Theory and Analysis of Contemporary Music
Paris, June 5–July 3, 2016
A summer study-abroad course offered by the Eastman School of Music
This summer study-abroad program is a four-week, three-credit graduate-level course on contemporary music, open to performers, composers, theorists, and other music scholars. Scheduled to coincide with ManiFeste-2016, a month-long festival of contemporary music produced by IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), the course is designed to explore musical innovations of the last 25 years with special emphasis on works performed during the festival. This year’s featured composers include Philippe Leroux, Beat Furrer, and Rebecca Saunders. Students will attend class meetings every weekday for the first two weeks of the course, then participate as auditors in the IRCAM Academy for the final two weeks. Academy events include public lectures, masterclasses for composers and interpreters, open rehearsals, and films.
The course is repertoire-based, and will include readings by composers and theorists and close study of scores and recordings. Course topics will include spectralism, electroacoustic and “mixed” music, microtonality, computer-aided composition, extended serialism, “new complexity,” transformational theory, and stochastic techniques.
Classes will be offered in English, and no knowledge of French is required. The course will meet for three hours each weekday from June 6 to June 17, then for four additional meetings during the IRCAM Academy (June 20 to July 2). Class meetings will be supplemented by concerts, lectures, and field trips; students will also have free time to explore other Parisian musical and cultural resources. Shared apartment housing is included in the program fee.
Music theorist and composer Robert Hasegawa has taught at Harvard University, the Eastman School of Music, and the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, where he is an Assistant Professor of Music Theory. His interests include microtonality and just intonation, the French “spectralist” composers Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail, transformational theory, and the history of music theory. His dissertation, “Just Intervals and Tone Representation in Contemporary Music,” explores how research on the psychology of aural perception can inform the analysis of music by composers ranging from Debussy to La Monte Young. Robert’s article “Gérard Grisey and the ‘Nature’ of Harmony” received the Music Analysis 25th-Anniversary Competition Award, and was published by that journal in 2011. Other recent projects include editing a special issue of Contemporary Music Review on American composer James Tenney, articles on microtonal music by Georg Friedrich Haas and Hans Zender, an encyclopedia entry on atonal theory for the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, a chapter on extended just intonation for the book Théorie et composition musicales au vingtième siècle, and translations of essays by Tristan Murail.
Eligibility and Requirements
The course is designed for graduate students and advanced undergraduates. Students applying to the course should have completed at least four semesters of collegiate-level music theory or the equivalent; previous study of post-tonal theory is recommended but not required. The course will be taught in English, and knowledge of French is not necessary.
Credit for the course can be transferred to most other North American other colleges and universities—contact your institution’s registrar for details. For Eastman DMA students, this course fulfills the post-tonal theory (Theory 402) degree requirement; those who have already taken TH 402 can still register for the course using the cross-listed course number CMP 490. Students in other degree programs may apply the course as an elective toward the BM, BA, MM, MA, and PhD degrees.
Applications can be submitted online using the application form at the bottom of this page. The complete application requires a brief statement of interest in the program and an emailed letter of recommendation. The application deadline is Monday, February 1, 2016, though applications may be accepted after this date if there is remaining space in the class. Students will be notified of admission decisions by February 10.
Costs and Financial Aid
The program fee of $5,500 includes shared apartment housing, concert tickets, course materials, local transportation passes, and travel/health insurance. Students will be responsible for all other expenses, including meals and airfare. Students who prefer to arrange their own housing will pay a reduced tuition fee of $4,500. Students accepted into the program must submit a deposit of $500 by February 19, 2016 to register for the class. The balance of the program fee will be due on March 23.
Student loans may be available for Eastman School of Music students enrolled for at least six summer session credits—additional credits can be arranged by enrolling in a course or independent study through Eastman’s summer session. For more information, contact the Eastman financial aid office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student feedback, 2012-2013-2014-2015
“This course was incredible. It is helpful for students already familiar with contemporary music and for those who are not. The opportunity to hear premieres in Paris is one you can’t pass up. I definitely listen to music differently after this class.”
“Paris is an absolutely incredible city. The opportunity to study high quality contemporary music together with new peers from different parts of the world, to hear these works performed by some of the best musicians in the world, and to receive a variety of lectures from insightful and significant professionals in such a fantastic city is truly worthwhile!”
“I had an absolutely fantastic experience, the course content was well designed and appropriate works were chosen to pair with the ManiFeste Festival. Prof. Hasegawa is one of the best prepared instructors I have ever taken a course with, and I would absolutely recommend the course for anyone interested in broadening their knowledge of contemporary music.”
“An exciting way to experience a course on theory and analysis of contemporary music by being immersed in the Paris music scene.”
“This course opened up my mind and ear to a side of music that I barely even knew existed. It was a great way to experience a fascinating and beautiful country while learning and making great new friends!”
“The Eastman in Paris course is a perfectly designed and enlightening introduction to some of the most important music from recent decades. I was highly impressed by Prof. Hasegawa’s personable teaching style, and his presentation of complex concepts in a user-friendly manner without watering down the essence of the material.”
“As a composition student, there is nothing better than seeing professional new music concerts in Paris almost every day for a month. I have studied post-tonal music before, and looked at many pieces on my own, but definitely nothing this enriching and intense. I also feel much more comfortable with musical analysis in general. This month shaped my idea of 20th & 21st century music, in fact art in general. Be prepared to be inspired in Paris!”
“Contemporary theory discussions and readings paired with live concerts in a vibrant culture with a rich tradition of performing new music is an unforgettable experience. Go to Paris!”
“This course was one of the best I have taken in my entire graduate program. The content is interesting and wonderfully paired to the ManiFeste festival concerts. Professor Hasegawa is a great guide through the sometimes confusing world of contemporary music. Whether you are specializing in contemporary music as a theorist or composer, or taking this class as an elective, you will have such a great learning experience.”
“This course provides a wonderful concert-filled introduction to French culture and contemporary music with plenty of time to get out and explore the city.”
For more information, email Robert Hasegawa: email@example.com.