segovia, Barbara Cook, the Juilliard String Quartet, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma, Bob Hope, Marcel Marceau, Claire Bloom, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Ravi Shankar, the Dance Theatre of Harlem, and many others. The Ambassador Auditorium Collection consists of thousands of documents related to the business, marketing, publicity and promotion operations of the hall as well as photographs (many of which are autographed), posters, concert programs, commissioned original artwork, and perhaps most important of all, hundreds of audio and video recordings of live performances.
Spanning 75 years, the career of Yehudi Menuhin included work as a virtuoso violinist as well as a highly respected conductor. The Yehudi Menuhin Collection, assembled by his family, consists of fifty-four 78 rpm recordings from 1938 through 1950 of Menuhin performing violin works, often accompanied by his sister, Hephzibah.
The Jascha Heifetz Collection, donated by the violinist’s longtime friend and record producer at RCA Victor, Jack Pfeiffer, includes not only Heifetz’s own performances but also his personal collection of recordings made by other artists. The Heifetz Collection, consisting of over a thousand discs and reels produced from 1911-1972, includes the rare, privately made recording from 1920 of Heifetz’s teacher, Leopold Auer, among other treasures.
|Aluminum transcription disc, dated February 26, 1935, from the Lawrence Tibbett Collection|
The Lawrence Tibbett Collection, consisting of 98 records documenting the middle years of the baritone’s career, who sang for 27 seasons at the Metropolitan Opera (1923-1950). The collection contains an outstanding performance of a pre-premiere recording of Howard Hanson’s Merry Mount, from January 1934 and also contains Tibbett’s well known renditions of popular songs, such as Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oh, what a beautiful mornin’” and Harold Arlen’s “Accentuate the positive,” performed on live radio programs in the 1940s. For more information and to use the collections, contact the Stanford University Archive of Recorded Sound (email@example.com; (650)-723-9312; https://lib.stanford.edu/ars).
The International Society for the Promotion and Research of Wind Music (IGEB), is proud to announce the winners of the Thelen Prize for 2012. The prize, awarded biennially, memorializes Fritz Thelen, one of IGEB’s cofounders. It will be presented at the conference in Coimbra, Portugal, between July 12 and 17, 2012.
The 2012 Screening Committee (Wolfgang Suppan (Pürgg, Austria), Raoul Camus (New York, USA), Hellmut Mahling (Mainz, Germany)) and the 2012 Selection Committee (Klaus Aringer (Graz, Austria), Robert Grechesky (Indianapolis, USA), Francis Pieters (Kortrijk, Belgium) choose the following outstanding dissertations in the field of wind music research:
David Gasche, PhD, ”La musique de circonstance pour Harmoniemusik à Vienne (1760-1820),” Universities of Vienna (A) and Tours (F), 2009; and Peter Heckl, PhD, ”W. A. Mozarts Instrumentalkompositionen in Bearbeitungen für Harmoniemusik vor 1840,” Oberschützen (A), 2011.
|Katherine K. Preston, SAM President|
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I write from Los Angeles, where a number of SAM members gathered this past weekend to participate in a Symposium titled “From Nineteenth-Century Stage Drama to Twenty-First Century Film Scoring.” This two-day event, held at the Cole Conservatory of Music of the California State University/Long Beach, was jointly sponsored by CSULB and the Society for American Music, and was a terrific example of the type of scholarly outreach in which the Society can engage through joint sponsorship of regional or topic-specific conferences. Some speakers at the Symposium—especially those who presented papers on the first day—focused on the practices and techniques used by composers of theatre music (especially the composers of “melos” for melodrama). For some scholars of film music attending the symposium, the idea that certain of the techniques used by film composers had been developed by theatre-music composers of the nineteenth (and even the eighteenth) centuries was a revelation. This sense of an underlying compositional continuity in music for the theatre (whether live drama or film), in fact, functioned as background for all of the papers presented in this Symposium. The Society was well represented at the event, and a number of scholars who were once SAM members indicated their intention to rejoin the Society, influenced at least in part by the caliber of the scholarship presented by current members.
This Symposium was an example of the type of conference-related outreach about which the Board has expressed great enthusiasm. Collaboration with other societies or groups on topic-specific or regional conferences helps the Society by raising our profile, broadening our base, and even increasing our membership. At the same time, our status as a national organization helps with the promotion of the conference itself. We would like to pursue more such collaborative ventures in the future; if you have suggestions, please contact Board members with your ideas.
The just-concluded Symposium came hard on the heels of our 38th annual conference, which was held (at the time I’m writing) precisely a month ago, 14-18 March 2012, in Charlotte, North Carolina. The conference attracted over 400 attendees, another record-breaking attendance marker, and was an outstanding gathering of historians, performers, and composers of American music. The level of enthusiasm at the conference was palpable. As usual, the meeting itself attracted a wonderful mixture of old and new—as well as senior and junior—members. I attribute the high level of enthusiasm characterized by the last two conferences (Cincinnati and Charlotte) to the survey that the Long Range Planning Committee conducted in early 2011. The results of that survey, which were published in the pages of this Bulletin and on the Society webpage, reflect a sense of mission that was in many ways uncannily unified; the survey itself created a renewed sense of direction and shared purpose among members. The program committee for Charlotte, under the leadership of Tony Sheppard (Williams College) put together a program that was inclusive and extraordinarily representative of the diversity of American music scholarship; the local arrangements committee, spearheaded by Neil Lerner (Davidson College) arranged for a variety of special events that likewise represented the wealth of American musical styles and genres. We owe thanks to our members who worked hard on both the program and long range planning committees, to our local host (Davidson College), and to the Davidson Friends of the Arts, the Levine Museum of the New South, and the Piedmont Music Center of Winston-Salem NC (which lent us—gratis—several pianos to use during the conference).
We continue to experiment with the format of our conferences, and the Charlotte meeting included several examples of information- (and music-) sharing that went well beyond the paper-presentation format. There were two seminars (Music and Disability; Music and Television), a roundtable discussion (“The Black Composer Speaks”), poster sessions, interest group meetings, several forums, panels, and receptions. There were SAM-sponsored concerts like the annual Sacred Harp Sing and Brass Band concert, as well as the increasingly popular SAM JAM (folk and traditional music) and a rock concert. There were also special events: the GospelSHOUT concert at Davidson College, a performance of art songs by composers T. J. Anderson and Adolphus Hailstork as part of the “Black Composers Speak” roundtable, and lecture-recitals on topics as wide ranging as Dominican nationalist art music, the guitar styles of Maybelle Carter and others, music of the Nickelodeon, and music by Lou Harrison for resophonic guitar. The Honorary Member this year was Doc Watson, and following the ceremony he played some eight or nine tunes for those in attendance; this was truly a special treat. We also tried out a pair of sessions jointly sponsored by SAM and the Society of Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era; the opportunity for historians to share their insights about late nineteenth-century America—and to learn about the important musical developments of that period from music historians—was a successful experiment that we will surely want to replicate in the future.
|Poster sessions. Photograph courtesy of Michael Broyles.|
Immediately after the Charlotte meeting, the Membership Committee launched a post-conference survey that had a response rate of roughly 50% of attendees. A quick scan of the results (the survey concluded only three days ago) indicates that the responses reflect the diverse interests, opinions, and goals of SAM members. The seminars were solidly praised by many (although there were dissenting voices); some members believe that there are too many concurrent sessions (with too many choices of good papers) while others want even more options. Some respondents like the idea of moving some sessions to the evenings or to our (now-free) Friday afternoons; others vehemently disagree. A large majority (91%), however, considered the topics covered in the conference to be adequately varied and representative of the wealth of American musical styles. Information gleaned from this survey will be used by the Committee on the Conference (chaired by Anne Dhu McLucas) in its deliberations about future changes to our annual meeting; if you have ideas or suggestions, please share them with her.
Annually, some one-third of our members attend our national conference. The concern that was most frequently raised (in the survey) about conference attendance was related to its cost. We try very hard to keep the conference and hotel fees reasonable, and regularly change the location of the conference to different parts of the country so that travel cost is minimized for at least a portion of the membership for each meeting. Next year we will be meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas; in 2014 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. For the subsequent years we are looking at a major east coast city and a location on the west coast. If you have never attended one of our conferences, I hope that the description of the successful meeting just concluded might whet your appetite. We welcome all members (new and old) to our meetings and go out of our way to welcome new faces. Please consider attending the conference next year or the year after; we would love to have you join us at what many SAM members consider to be one of the most important functions of the Society.
Katherine K. Preston
Brian Jones and Sarah Suhadolnik, Student Forum Co-Chairs
The Student Forum had a great conference this year in Charlotte! We all enjoyed spending time with friends, both old and new, in the active community of students at SAM. Special thanks to Beth Levy, Dale Chapman, Laurie Matheson, and William Gibbons for sitting on our Student Forum panel, “Navigating the Job Market”—giving students and recent graduates illuminating perspective on academic careers and publishing. Thanks also to everyone who donated, volunteered, and bid on items in the Silent Auction. This year’s auction was a success! Proceeds contribute to the student travel fund, helping even more students attend the conference in the future.
We’d like to give our enthusiastic thanks to Jennifer Myers, who has finished two years of service as co-chair of the Student Forum, and we are happy to welcome Sarah Suhadolnik as the incoming co-chair. We invite all students to join our Facebook group (“Society for American Music Student Forum”) and to sign up for the Student Forum listserv to keep up to date on the latest news for SAM students. If you would like to get involved in student happenings for next year’s conference, feel free to contact co-chairs Brian Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sarah Suhadolnik (email@example.com). This is your Forum, and we’re excited to have everyone involved! Looking forward to seeing you all next year in Little Rock.
Journal of the Society for American Music
Volume 6, Number 2 (April 2012)
Diasporic Dialogues in Mid-Century New York: Stefan Wolpe, George Russell, Hannah Arendt, and the Historiography of Displacement
Jazzing the Classics: Race, Modernism, and the Career of Arranger Chappie Willet
Reminiscence, Reflections, and Resonance: The Just Intonation Resophonic Guitar and Lou Harrison’s Scenes from Nek Chand
Begin Again: A Biography of John Cage. By Kenneth Silverman. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010.
Sound Diplomacy: Music and Emotions in Transatlantic Relations, 1850–1920. By Jessica C. E. Gienow-Hecht. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.
The Sound of Broadway Music: A Book of Orchestrators and Orchestrations. By Steven Suskin. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
The Theater Will Rock: A History of the Rock Musical, from Hair to Hedwig. By Elizabeth L. Wollman. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2006.
Tap Dancing America: A Cultural History. By Constance Valis Hill. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
There Breathes a Hope: The Legacy of John Work II and His Fisk Jubilee Quartet, 1909– 1916
Sandra Jean Graham
You’re A Grand Old Rag: The Music of George M. Cohan
Wet Ink Ensemble, New Works for Small Ensemble
Rorem: The Auden Songs, The Santa Fe Songs
Ralph W. Cato
Thea Musgrave Choral Works
Matthew L. Garrett
The National Jukebox: Historical Recordings from the Library of Congress www.loc.gov/jukebox.
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 Tom Riis, Chair of the SAM Publications Committee, at Thomas.Riis@Colorado.edu.
The Society is pleased to welcome the following new members:
Charisse Barron, Houston, TX
Zachary Bernstein, New York, NY
Tyler Bickford, Brooklyn, NY
Nelly Bruce, Middletown, CT
Darren Campion, Portland, TX
David A. Chapman, Richmond Heights, MO
Louise Chernosky, Cranford, NJ
Lucy Church, Tallahassee, FL
David Clem, Eggertsville, NY
Sarah Dorsey, Greensboro, NC
Rebecca Eaton, Austin, TX
Jesse Feyen, Mississauga, ON Canada
Giacomo Fiore, San Francisco, CA
Rebecca Fülöp, Ann Arbor, MI
Naomi Graber, Chapel Hill, NC
Emily M. Gale, Charlottesville, VA
Kyle Gann, Germantown, NY
Sherry Good, Shipshewana, IN
Roberta Graziano, Flushing, NY
Brenton Grom, Cleveland, OH
James Grymes, Charlotte, NC
Monica Hairston, Chicago, IL
Harold Haughton, Petersburg, VA
Elizabeth Hoover, Pittsburgh, PA
Blake Howe, Baton Rouge, LA
Jean L. Hutchinson, Louisville, KY
Thomas Jacobsen, New Orleans, LA
Jeannette Jones, Maynard, MA
Jesse P. Karlsberg, Atlanta, GA
Peter Kupfer, Dallas, TX
C. Megan MacDonald, Tallahassee, FL
Nicole Malley, Galesburg, IL
Aaron Manila, Cleveland Heights, OH
Darren Mueller, Boulder, CO
Richard Nangle, Somerville, MA
Jordan Newman, Cincinnati, OH
Blue O’Connell, Charlottesville, VA
Geraldine Ostrove, Bethesda, MD
Jenna Palmer, Huntington, WV
Samuel Parler, Cambridge, MA
Michelle Patterson, Jefferson, MD
Kim Pineda, Eugene, OR
Chris Peck, Charlottesville, VA
Marcie Ray, East Lansing, MI
Daniel Rhode, Coopersville, MI
Clare Robinson, Berkeley, CA
James Schneider, Olympia, WA
Natalie Shaffer, Fairmont, WV
Jonathon Smith, Knoxville, TN
Joseph Straus, Princeton, NJ
Amanda Lynn Stubley, Chapel Hill, NC
Yoko Suzuki, Pittsburgh, PA
Katherine Teck, Lanexa, VA
Matthew Toth, London, ON
Gregory Turner, Cary, NC
Gaia Valeria Varon, Milano, Italy
Steve Waksman, Northampton, MA
Lindsay Wright, Philadelphia, PA
The Musical Ear: Oral Tradition in the USA (SEMPRE Studies in the Psychology of Music), Anne Dhu McLucas. Ashgate, 2010. 208pp. 978-0-7546-6396-6. Cloth.
In the last decade, scholars in the humanities have become increasingly interested in the discoveries emerging from the field of neuroscience, which has revealed that brain architecture and neurological processes exert a profound influence on the creation and reception of expressive cultures. Patricia Cohen, reporting for the New York Times on March 31, 2010, observed that the recent integration of neuroscience in literature studies has created the potential “to provide empirical evidence for unprovable theories” and may “not only [offer] unexpected insights into individual texts, but . . . answer fundamental questions about literature’s very existence.” Similarly, the halls of music departments around North America have been filled with discussions of two recent bestselling books exploring the neurological and evolutionary bases for human musical instincts: Daniel J. Levitin’s This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession (Dutton, 2006) and Oliver Sacks’s Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain (Knopf, 2007). Such discussions have renewed interest in the field of music cognition, which dates back to the mid-1980s with the publication of John A. Sloboda’s The Musical Mind: The Cognitive Psychology of Music (Oxford, 1985), David J. Hargreaves’s, The Developmental Psychology of Music (Cambridge, 1986), and W. Jay Dowling and Dane L. Harwood’s, Music Cognition (Academic, 1986). Building a foundational understanding of the ways that the brain processes musical utterances and the effects of that processing on human musical activity, recent publications by David Huron, Pirkko Moisala, Michaál Houlahan, and Philip Tacka offer fertile ground for scholars working in a wide variety of musical subdisciplines.
Anne Dhu McLucas, in her recent volume The Musical Ear: Oral Tradition in the USA, seeks to explore the role that the brain and its complex functions play in the rich tapestry of oral/aural musical traditions in the United States and, more importantly, to explain the impact of the neurological processes on musical structure, memory, and creativity. McLucas has developed an exceptional record of publications exploring the many points of intersection between oral and written traditions in American music and its antecedents, publishing widely on Appalachian balladry, the musical practices of the Mescalero Apaches, Scottish hymnody, and the “Indianist” music of such composers as Arthur Farwell and Amy Beach. Her work has revealed a methodological flexibility that effectively captures the constant interplay between vernacular and cultivated musical traditions in the United States and has explored how oral and written practices interact to effect musical composition. Not surprisingly, then, The Musical Ear bears the traces of McLucas’s holistic understanding of American musical traditions and musicological methods, offering a survey of the potential applications of neuroscience to the study of oral tradition in the United States. The Musical Ear synthesizes a remarkably wide field of literature and musical practices to suggest that “the power of American music exists chiefly in its oral tradition” (p. 1) and to call for a sort of “people’s history of American music” (á la Howard Zinn) that eschews a “composer-driven music history” that tends to marginalize oral/aural practices and their practitioners (p. 5).
The Musical Ear is organized into a series of chapters presenting dozens of examples of oral/aural traditions in American music ranging from the “old way” of singing represented in the Bay Psalm Book to the vast musical repertories that “millennials” carry with them as a consequence of their near-constant engagement with (or bombardment by) music in their daily lives. Each chapter is followed by a brief interlude that summarizes recent research in neuroscience and cognition that is intended to contextualize the musical practices described in the preceding pages within the context of specific brain functions. Although each of these sections bears the mark of McLucas’s attentive and detailed scholarship, the separation of the musicological and neuroscientific discussions often forces the reader to draw conclusions that are not stated explicitly in the text. As such, McLucas presents many avenues for future research in the neurological bases of oral/aural musical traditions and for the application of neuroscience to musicological research.
One particularly fruitful area for further research revealed in The Musical Ear is the role that the three known forms of memory—echoic, short-term, and long-term—play in shaping the musical structure of specific compositions, the creative role of musicians within those oral/aural traditions, and the ways that people learn and remember within these traditions. In the first two chapters and their subsequent interludes, McLucas draws upon such diverse examples as the Appalachian balladry of Hazel Dickens, the songs of the girls’ puberty rite of the Mescalero Apache, the Irish-American fiddling of Kevin Burke, and the construction of beats by Portland, Oregon musician Andrew Glennon (known to his peers as Pegee13), suggesting that, despite generic distinctions, these musical processes are all fundamentally based in the ability of human memory to process, store, and recall musical utterances. Neuroscientists have demonstrated that short-term memory can process between three and five seconds of musical material, during which time the brain splits the utterance into melodic contour (processed in the right hemisphere of the brain) and tempo and rhythm (processed in the left hemisphere). Extrapolating from those observations, McLucas suggests that, in a manner similar to the Serbo-Croatian epic singers examined in Albert B. Lord’s The Singer of Tales (Harvard, 1964), musicians working within oral/aural traditions often recall only the outlines of a song when cued by a text, motor memory, or social settings and then use their creativity, governed by the aesthetics of the community within which they work, to generate individual and often irreplicable performance. Moreover, as McLucas discusses in the second interlude, phrase length and repetition within musical compositions (as exemplified by “the hook” in popular songs) may be profoundly yet unconsciously shaped by the brain’s ability to process and recall musical material.
After exploring the impact of cognitive processes on musical structure and style, McLucas turns in the third chapter to the interaction of oral and written traditions in American music. Offering a broad survey of American music history from the Bay Psalm Book to the compositions of Michael Daugherty, McLucas rehearses several well-known case studies, sometimes in a very cursory manner, of composers who drew upon oral/aural musical practices in their work. From the vast web of memory enacted in the quotations, allusions, and paraphrases heard in the compositions of Charles Ives to the heavy reliance on published collections of folk music by composers such as Arthur Farwell and Aaron Copland, these case studies reveal that the ways that a composer experiences oral/aural musical practices affects the form, structure, and style of individual compositions. Unfortunately, the organizational structure of this chapter forces readers trained in music to draw their own connections. For instance, McLucas offers a tantalizing morsel of analysis when she suggests of Charles Ives that “the tunes Ives heard [prior to his Yale days] became embedded in his works in much the same way a tune becomes embedded in our memories: snatches of it appearing fleetingly, as if at the margins of our memory, until we finally give in and sing along mentally with the whole tune. In so many of his works, Ives introduces fragments and hints of a melody before the whole rendition of it. Is this just a technique, or might it also say something about the very process of remembering tunes?” (p. 105). Rather than exploring this provocative question further through a more careful examination of the rich writings on Ives’s borrowing practices and her own musical analysis, McLucas shifts gears abruptly to begin talking about Ives’s engagement with ragtime. Moreover, the chapter ends with a brief discussion of the ways that oral/aural practices and the authority of pedagogical lineages play in shaping performance in contemporary classical music that is not clearly connected to the preceding discussion. The rich body of case studies presented here may have precluded McLucas from undertaking a detailed examination of them, but in drawing our attention to them, she encourages the reader to pursue the topic further.
In the final chapter and interlude, McLucas interrogates the musicality of contemporary American culture, seeking to determine if ready access to recordings and printed musical notation have reduced or eliminated key oral/aural skills in the general populace. Drawing upon surveys of her students at the University of Oregon, in-depth interviews with students and staff, and participant-observation, she determines that, although many cultural commentators would like to suggest that the decline of the symphony orchestra and the rise of downloaded music in the United States has been detrimental to American musicality, the opposite is true. Respondents revealed that, as a consequence of their daily listening habits, they carry with them a repertory of between 100 and 1000 individual compositions, many of which are recognizable to them within a matter of seconds. Moreover, drawing on recent scientific studies of audiation and visualization, McLucas notes that most Americans have the ability to recall precise characteristics of individual compositions without needing to externalize the sounds they hear. Finally, after examining the important role that timbre and melodic contour play in building the parent-child bond within the first few hours after birth, McLucas theorizes that the profound emotional ties that most people feel toward musical compositions may have deep roots in human evolution.
McLucas’s The Musical Ear is a broad-ranging study of oral/aural musical traditions in the United States and the cognitive processes that influence transmission, perception, and creativity within them. The greatest strength of the book, as it is in McLucas’s entire corpus of scholarly work, is the breadth of her knowledge and her desire to make connections between seemingly disparate and unrelated fields of inquiry, repertories, and methodologies. McLucas’s efforts to bring contemporary neuroscience research to bear on the rich oral musical traditions of the United States are certainly much needed, and her broad approach to the subject reveals that there are numerous directions for future work in this still emergent area of musicological research. Focused analysis of the effects of cognitive processes on the ways in which American composers have engaged with oral traditions will provide valuable new insights, and further studies of the effects of cognition and memory on the transmission of oral/aural musical traditions may offer new pedagogical models that will help to guarantee the persistence of endangered musical practices for generations to come. As such, McLucas raises numerous questions that, if explored further, may very well result in a more thorough understanding of the fundamentally human nature of music-making.
Cambridge Companion to the Musical, edited by William A. Everett and Paul R. Laird, 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press, 2008. 372pp. ISBN 978-0-521-86238-7. Hardcover.
In 2002, Cambridge published the first edition of The Cambridge Companion to the Musical. Edited byPaul Laird and William Everett, it offered an accessible collection of essays suitable for undergraduates interested in the genre’s history, and helpful to scholars beginning research on musical theater. Published only six years later, the second edition of the Companion fills a similar pedagogical and scholarly role. The changes to the second edition, however—there are five new essays, two revised essays, and a new sectional heading—suggest that scholarship on the musical has shifted over the course of the past decade. In this regard, the 2008 version of The Cambridge Companion to the Musical offers a unique perspective on musical theater research, demonstrating where it has been and where it is going.
The Companion’s organization exemplifies a traditional approach to musical theater historiography. Laird and Everett retain the first edition’s chronological structure and arrange sixteen of the nineteen essays under three sectional headings: “Adaptations and Transformations: Before 1940,” “Maturations and Formulations: 1940–1970,” and “Evolutions and Integrations: After 1970.” To be sure, this periodization provides a practical entry into the material, especially for readers unfamiliar with the history of the musical. Terms like “maturation,” “evolution,” and “integration,” however, do not simply imply the passage of time; rather, they suggest a particular way of understanding the American musical. Like many other narratives of musical theater, this type of sectional division indirectly privileges the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals of the 1940s and 1950s, implying that earlier traditions evolved into the mature Rodgers and Hammerstein model, which later artists followed to produce more fully integrated works.
Despite the volume’s layout, few of the Companion’s individual authors focus explicitly on any evolutionary narrative, especially in Part I. In her survey of American musical theater traditions in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Katherine Preston reminds readers that genres of musical theater cross-pollinate more than they remain separate entities. John Graziano discusses the portrayal of black characters in shows produced from the late-nineteenth century to the 1930s, tracing how “two contradictory goals”—to entertain and to enlighten—encouraged both demeaning minstrel stereotypes as well as more empathetic and progressive portrayals of African Americans. Orly Leah Krasner summarizes musical theater trends in the first two decades of the twentieth century, most of which extend the theatrical traditions described by Preston. William Everett’s revised essay examines how Rudolf Friml and Sigmund Romberg transformed operetta for a post-World War I context, offering observations on how the composers use mode, meter, and rhythm to signify characters’ gender and cultural identities. Geoffrey Block, meanwhile, explores musical comedies of the 1920s and 1930s, focusing on prominent songwriters, and placing their work in the cultural and economic context of the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression. Rodgers and Hammerstein are not absent from these chapters—after all, both men began their careers in the first half of the twentieth century—but they do not overshadow the complex and rich history that these authors describe.
Part II covers the so-called Golden Age of the musical, and not surprisingly, Rodgers and Hammerstein are quite prominent, rightfully so. Ann Sears’s essay, and her following chapter with Thomas Riis, lay out the origins of the famed partnership, the conventions of their musical plays, and, in the latter essay, the shows influenced by their aesthetic. The works of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, Jule Styne, and Frank Loesser receive prominent attention here, but so do many long forgotten musicals from the 1940s, demonstrating just how influential Oklahoma! was in the years immediately following its premiere. bruce d. mcclung and Paul Laird’s essay on Kurt Weill and Leonard Bernstein distances itself from Part II’s focus on Rodgers and Hammerstein and outlines similarities in the composers’ musical aesthetics. But in their conclusion, even mcclung and Laird cannot escape mention of the prominent songwriting team: “in an age when many were content to follow the lead established by the success of Rodgers and Hammerstein,” they argue, Weill and Bernstein “continued to challenge Broadway’s prevailing norms” (p. 201).
The majority of the chapters in Part III examine parallel yet stylistically different trends on and off Broadway after 1970, that is, post-Rodgers and Hammerstein. Jim Lovensheimer examines the “concept” musicals of Stephen Sondheim and finds a common theme, that of “a disenfranchised member of society, a non-conformist” (p. 206). Paul Laird addresses productions created by Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, Michael Bennett, and others, whose shows strove “to combine new musical styles and contemporary thinking with tradition, building upon the genre’s proud history” (p. 220). Scott Warfield explores the difficulty in defining the “rock musical,” a phrase first associated with Hair and its imitators in the 1960s. Paul Prece and William A. Everett provide an overview of the megamusical through the works of producer Cameron Mackintosh, songwriters Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Finally, Bud Coleman summarizes recent Broadway trends in a chapter new to the second edition. Most of the shows he describes fall into the very subgenres and categories delineated in the Companion’s previous chapters: operettas, “ethnic” musicals, integrated musicals, concept musicals, “dansicals,” and rock musicals. Perhaps Broadway has returned to a chaotic mess of musical traditions not unlike the mix of genres Preston describes in the nineteenth century.
Or perhaps the musical of the twentieth century—even during the Golden Age—was never quite as codified as some histories suggest. Two essays, original to the first edition and reprinted in the second, call for a more diverse definition of the musical, one that looks beyond New York and beyond the stage. The first, John Snelson’s “’We Said We Wouldn’t Look Back’: British Musical Theatre, 1935–1960,” included in Part II, provides both an overview of musical theater in Britain and a careful consideration of why so few of the British shows are remembered or revived. Snelson suggests that a “Broadway-led agenda” has shaped the critical reception of many West End musicals from the 1940s and 1950s, denying “British shows their own home character” even though “it is precisely this character that explains why [they were] successful despite being apparently so out of step with the prevailing notion of a modern ‘post-Oklahoma!’ musical” (p. 138). In some ways, a similarly American focus guides the Cambridge Companion to the Musical. For example, the lack of attention to British musicals—Snelson’s chapter is the only one that specifically addresses the West End—is surprising given that the Companion claims to “trace the development of the musical both on Broadway and in London’s West End” (p. i).
Similarly, Graham Wood’s “Why Do They Start to Sing and Dance All of a Sudden? Examining the Film Musical,” highlights the stage bias of musical history and of the Companion more specifically. “Stage and screen musicals are indisputably and intimately connected in terms of their history, content and style,” Wood writes, “and must be considered as such if a full picture of either genre is to emerge” (p. 306). To be sure, many authors in the Companion reference film: Everett addresses film adaptations of operettas; Block nods to Hollywood adaptations of 1930s stage shows; Sears describes the film versions of the Rodgers and Hammerstein plays; and both Warfield and Coleman note the prominence of film-to-stage productions in the past few decades. Besides Wood’s essay, however, original Hollywood musicals receive no focused attention, even though their history is as complex as the twentieth-century stage musical.
The second edition of The Cambridge Companion to the Musical begins to address some of these issues with the addition of a fourth section, titled “Legacies and Transformations,” which, in addition to Wood’s essay, includes two new chapters by Laird and Jessica Sternfeld. Laird offers a production history of Wicked, utilizing his own interviews with creators Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman. While his account of their collaboration provides an interesting case study of Broadway’s working process, Sternfeld’s essay more directly confronts the criticism at hand. She summarizes recent revivals, film adaptations of stage shows, television musicals, original cast recordings, and musicals on DVD, reminding readers that an original Broadway production is not always the most popular nor most accessible version of a show for many viewers and listeners. Her chapter, paired with Wood’s, points to the musical’s existence in many different media, all of which require further research.
Laird and Everett also add two essays to the second edition that expand the Companion’s coverage of non-English and non-American musicals. John Koegel’s “Non-English-Language Musical Theatre in the United States,” included in Part I, examines “ethnic” theater of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century immigrant communities. In his overview of Spanish, French, Italian, German, Scandinavian, Finnish, Chinese, and Yiddish musical theater traditions, Koegel promotes a comparative study of musical theater, providing examples that come not only from theatrical productions and published sheet music but also from recordings and films. Meanwhile, in Part III, Judith Sebesta’s chapter, “’Something Borrowed, Something Blue’: The Marriage of the Musical and Europe,” turns to an international context. Sebesta explores “borrowed” musicals, i.e. European productions of megamusicals and well-known Anglo-American shows, and “new” musicals, i.e. the French, German, and Austrian shows that imitate the structure and conventions of American musicals but in many cases draw on “European subjects and themes” (p. 276). With both the borrowed and the new, issues of national identity arise. Sebesta’s attention to the confusing nature of identity in an era of globalization make her essay an important contribution to a collection of essays mostly focused on “American” works in American contexts.
Collectively, the original essays by Snelson and Wood and the new chapters by Sternfeld, Koegel, and Sebesta suggest that the history of the musical is not limited to New York, nor is it to be found only on the stage. More daringly, they imply that a history of musical theater need not pivot around the “integrated” Rodgers and Hammerstein model, as The Cambridge Companion to the Musical’s own sectional divisions indicate. At conferences and in casual conversations, many musicologists have voiced doubts about evolutionary approaches to the musical, the privileging of the Rodgers and Hammerstein aesthetic, and even the notion of integration itself. Yet few music scholars have offered sustained critiques of such ideas in print, despite the fact that theater historians have done so for more than a decade. In this light, the second edition of the Cambridge Companion offers a timely glimpse into current musical theater scholarship. The organization and sectional titles point to the linear and integrationist approach that has dominated the history of the musical in the twentieth century, while the content of several chapters—especially those new to this edition—suggest alternate approaches and a broader conception of what a musical looks and sounds like. As Laird and Everett themselves note in the preface, the authors who contributed to The Cambridge Companion to the Musical take different approaches to the topic at hand, and it is this aspect that is the collection’s greatest strength.
Alicia Koger has already questioned the linear, evolutionary methodology prevalent in many book-length studies of musical theater, especially accounts by Cecil Smith (1950), David Ewen (1958), and Ethan Mordden (1976). More recently, Scott McMillin has suggested that integration theory is “one product of the desire to elevate the form,” while Bruce Kirle has challenged “formalistic” studies of the musical that privilege integrated book musicals. See Koger, “Trends in Musical Theatre Scholarship: An Essay in Historiography,” New England Theatre Journal 3 (1992): 69–85; McMillin, The Musical as Drama (Princeton University Press, 2006); and Kirle, Unfinished Show Business: Broadway Musicals as Works-in-Progress (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005).
Of the three authors cited above, Koger is an associate professor of theater history and dramaturgy at the University of Oklahoma; McMillin, an Elizabethan scholar, taught in the English department at Cornell; and Kirle served as a lecturer of music theater at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama.
Women in American Musical Theatre: Essays on Composers, Lyricists, Librettists, Arrangers, Choreographers, Designers, Directors, Producers and Performance Artists, ed. by Bud Coleman and Judith A. Sebesta. McFarland, 2008. 282pp. ISBN-978-0-7864-3382-7. Paper.
Bud Coleman and Judith Sebesta’s essay collection, Women in American Musical Theatre, delivers exactly what it promises: a wealth of information about female figures in the history of American musical theater that provides an impressive step forward in reinstating these important figures into the male-dominated narrative. The editors acknowledge both that the field has often been resistant to women in non-performance roles, and that history has marginalized even the most influential women who managed to make their way into the center of the field. The collection’s goal is not a political or feminist one, they posit; these are not gendered readings of shows or characters, but rather are mostly straightforward historical reports of women’s jobs and accomplishments, as well as their web of connections to the more familiar male players.
Since each chapter is by a different scholar, the approaches vary quite widely, and indeed several engage in gendered readings of lives and work. Some authors dwell at length on the challenges gender created for their subjects (and in the process engage in feminist scholarship and gendered readings). Others simply report on their subjects’ careers. A handful take some time to analyze their subjects’ work, often with an eye toward gender. As a result of this range of tones and topics, reading the essays from cover to cover can be a bit disorienting, but for the purposes of scholarship on any of the time periods, people, or professions covered by this volume, most chapters stand successfully on their own merits and will satisfy many users (including students).
The essays are arranged in chronological order, and also by profession; hence, the first chapter is about female lyricists for early musicals and operetta, and it is not until chapter eight (of eleven) that we meet female directors. This structure is enlightening in itself, demonstrating that some fields (lyrics, production, design, choreography) were far more receptive to women early in the twentieth century (and in some cases have even grown less welcoming), while others (like directing) have only recently made room for women in mainstream or high-profile musicals. A few highlights will help convey the kinds of approaches the authors take in this collection.
In the first chapter, “‘Will You Remember’: Female Lyricists of Operetta and Musical Comedy,” Korey R. Rothman describes the careers of three early lyricists (Rida Johnson Young, Anne Caldwell, and Dorothy Donnelly), and analyzes their lyrics through the lens of what these authors wrote for and about female characters. Rothman argues that the lyricists seem to have downplayed their artistry and importance so as not to risk their tenuous presence in the theater world, and she sees this delicate balance reflected in the words the lyricists placed in their characters’ mouths. “We must be careful about making women ridiculous” on stage, Rothman quotes Young as asserting; Young feared losing female audience members put off by silly, perpetually obedient female characters (p. 27). In chapter two, “Hallie Flanagan and Cheryl Crawford: Women Pioneer Producers of the 1930s,” Barbara Means Fraser presents readers with a wealth of information about the careers of these two women, but strays a bit too far into the unknowably personal; the essay feels like a tell-all biography as we learn that Flanagan considered herself a failure as a mother and wife, without any indication that this perceived failure played a role in her work.
Anna Wheeler Gentry’s chapter, “Twentieth-Century Women Choreographers: Refining and Redefining the Showgirl Image,” reads the work of early female choreographers by examining how each approached the image of the showgirl or dancing female figure, thereby going a welcome step beyond a mere recounting of the facts to provide a useful interpretation of her subjects’ work. In “A Composer in Her Own Right: Arrangers, Musical Directors and Conductors,” Jennifer Jones Cavenaugh highlights the career of arranger and dance music composer Trude Rittman, who, like her male counterparts, is far more vital to our understanding of beloved classic musicals than histories usually acknowledge. This chapter should be especially useful to scholars and students not just of gender studies, but of the oft-discussed and oft-taught hit musicals of the 1940s and 50s (Rittman had a hand in far more of them than one might think, including, for example, nearly every note of “The Small House of Uncle Thomas” in The King and I). Cavenaugh illuminates not only Rittman’s extensive musical contributions, but also her deft handling of her many famous co-creators, including an often difficult and seemingly ungrateful Richard Rodgers, who for the most part handed Rittman nothing but what she called “songs” and left her to create choral music, arrangements, and dance numbers (p. 85). Cavenaugh notes that of all of the directors, composers, and choreographers with whom Rittman worked, only Agnes DeMille, sympathetic to her plight as a woman in a man’s world, publicly acknowledged and praised her work.
In chapter eight, “ ‘Open a New Window, Open a New Door’: Women Directors Take the Stage,” Anne Fliotsos uses statistics to trace how many female directors have worked in various venues (Broadway, off-Broadway, tours, etc.), but the result boils down to what one would have expected, that there have usually been few and that the road was rough for them. The second half of the chapter delves deeper, rewarding readers with balanced looks at three of the leading directors of recent years (Schulman, Daniele, Taymor), offering biographical background, career highlights, the women’s own thoughts on being minorities in the field, and a few words about their styles and philosophies as directors. A similarly useful balance of history and analysis is struck by Sebesta in her chapter about lesser-known recent composers and lyricists (Swados, and the team of Cryer and Ford), making this an especially useful chapter for teaching in a theater survey or as a model for students’ own writing.
While the best of these essays demonstrate a careful balance, several of them focus a bit too much on how hard it is to be a woman, with barely a mention of what a particular woman’s work actually looks or sounds like. In “Working with the Boys: Women Who Wrote Musicals in the Golden Age,” Gary Konas offers a confusing and occasionally insulting look at mid-century lyricists and composers, often measuring them by a “standard” set by their male counterparts and finding that the women tend to come up short. Although it would be counter-productive simply to champion everything created by women, a far more useful approach would be to judge the work on its own merits rather than perpetually frame it with work of more successful and well-regarded men. Konas, for example, argues that Mary Rodgers never “reached the heights” of the work of her father Richard (assessing her not simply as a composer, but as a daughter of a much more successful father, and even marking her as a failure in comparison to her more accomplished son, Adam Guettel). He also says that his subject lacks the “harmonic sophistication” of Sondheim, and has a “narrower vocabulary” than her (male) peers (p. 121). He notes that Betty Comden’s lyrics (with Adolph Green) for Subways are for Sleeping was not among their “better efforts” (p. 106) because their hearts were not in it, but he fails to explore the implications of this judgment. Is Comden incapable of rising to the occasion, doing her job when called upon? Are we meant to learn something about women in this field, and assume that they simply take whatever work they can get? What does it mean that she had a male partner? Unfortunately, as Konas attempts to explain why so few women have success as lyricists or composers, he ends on a painful example of blaming the victim: “Women have sometimes been complicit in the domination against them.” His “proof” is a lyric Mary Rodgers wrote for a kids’ show: “It takes three to make music . . . the man who writes it, the men who play it, and the folks they’re playing it for.” He makes no effort to explore why she might have chosen to cast the roles of writer and performers as men, but simply assumes—despite the fact that she is herself a female creator—that she somehow chose to perpetuate (or she unconsciously repeated?) the discrimination because it is “perfectly natural” for her to convey this message (all p. 122).
Only one chapter feels out of place in this volume; in “From Revolution to Revelation: Women Performance Artists and the Transformation of American Musical Theatre,” Woodrow Hood discusses artist/composers like Laurie Anderson and Meredith Monk, who create something one might call music theater in the broadest sense. But while it can be argued that these women use some elements of American musical theater in their work, the results are not musicals. Their works are based on their individual visions, and their goal is to present their own points of view with themselves in the starring role; these are not collaborative efforts by a team of creators to tell a story via a cast of hired performers. Certainly these women composer/performers are worthy of study, but their work is so far removed from the musicals discussed in all of the other chapters that this essay feels tacked on, and only serves to highlight the fact that the rest of the collection does not discuss performers.
Happily, this collection as a whole makes it abundantly clear that not only have women always been consciously, tactfully, skillfully embedded in and aware of their positions in the roles of musical theater creators, they have had an enormous impact in all of their fields, and our narratives of musical theater history need to open and stretch to accommodate these major figures. Coleman and Sebesta, and their authors, have done a great service to the field. One hopes that the impact of this excellent collection, with its very few flaws, will help change the story we teach, and eventually make itself obsolete—that there would no longer be a need for a separate book about women in musical theater.
Little Rock, Arkansas
6-10 March 2013
The Society for American Music invites proposals for papers, organized panels of 3-4 papers, concerts, lecture-performances, papers for the two seminar format topics, and scholarly posters for its 39th Annual Conference, 6-10 March 2013, in Little Rock, Arkansas. The online submission deadline for all proposals is 8 June 2012.
We welcome proposals involving all facets of musical life throughout the Americas, and American music and aspects of its cultures anywhere in the world. We especially welcome proposals addressing the following themes:
- Music and Electoral Politics
- Music of the Ozarks and Mississippi Delta
- Music and Civil Rights
- Arkansan Composers (such as Florence Price and William Grant Still)
- Arkansans in Vernacular Musics (such as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Louis Jordan, Al Green, Levon Helm, and Pharoah Sanders)
Research Poster Sessions
The poster format provides an opportunity for SAM members to meet informally with authors and discuss research. Each author attends her/his respective 90-minute session, distributes abstracts, and answers questions. Supporting sound and/or video examples (on personal computers and utilizing battery, rather than A/C power) will be coordinated with other presenters once the Program Committee has formed sessions.
Interest Groups with a guaranteed slot for 2013 are requested to convey a brief description of their plans to the Program Committee using the online submission system not later than August 1 to ensure proper scheduling and room assignments. Interest Groups without a guaranteed slot for 2013 may submit panel proposals via the online submission system if they wish, but acceptance or rejection of these proposals will be at the discretion of the Program Committee.
Concerts and Lecture-Performances
Proposals for concerts and lecture-performances of music from anywhere in the Americas are welcome.
All proposals should be submitted in the usual way by the regular SAM deadline, except that the specific seminar topic should be clearly specified. Unless the author specifies otherwise, abstracts not accepted for either of the two seminars will be considered by the program committee for one of the regular sessions.
Although papers for the seminars will not be “read” in the traditional sense, the act of participating in the seminar as a presenter and defending the ideas of one's paper constitutes the same level of participation in an academic conference as would a normal paper. For this reason, those submitting abstracts toward a seminar cannot also submit toward a regular session.
The seminar topics selected by the Program Committee for the 2013 conference in Little Rock are:
1) “Musical Improvisation and Identity”
In the past several years, a significant and growing body of scholarship on musical improvisation has coalesced into a new field of inquiry known as “critical improvisation studies.” This scholarship has encompassed a variety of musical genres and employed a diverse array of methodologies. Some scholarship has taken a philosophical or cognitive approach in order to investigate the question, “What is improvisation?” Other work has argued that improvisation can only be understood in relation to its historical and cultural contingencies. This seminar hopes to stimulate a dialogue between philosophical, cognitive, and phenomenological approaches to improvisation and historical and cultural ones. Is it possible or necessary to conceive of “improvisation” as a single entity with cross-cultural characteristics that can be located and described? What are the advantages and/or disadvantages of doing so? On the other hand, when investigating how race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, class and other identities may play through improvisation, is it possible to discuss the actual phenomenology of this practice?
One impetus for this seminar is the work of Judith Butler on identity as an “improvisation within a scene of constraint.” If improvisation denotes a “relative domain of freedom in a rule-bound world,” as Butler says in regard to improvisation and identity, how does musical improvisation fit into this scheme? Some questions this seminar would like to consider, therefore, include the following (which could be approached via any genre, but with a focus on music as it relates to the United States in a transnational context): Is improvisation an ontology that has ramifications for society beyond musical practice? How might practicing, listening to, and performing musical improvisation function to produce culture? What is the relationship between improvisation, performance, and performativity? How does identity relate to improvisation and improvisation to identity? Can we speak of a “philosophy of improvisation” that also engages issues of identity, including race, gender, sexuality, class, nation, and ethnicity?
In sum, this seminar invites scholars who have taken a more phenomenological approach to consider how improvisation then might intersect with race, gender, and other identity codes. Likewise, scholars who are tackling more historical and identity-based approaches can consider how phenomenological or cognitive approaches might inflect their work. The focus of the papers need not be to bridge this gap (although attempts are warmly welcomed); however, the intent of the seminar will be to put these different perspectives into conversation.
2) “Music History Pedagogy”
For the 2004 meeting of SAM in Cleveland, moderator James Deaville wrote in the abstract for a plenary session titled “Teaching Controversial Aspects of American Music” that covering genres such as minstrelsy, rap, and musicals “is often regarded as transcending the traditional boundaries of appropriateness within the academy.” He continues, “A teacher’s decision to include the topic in a course on American music runs the risk of offending students and facing censure by the university administration.”
Much has changed in less than a decade; as Charles Hiroshi Garrett and Carol Oja observe, “A sense of destabilization—of living in a fundamentally different world, the dimensions and implications of which have yet to be discerned—is palpable. Our students arrive multimusical, performing their daily activities against the backdrop of playlists unfixed by national borders or genre boundaries, and their fluid and diverse identities prompt continually refreshed sets of expectations.” (Garrett and Oja, “Colloquy: Studying U. S. Music the Twenty-First Century,” JAMS 64/3 [Fall 2011]) Accordingly, the academy has changed; relativism is de rigueur, and new concerns have emerged. Yet Deaville’s essential question remains: how do we teach America’s musical history in ways that are truthful, practical, and equitable?
This seminar will further the valuable discussion begun at the 2004 SAM plenary session, reconsidering long-standing challenges to teaching American music history responsibly and exploring issues that have emerged with the vast technological, historical, cultural, and social transformations of the last decade. The committee welcomes proposals for both position papers based primarily on practical experience in teaching American music history and papers grounded in research in the growing field of music history pedagogy (which now has a dedicated scholarly journal, the Journal of Music History Pedagogy). Proposals may consider any aspect of teaching American music (and music of the Americas), including but not limited to:
— questions about curriculum design and the place of American music in the academy,
— questions concerning what musics should be covered in classes on American music, what is an appropriate balance between “cultivated” and “vernacular” traditions, and how to deal with under-represented repertories,
— how to teach controversial or sensitive topics responsibly,
— how to address both musical and social issues adequately (whether in classes restricted to music majors or in general enrollment classes),
— innovative strategies and methods for teaching American music history,
— characteristics of contemporary students (music majors and otherwise) and how best to serve them, and
— the role of technology in teaching American music history.
Accepted presenters must be members of the Society and are required to register for the entire conference (membership is not required in order to submit a proposal!). The committee encourages proposals from those who did not present at the 2012 Charlotte meeting, but all proposals will be judged primarily on merit. An individual may submit only one proposal. With the exception of concerts and lecture-performances, all proposals should be submitted only through the online electronic submission process.
Proposers for all except seminar papers, concerts, or lecture-performances must specify whether the proposal is for a 1) paper, 2) poster, or 3) either presentation format, the latter to be determined by the Program Committee as it builds sessions. Individual or joint papers should be no longer than twenty minutes. Concerts and lecture-performances should be no longer than thirty minutes. For complete panel proposals, the organizer must include an additional statement explaining the rationale for the session, in addition to proposals and abstract files for each paper.
Include the following for all submissions:
- Proposer’s name, e-mail address, and institutional affiliation or city of residence
- 250-word proposal
- 100-word version of your proposal suitable for publication in the conference program (.doc, .docx, .txt, or .rtf format). Include proposer's name and email, and the proposal title in this file.
- Audio and visual needs: CD player, DVD player, digital projector. Due to logistics and the high cost of renting this equipment, we cannot accommodate AV changes once a proposal is accepted.
- Specify whether you are a student (and therefore eligible for certain student grants or awards) or are eligible for the Cambridge Award.
For concerts and lecture-performances please submit the above-mentioned materials, plus:
- Either 6 copies of a recording related to the proposed concert or lecture-recital (CD or DVD) and an addressed, stamped mailer if you would like the recordings returned, or(preferably) access to an electronic file of the recording (emailed to the Program Committee Chair at the address given below).
- A list of special needs (e.g., piano, music stand, space for dance demonstration, choral risers).
All materials must be electronically date-stamped by 8 June 2012. Postal submissions for concerts and lecture-performance materials only should be addressed to: Steven Baur, Chair, SAM 2013 Program Committee, 6101 University Ave., Department of Music, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, B3H 4R2, Canada. Questions about the submission process may be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kevin Bartig was awarded a Fellowship from the Library of Congress's John W. Kluge Center for his project on Soviet-American musical exchange.
Flutist Peter H. Bloom and pianist Mary Jane Rupert (the duo “2”) concertized in New Zealand and Australia in March 2012, featuring music by U.S. and New Zealand composers. The 5-week tour included appearances at New Zealand School of Music in Wellington, University of Canterbury in Christchurch (NZ), Nelson School of Music (NZ), All Saints Anglican Church in Howick (Auckland, NZ), Radio New Zealand in Wellington, University of Canberra College of Music (Australia), St John's Hall in Robertson NSW (Australia), and Frank’s Café in Greymouth, New Zealand (where the concert piano was a classic Fender Rhodes 88). The duo performed Kleemation by American composer Elizabeth Vercoe, Duo (1971) by Aaron Copland, Metamusic (2007) by New Zealand composer John Rimmer, and Nga Whetu e Whitu (2005) by New Zealand composer Gareth Farr. In recent New England concerts, “2” performed works by American composer Karl Henning (stars & guitars and These Unlikely Events), and they gave the world premieres of works written for “2” by American composers Richard Nelson (Play of Light) and Pamela Marshall (Zoa), featuring multiple flutes with concert harp. On a tour in Maryland, Bloom and Rupert joined mezzo-soprano D’Anna Fortunato to perform Elizabeth Vercoe’s This Is My Letter to the World (2001) for voice, flute and piano, based on poems by Emily Dickinson.
Jean Dickson has retired from SUNY and is continuing her research on Felicita Vestvali. In late April she will be giving a paper at the Marie Curie Sklodowska University, in Lublin, Poland, on Vestvali in relation to 19th century feminism.
To commemorate his 40th anniversary of researching and performing Shaker music, Roger Hall has written a pamphlet titled, Blended Together: Discoveries Along The Shaker Music Trail. In it he discusses the many Shaker spirituals he has edited and arranged for performance as well as several interviews with Shaker musicians from Canterbury, New Hampshire and Sabbathday Lake, Maine. This pamphlet is also available on a new multimedia DVD with nine other collections and over 200 music examples of Shaker music and titled, A Shaker Music Miscellany.
David and Ginger Hildebrand will be performing at the following events related to the bicentennial of the War of 1812 in America (www.1812music.org). May 2: Erie, PA, Jefferson Educational Society “Music of the War of 1812” 7:00-8:30 PM, (David); May 20: Easton, MD, St. Mark's United Methodist Church “Music of the War of 1812,” sponsored jointly by the church and the Historical Society of Talbot County, (David and Ginger) 3:00 pm.; June 8: Norfolk, VA, Opsail, 3-4 pm and other events TBD; June 9: Town of Cape Charles, VA, Opsail events as posted; June 10: Baltimore, MD, Celebrating Baltimore: A Tribute to 19th Century Music and Arts, 12:00 – 4:00 p.m., at Shriver Hall on the Johns Hopkins University Homewood Campus; June 12 in Londontown (David, time TBD); June 16: Harper’s Ferry, WV, “Music of the War of 1812,” (David and Ginger, time TBD).
Nita Karpf won the R. Serge Denisoff Award for the best article published in Popular Music and Society in 2011. Her article is entitled “Get the Pageant Habit: E. Azalia Hackley’s Festivals and Pageants During the First World War Years, 1914-1918.”
Ralph P. Locke (professor of musicology at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music) has been named to the advisory board of Nineteenth-Century Music Review. Locke is presenting a paper at the July 2012 IMS meeting in Rome, entitled “Musical Exoticism 1500-1750: Some Methodological Considerations and Case Studies.” This past October, he organized a three-day visit by Gunther Schuller to the Eastman School of Music.
Judith McCulloh was awarded the 2011 Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. ARSCs Award for Distinguished Service to Historical Recordings honors a person who has made outstanding contributions to the field, outside of published works or discographic research. ÁRSC’s citation states:
“After an instructor at her junior college introduced her to American folk music, Judith McCulloh completed a PhD in folklore at Indiana University. Judith spent over 35 years at the University of Illinois Press, where her most recent positions included Executive Editor, Assistant Director, and Director of Development.
“Judith was largely responsible for developing the influential series Music in American Life, which now contains well over 100 titles and has garnered more than a dozen ASCAP awards. Focusing on figures from Jimmie Rodgers to Duke Ellington to Tito Puente, and genres from classical to klezmer to country, the books shed light on myriad facets of American music.
“She was founding member of the University of Illinois Campus Folksong Club, and played a central role in working with performers and producing albums of local and visiting performers. She is also a former president of the American Folklore Society, and served on the Board of Trustees of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Judith’s publications include Stars of Country Music: Uncle Dave Macon to Johnny Rodriguez (1975) and Folklore, Folklife (1984).”
Calls for Papers
CFP: “A Closer Walk”: Essays on Southern Gospel Music Southern gospel (that is, "white" gospel with links to the rural South) is grossly under-researched and undervalued in spite of its cultural importance. "A Closer Walk": Essays on Southern Gospel Music will address this lacuna of music scholarship by exploring neglected topics in the area of Southern gospel music research using a variety of voices, approaches, and perspectives. This edited volume will likely be published with the University Press of Mississippi, which has already expressed significant interest in this project. Proposals should be no longer than 500 words; they should include a working title, your name, affiliation, position or status as a student (i.e. MA II, PhD III, etc.), and email address. Please send your proposals to email@example.com no later than May 31, 2012. The organizers plan on notifying people of their acceptance shortly thereafter, and anticipate that the deadline for essay submissions will be December 31, 2012.
CFP: Essays are invited for a special issue of the Journal of Sonic Studies that will reexamine the most persistent accounts of television sound, from the 1980s to the present, and reflect on these accounts in terms of contemporary changes in the production and consumption of television. Studies on television sound typically begin by emphasizing that the fundamental differences between film and television differences in terms of structure, content, and modes of address are a direct result of the fact that film privileges the eye over the ear, while television privileges the ear over the eye. This notion of television as a form of illustrated radio became the basis of television sound studies, but the rise of high-definition television, widescreen receivers, and home entertainment systems challenged this notion by bringing the cinematic experience into the home. Following these technological developments, critics began to apply theories of film sound to the study of television by focusing on the design of underscores to convey emotional states and enhance narrative tension. Potential contributors are invited to submit completed essays by May 31, 2012. Submissions should be 5500-6000 words in length and they should be submitted as an attachment in .doc format. For more information, or to submit an essay, please contact our guest editors: Carolyn Birdsall, University of Amsterdam: C.J.Birdsall@uva.nl and Anthony Enns, Dalhousie University: Anthony.Enns@dal.ca.
CFP: The University of California Riverside and the Center for Iberian and Latin-American Music (CILAM) call for submissions for the Otto Mayer-Serra Award, given annually for the best unpublished article on Latin American music. A single, undivided award of 1,500 USD; the award-winning essay will be published in the Latin American Music Review. Authors of articles to be considered for the award should submit one complete copy in word doc or pdf format as an attachment to an email addressed to Leonora Saavedra (firstname.lastname@example.org). Articles should not exceed 40 pages, inclusive of references, illustrations, and musical examples. All material should be double-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman Font, with margins of at least one inch. To allow for the anonymous review of submissions, the author s name should appear only in the cover letter, which should also contain the full title of the submission and all relevant contact information. Authors should avoid identifying themselves in the manuscript itself (title page, header, notes) or in the file information. The article must be unpublished and written in Spanish or Portuguese and will be published correspondingly in either language. Application deadline: June 1, 2012. The winner of the prize will be notified in September 2012.
CFP: Leisure! Enjoyment! Fun!: Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies (INCS) 2013 Conference, University of Virginia, March 14-17, 2013. “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” It was the age of pleasure. It was the age of atonement. It was any place in the nineteenth century. The scope is global, the approaches, cross-disciplinary. What pleased the palate and tickled the nose? What roused the senses and deepened joy? What thrilled the body and inspired the mind? What did they do besides work? What diversions (respectable or otherwise) did they seek? How did they think about the enjoyments they sought? These are some of the questions to address at INCS 2013, which is devoted to ‘Leisure, Enjoyment, and Fun.’ Topics may include music, music halls, music boxes, dance, spectacle, street entertainments, etc. For individual papers, send 250-word proposals; for panels, send individual 250-word proposals for each paper plus a 250-word panel description. Please include your name, affiliation, and e-mail address on your proposal. Send questions and proposals to Karen Chase (email@example.com) by October 1, 2012.
CFP: In the late 1950s, Lud Gluskin (1898-1989), who was the head of CBS Television Music in Los Angeles, began exploring the use of experimental music for TV scoring purposes. The most famous result was the theme for The Twilight Zone, composed by avant gardist Marius Constant (1925-2004), a resident of Paris. Having himself spent the early years of his own career in Paris as a jazz musician, Gluskin visited there every summer in search of musical talent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cclssfZI7Ow. The Journal of Film Music will be devoting a special issue chronicling this unusual "experiment" in TV music history and welcomes inquiries for proposed papers for it. We already have access to much primary source material related to the topic, including Constant mss. and other documentation. Please contact William H. Rosar at firstname.lastname@example.org for complete information, including timeline and other details.
Conferences and Events
Conference: Association for Recorded Sound Collections Annual Conference will be held May 16-19, 2012, at the Radisson Riverside Hotel, Rochester, NY. One hundred and thirty years of recorded sound history—from the earliest extant recordings to today’s “born digital” formats—will be explored when collectors, archivists, audio engineers and recording historians convene for the 46th Annual Conference of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections in Rochester, NY on May 16-19. Hosted by the Eastman School of Music, sessions will focus on a full range of musical genres, artists and performances, as well as the timely issues of audio preservation and restoration, public access, and copyright reform. The conference will begin with a day-long workshop on “Copyright and Sound Recordings” led by experts including Peter Hirtle (Intellectual Property Officer for Cornell University Library), followed by a tour and presentation by Image Permanence Institute scientists. Evening activities will include an opening reception at the Eastman School of Music’s Miller Center, an “Ask the Technical Committee” session, “An Evening of Jazz and Popular Music on Film” followed by the Collectors’ Roundtable, and the annual Awards Banquet on Saturday, featuring Rochester pianist Igor Lipinski in a unique performance of music and magic. ARSC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and study of sound recordings, in all genres of music and speech, from all periods. The meeting brings together a unique mix of over 200 experts from the U.S. and abroad—all sharing a passion for our audio heritage.
Scheduled talks include: music in Rochester; the Edison Speaking Phonograph Company; Howard Hanson on record; Son House; early film and sound; the Eastman Audio Archive; historical recordings by Theo Wangemann, Otto von Bismarck, and Helmuth von Moltke; roots music on British radio; recordings from the Civil Rights movement; recordings of Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra; the evolution of electric recording at RCA Victor; the flute as a solo jazz instrument; the “Maiden’s Prayer;” jukebox shorts of the 1940s; Tex-Mex recording pioneers; and a report on the Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Plan.
All events will take place at the Radisson Hotel Rochester Riverside located at 120 East Main Street in the heart of downtown Rochester. The conference is open to the general public. All sessions, with the exception of the Friday evening film presentation and Collectors’ Roundtable, require a registration fee which may be submitted in advance or on-site (daily rates are also available). The full conference program as well as abstracts for each session and a registration form may be found at: http://www.arsc-audio.org/conference/. For additional information, or to inquire about press passes, contact Brenda Nelson-Strauss, ARSC Conference Manager, email@example.com; 812-855-7530; or Jim Farrington, Local Arrangements Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org; 585-274-1304.
Event: The American Music Research Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder, will host a special event for Perry Como's 100th Birthday Celebration on Saturday, May 19, 2 p.m. at the Old Main Chapel. The event is free to the public and will include special performances, personal stories, photos and videos. In a singing (and sometimes acting) career that spanned over six decades, the name Perry Como has come to mean that warm, smooth, easy-listening, general-audience, slow-flame romance that characterized popular music in the 1940s, '50s and '60s. Illustrative of his early success, during just a single week in the 1940s, the music industry pressed and sold four million Como records. In the 1950s, 11 of his singles sold well over one million copies each. In more than six decades of singing, his records sold more than 100 million copies and 27 individual prints reached the million-record mark. Como's appeal has spanned generations and he was widely respected for both his professional standards and the conduct in his personal life. In the official RCA Records Billboard magazine memorial, his life was summed up in these few words: “50 years of music and a life well lived. An example to all.” For more information, or to learn more about the AMRC, visit http://music.colorado.edu/departments/amrc.
Conference: Music and the Moving Image VII will be held at NYU Steinhardt, June 1-3, 2012. This year’s conference will include practitioner roundtables on “Songs in Film,” featuring leading music supervisors and chaired by Grammy-nominated NYU Songwriter-in-Residence, Phil Galdston (Save the Best for Last). We also encourage abstract submissions on “Songs in Film” for panels. We will present our second year of panels dedicated to papers on Film Music Pedagogy chaired by Philip Tagg and Ron Sadoff, and we invite those who teach within film, media, and/or music curricula to submit abstracts about applying particular theoretical approaches to the practice of teaching soundtracks. Streaming video of the presentations will be available only at NYU from June 1-11, 2012. For complete information, please visit http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/music/scoring/conference/.
Conference: The Fifth Antietam Early Banjo Gathering will take place on June 22-24, 2012, and welcomes anyone interested in learning about early banjo history in an inclusive environment. You can learn more about the event from http://minstrelbanjo.ning.com/forum/topics/5th-early-american-banjo-conference-itinerary-here?xg_source=msg_forum_disc.
Conference: Popular Music and Automobile Culture, A One Day Symposium: Friday 22nd June 2012, Binks Building, University of Chester, England. From Cadillacs to tour buses, motor vehicles and popular music have developed in parallel as symbiotic commodities. Their intimate and intertwined relationship evokes issues and feelings that characterize life in modern society. The conference aims to outline and discuss this relationship between these two culturally charged commodities. For complete information, please visit http://goldenpages.jpehs.co.uk/2012/01/18/popular-music-and-automobile-culture/.
Conference: The North American British Music Studies Association (NABMSA)’s fifth conference will once again bring together scholars and lovers of British music from various academic fields and locales for three days of papers, discussions, and musical performances. The 2012 conference, which has a theme of Anglo-American music and musical relationships, will take place from July 25-28 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For more information, please visit www.nabmsa.org.
Conference: Conlon Nancarrow: Life and Music will be held online from September 27–October 27, 2012. Complete information is available at http://conlonnancarrow.org/announcement.htm.